4 December, 2017

Newstalk ZB today announced key changes to the 2018 line-up. Leighton Smith will be signing off at the end of 2018, and Kerre McIvor will move into the Morning spot.  Andrew Dickens will take over hosting the noon–4pm show until Simon Barnett steps into the Afternoon role fulltime in 2019.

Leighton Smith, a Newstalk ZB icon, has announced he will step down from his morning mantel at the end of 2018.

After 33 years dominating morning radio, the award-winning broadcaster says it is nearing the time to step back and focus on other exciting opportunities.

Smith says, “After more than one attempt to surrender the microphone the time is right. I’ve been at this one microphone for longer than I would ever have thought. It’s been a privilege and pleasure and my gratitude goes to a very loyal audience. But there is a still a year to go”.

Jason Winstanley, NZME’s Head of Talk says, “Leighton Smith is without question one of the most magnificent broadcasters New Zealand has ever seen. He has kept his loyal audience abreast of the news, the opinions and the analysis, each and every day. He always leads the agenda. We will miss his intelligence, his wit and most of all, his incredible voice each morning.”

Leighton Smith has worked alongside his producer, and now wife Carolyn Leaney for the last 30 years.

Jason Winstanley says it won’t be the last we hear from them. “We have some very exciting projects coming up with Leighton and Carolyn with the NZME family. Stay tuned.”

“Newstalk ZB has always been home to the best talent in the business. And our new morning host is no exception. I am delighted to announce that Kerre McIvor will take over from Leighton Smith in 2019. Kerre is a sensational broadcaster and we can’t wait for her sharp, no-holds-barred approach to hit morning talk.”

Kerre McIvor has been a dominant force on the New Zealand media landscape for the last 30 years. She’s been a TV reporter, a magazine and newspaper columnist, and more recently a published author.

With Newstalk ZB for the last 20 years, Kerre entertained audiences on Nights for 16 years and more recently co-hosted Afternoons.

McIvor says, “This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve spent many years working towards this amazing position – and now the time has come for me to jump in. Leighton Smith is a living legend, I’ll do my very best to do him and the audience proud.”

Winstanley says Kerre will move on from her Afternoon hosting role at the end of 2017. “Kerre will return to hosting Sunday mornings until she takes over the weekday showin 2019. You will also see her across other NZME platforms, including the New Zealand Herald.”

In other exciting news, Newstalk ZB Sunday Café host Andrew Dickens will host noon – 4pm, Monday to Friday from January 2018 until Simon Barnett steps in to the Afternoon role full time from early 2019.

Winstanley concluded, “Andrew is a wonderful, engaging talk host. He will take great care of our Afternoon listeners.”

It was announced in July this year that Simon would join the Newstalk ZB team in 2019. He has more than 25 years of radio and television experience and was recently voted as being amongst the most trusted entertainers in a 2017 Readers Digest poll. He will continue to be based in Christchurch, bringing a South Island flair to Afternoons when he takes over from Andrew Dickens.

Winstanley concluded, “As we’ve revealed today, Newstalk ZB’s future is very bright, with a fresh and dynamic mix of exciting talent on the air for years to come.”


Newstalk ZB 2018 Weekday Lineup

Early Edition with Kate Hawkesby

The Mike Hosking Breakfast

Leighton Smith (Network)

Heather du Plessis-Allan (Wellington/Kapiti/Masterton)

Chris Lynch (Christchurch)

The Country with Jamie MacKay (Nationwide, excluding Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)

The Hour with Andrew Dickens (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)

Andrew Dickens

Larry Williams Drive

Sportstalk with D'Arcy Waldegrave

Marcus Lush Nights




For further information please contact:

Kate Barron

Niki Schuck PR

+64 27 422 0079



About NZME

NZME is a leading New Zealand media and entertainment business that reaches 3.2 million kiwis[1]. Whether reading, listening, watching, our audience gets the content they want - where and when they want it. NZME offers advertisers a unique opportunity to access its growing audience via a fully integrated multi-platform presence. NZME is listed on the NZX Main Board (code NZM) with a foreign exempt listing on the ASX (code NZM).



[1] Nielsen CMI, August 2017 fused database: Q3 16 – Q2 17 (population 10 years +). Based on unduplicated weekly reach of NZME newspapers, radio stations, and monthly domestic unique audience of NZME’s digital channels.

[1] Nielsen CMI, August 2017 fused database: Q3 16 – Q2 17 (population 10 years +). Based on unduplicated weekly reach of NZME newspapers, radio stations, and monthly domestic unique audience of NZME’s digital channels.