New Zealand Hip-Hop Station Debut Shocks Competition

Urban radio station Flava 96one in Auckland, New Zealand has grabbed an unprecedented 4.9 rating, the highest debut in the radio market in years according to a New Zealand radio survey.

The station, which features contemporary hip-hop and R&B, was the city’s eighth most popular.

"Auckland probably has the most deregulated and over-radioed market in the world,” Auckland University of Technology radio lecturer Matt Mollgaard recently told the New Zealand Herald. "To debut at that level in a market with over 30 strong radio signals to choose from, well, it's quite incredible.”

According to Mollgaard, the youth-based station Flava cleverly targeted their listeners’ regions when marketing, instead of the mainstream.

Flava, along with Auckland’s reigning radio station NewstalkZB and the new station Coast FM, is owned by The Radio Network (TRN), which holds 50.7 per cent of Auckland's radio audience through eight stations.

Flava's Hip-Hop powered rise to the top of the ratings shocked TRN director of programming David Brice.

"If you look at recent history in Auckland radio, that's quite an achievement and was definitely at the top end of our expectations,” Brice said. "Launching a new brand is one of the hardest things you can do successfully and for Flava to strip about half of [Mai FM’s] audience is just a great result."

Flava’s audience is parallel to that of Mai FM, a station whose rating dropped from 11.7 to 5.8 and fell from second to fourth place.