Pirates, legacies and face aches

Radio Hauraki is probably the most iconic of music radio brands in New Zealand. The recent Radio Survey Results released last week delivered a result that’s created some conversations focused on the resurgence of Radio Hauraki.

Hauraki’s breakfast show hosted by Jeremy Wells and Matt Heath, are now level pegging in Auckland at breakfast, with rival station, The Rock. That means lots of new listeners.

Here, Hauraki’s boss, Content Director Mike Lane talks about how to treasure a legacy brand like Hauraki while making it attractive to new audiences - and how you get a job on Hauraki.

Everyone that works on Hauraki recognises that they are working on New Zealand’s most iconic radio network. I was in the role for about a year and sat up one day and thought “s*&^” I am the Content Director at Radio Hauraki – “that’s huge”.

It’s a privilege to be looking after Hauraki – its incredible history gives the brand an amazing backbone. Without the pirates, commercial radio could be in such a different place today.

Having said that, I try not to think too much about the heritage, the iconic nature of Hauraki - it’s such a big deal that if you focus on it too much it just makes your face hurt.

We respect the history of Hauraki and its pioneering pirate broadcasters by focussing on the Hauraki attitude. Over the decades Hauraki’s playlists might have moved around a bit, but the Hauraki attitude has been constant.

Not really giving a stuff, pushing the boundaries, never taking no for an answer, or if the answer is no, finding a way to do it anyway. The music of Hauraki doesn’t define its legacy, the attitude does.

I think that’s why Hauraki’s reaching younger audiences. There’s an edge to the stories that our hosts share – they’ve got great yarns to tell because they live (and have lived) such great lives outside of the studio. Jeremy Wells, Matt Heath, Leigh Hart are some of the most fiercely intelligent, cleverly irreverent and fearless radio hosts in New Zealand.

All I do is give them the freedom to push the boundaries and let rip with their stories.

And it’s not just the hosts who need the stories either - the production teams around them need to feed that Hauraki attitude too.

That’s why when I’m recruiting the big question I ask a candidate is “Where’s the strangest place you’ve woken up?”. Perhaps not the most HR friendly of questions but you learn pretty quickly if the person you’re talking to has been out there, done a few things and can tell the story to go with it