A radio format that is completely dedicated to sports broadcasting activities/events, discussions is known as Sport Radio. March 1964 witnessed the first talk radio show hosted by Biller Mazer on WNBC, New York. The audience is often narrowed and targeted for only for sports enthusiasts and die -hard team fans alike. The aired programmes are often characterized by lengthy debates, in depth analyses and live updates of sports events by the show hosts and callers alike. Another common programming model of sport radios are the live commentaries (play-by-play) they usually run on local sports teams.
A call-in- sports talk show called ‘Hall Line’ was launched in 1965 by another radio station (WSOU) owned by Seton Hall University. It was wholly dedicated to the University’s basketball team at the time. During the 2015/2016 season, the 50th anniversary of the sports radio was celebrated.
Sports roundup was one of the first sports programme ever on radio in New Zealand. It started in 1980 and gained huge acceptance from the public in the early 1990s. The core sport that always stole every programme on the sport radio was cricket since it was more of a summer sport. Several frequencies had sports roundup on their AM network time-shares including frequencies that previously broadcasted for the Concert Programmes.
However, in 1996, Radio Sport Network privatized Sports Roundup and fully replaced it, thus becoming the first station dedicated to sport in New Zealand. Due to its extensive coverage, several other stations like ZMFM, Life Fm, Radio Rhema, Radio Hauraki, Southern Star FM, Coast FM, NewsTalk ZB and Classic Hits FM connect to Radio Sport network for undiluted sports updates. Targeted mainly at male fans, the sports network links most of their live commentaries on NewsTalk ZB from Mondays – Thursdays (19:00 – 20:00) and weekends (6:00 – 9:00 & 12:00 – 18:00).
Sports programmes covered by Radio Sport Network were both domestic and international sports line ups. Some of their best presenters and broadcasters on the network include the veteran Brendan Telfer, Former New Zealand Former Cricketer Simon Doull, Martin Devlin, Former Drive Time presenter D’arcy Waldegrave, ONE Sports Presenter Tony Veitch, Former Cricketer Mark Richardson, Kent Johns, Nathan Rarere, Marc Peard, Andrew Mulligan, Goran Paladin and Eli Mwaijumba.
One of the first stations that were networked across the country in 1990s was the racing network – Radio Pacific. Established in 1978 in Auckland, their programmes featured sports talkback, live racing commentaries, news and news talkback.
In 1999, the company was merged with Radio Otago, a South Island radio company and also took ownership of Energy Enterprises, the North Island music station group. Totalisator Agency Board became its major stakeholder when it was listed on the New Zealand stock exchange. Their top presenters include Riccardo Ball, Rebecca Sowden (former football fern), Des Coppins (former coach of All White Wynton Rufer), Jenny May Coffin, Daryl Anderson, Monty Betham (former boxer), Elizabeth Whelan, Peter Early, Greg O’ Connor, Michael Guerin and Thompson.
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