Talent, Diversity, Life and Instinct: The Great Content Equation

In the recent Radio Survey Results New Zealand Media and Entertainment’s music station ZM was one of radio’s big winners.

ZM pulled in almost 23,000 new listeners in the latest GfK independent commercial radio survey, the biggest audience growth of any commercial network. ZM is now New Zealand's most popular station with Kiwis under 40.

The ZM team prides itself on making radio that resonates with audiences – here ZM Content Director Ross Flahive shines a light on the process used to decide what goes in a great ZM show.

It sounds a little simplistic - but the content selection process really starts right back at the beginning when you’re pulling your team together. If you bring people into a show who already have a record of delivering great content that audiences can relate to - you’re mostly there.

Almost invariably they are the type of people who’re experiencing the sorts of things that your audience is living too. That makes the content relatable and therefore more engaging.

For instance, the ZM Breakfast team - Fletch, Vaughan and Megan, make their content decisions with their producers and so the team of people considering what’s in a show and what’s not, age from 23-year olds up to 40-years olds, all of them are out and about living their lives. That means there’s an incredible array of encounters, experiences, and stories to choose show content from.

The great thing at ZM is that everyone here has wildly differing world views. But they work together in two common themes – the first is they all have a very simple goal of entertaining our audiences, and the second theme is that we know who our audience is.

That’s where experience and instinct kick in. You have this long list of potential stories to work into the show – it’s pure gut that tells experienced performers and producers what’s going to work.

Because you know very quickly if something’s not working. You know it’s not fired because the phones don’t ring, the texts don’t come through, when the video goes up, no-one's watching or sharing - there are so many metrics now to show how something hasn’t worked. There’s really nowhere to hide.

The bigger question for us - isn’t what hasn’t fired? But how do we take great content to the next level, and that’s what drives all of our teams day in day out.


GfK Radio Audience Measurement. Survey 3, 2019. Total New Zealand (nb: Waikato S3, 2017). Commercial Radio Stations. Mon-Sun 12mn-12mn. Cume (000’s). AP 10+ unless otherwise stated.