Magic (radio network)

Magic is a New Zealand oldies radio network owned by MediaWorks New Zealand. The network targets New Zealand's growing population of baby boomers with a line-up of veteran broadcasters.[1] Its breakfast show, Magic Breakfast (formerly Magic in the Morning), is hosted by former television producer, game show host, and sports commentator Mark Leishman.

Magic (New Zealand) 2019.svg
Broadcast area16 markets in New Zealand
OwnerMediaWorks Radio
First air date
20 April 2015

The station targets 50- to 69-year-olds, an older demographic than similar MediaWorks brands. It is run alongside The Breeze with a similar playlist, but The Breeze has a younger female skew and easy listening music focus. Another MediaWorks network, The Sound, previously played similar music but now has a male skew and a rock music focus.[1] Magic targets older listeners who have a "youthful, active approach to life" and want "fantastic music and a feel-good attitude".[2] However, some marketing commentators have argued the "youthful" brand is out of touch with the "antiquated" classic playlist.[3] Its playlist, drawn from the 1950s to 1970s, includes music from Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Dusty Springfield and Rod Stewart.[4]

Magic operated Magic Talk, a nationwide Auckland-based talkback, news and sport radio network formed by the 2019 rebrand of Radio Live. The station competed directly against NZME station Newstalk ZB. Magic was rebranded as Magic Music, and some programmes shared with Magic Talk. This change took effect in mid-January 2019, with a large number of Radio Live hosts leaving the station due to the restructure. The first programme aired on Magic Talk was Overnights with Tony Amos. The station ceased on 20 March 2022 ahead of its delayed rebranding as Today FM[5] on 21 March 2022.


Magic was launched on 20 April 2015 in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga, Rotorua, Hawke's Bay and Dunedin, some stations were launched on frequencies MediaWorks acquired in radio spectrum auctions, others were secondary frequencies used by other MediaWorks stations such as in Dunedin the 99.8FM frequency was previously used by Radio Dunedin and Wellington's 891AM previously used by The Breeze. New frequencies in Wanganui, Kapiti, Wairarapa, Blenheim, Nelson, Queenstown, Southland and Rodney were added,[2] followed by Palmerston North, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Taupo, Taranaki, Thames, the Seabird Coast, Paeroa, the Hauraki Plains and Hamilton. The Magic brand name has been used in other regions such as Magic FM in Northland which was owned by MediaWorks but closed down in 2001, Magic 828 & 98.6FM in Palmerston North which was rebranded The Breeze in 2004 and Magic 91FM which was a local station in Auckland during the 1980s.[6]

The launch of Magic was made possible by the closure of Kiwi FM on March 31. Magic took over the former Kiwi FM studios in Auckland. Kiwi was an independent non-profit music broadcaster, wholly owned by MediaWorks. It operated as ten years as Kiwi FM, and had previously operated as ten years as Channel Z. The network attracted 28,000 listeners each week and was responsible for about one percent of local music airtime on New Zealand radio. However, its popularity and long-term viability had been undermined by new websites offering direct access to local music, and MediaWorks decided to focus its youth resources on the nationwide roll-out of George FM and Mai FM.[1]

MediaWorks hoped the Magic network would increase its market share of the one million New Zealanders aged 50-74. In New Zealand this demographic is growing in size, is more likely to listen to the radio and listens to radio for longer hours. People in this group also have fewer family commitments, and have more assets and disposable incomes.[7] MediaWorks secured a network of new frequencies in the 2014 radio spectrum auction in markets with large baby boomer populations. The company says that includes markets where Magic can go head to head with Coast, and markets with no Coast stations where Magic can secure a monopoly or gain a competitive advantage.[3]

In November 2018, it was announced that sister station Radio Live would be merging with Magic to form a talk-music radio hybrid known as Magic Talk, which started on 19 January 2019. Former TVNZ news presenter Peter Williams was the first host revealed for the new network.

In November 2021, MediaWorks announced it would replace Magic Talk with a new talk radio network called Today FM.[8][9] Newshub's political editor at the time, Tova O'Brien, was announced as breakfast host,[10] with broadcasters Duncan Garner, Rachel Smalley, Polly Gillespie, Leah Panapa, Mark Richardson, Lloyd Burr, Wilhelmina Shrimpton, Nigel Yalden, Robett Hollis, Mark Dye, Carly Flynn, Nickson Clark, Dave Letele and Dominic Bowden all named as part of the lineup.[11][12][13]


Magic's main competitor is New Zealand Media and Entertainment's network station Coast which has been broadcasting under this name since 2002 originally just in the Hawkes Bay area but began expanding to the rest of New Zealand in 2004. Both stations play a similar format. In the past MediaWorks ran a Rock and roll Oldies format station called Solid Gold which initially played music from the 1950s to the 1970s and later specializing in 1960's and 70's music. In 2012 Solid Gold was rebranded as The Sound and switched format to Classic rock, the format change for this station was due to a gap left in the market after Radio Hauraki moved away from Classic Rock music. The change in format for The Sound meant MediaWorks were no longer catering to an older audience of listeners, a gap filled by Magic.


Breakfast Magic Breakfast with Mark Leishman between 6am and 10am weekdays.

Workday Magic Workday with Sue White between 10am and 2pm weekdays.

Drive Magic Drive with Murray Lindsay between 2pm and 7pm weekdays.

Nights Bob Gentil hosts the night show between 7pm and 12am weeknights. Overnights are automated from 12am until 6am.

Weekends Weekend mornings are hosted by Murray Lindsay on Saturdays and Mark Bunting on Sundays, from 6am until 12pm. Weekend afternoons are hosted by Mark Smith on Saturdays and Mel Homer on Sundays, from 12pm until 7pm. Saturday nights are automated from 7pm until 6am with The Saturday Night Jukebox running between 7pm and 12am. Country Magic, hosted by Mark Leishman, runs between 7pm and 12am Sunday nights.


Magic's playlist includes tracks from Elvis Presley, the Bee Gees, The Supremes, The Beatles, The Rat Pack, Motown, Frank Sinatra, and Rod Stewart's Great American Song Book. The Magic website also features news and showcases music from Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Dusty Springfield, Percy Sledge, Paul McCartney, Hot Chocolate and Simon and Garfunkel.[14] The station's first in-studio interview was with Dennis Locorriere from Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. His appearance included a solo performance of an acoustic mash-up of some of the band's most popular songs, including When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman, The Cover of Rolling Stone and Sylvia's Mother.[15]


Other servicesEdit

Events and promotionsEdit

To celebrate its launch in April 2015, Magic gave away 100 prize packs and a trip to Sydney to see Neil Diamond in concert.[4] In the same year, the network also sponsored Neil Diamond concerts in Auckland and Dunedin, Singin’ in the Rain in Auckland and Wellington, an Elton John concert in Wellington, a Laurence Aberhart exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, the New Zealand International Film Festival, a nationwide tour of 10cc, and a Beach Boys concert at Mount Maunganui.[18][19]


  1. ^ a b c Gibson, Campbell (23 March 2015). "MediaWorks creates new radio station for baby boomers, Kiwi FM closes down". National Business Review. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b "MediaWorks launching Magic FM on April 20". MediaWorks New Zealand. 3 News. 23 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Venuto, Damien (23 March 2015). "MediaWorks targets lucrative older demographic with new. station". Stop Press. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Listen to Magic, NZ's newest radio station". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  5. ^ Today FM
  6. ^ "Radio Vault Auckland". Radio Vault. Internet Archive. 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  7. ^ Aziz, Omar; Gemmell, Norman; Laws, Athene (June 2013). "The Distribution of Income and Fiscal Incidence by Age and Gender: Some Evidence from New Zealand" (PDF). Victoria University of Wellington Business School. Archived from the original (Working paper) on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  8. ^ "MediaWorks reveals plan to ditch Magic Talk, launch new talk brand". RNZ. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  9. ^ "MediaWork's new talk station Today FM to launch on March 21". Stuff. 8 February 2022. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Tova O'Brien: The new face of talk radio". Newsroom. 2 November 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  11. ^ "Duncan Garner joins new talk radio brand, 12 weeks after sudden departure from The AM Show". Stuff. 4 November 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Mark Richardson, Polly Gillespie join MediaWorks' unnamed talk radio station". Stuff. 10 November 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  13. ^ "MediaWorks announces new talent for Today FM - Stoppress". StopPress. 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Music". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Watch Dennis Locorriere from Doctor Hook play live in studio". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  16. ^ Magic frequency listing
  17. ^ RHF Waikato FM Listing
  18. ^ "What's On". MediaWorks New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  19. ^ "The Beach Boys". Eventfinda. Retrieved 14 July 2015.

External linksEdit