Radio Otago was a radio company that operated a group of local radio stations in radio markets around New Zealand from the 1970s to the late 1990s. Radio Otago was started in 1971 when Dunedin station 4XO was started, 4XO was originally branded as Radio Otago 4XO. During the 1980s and 1990s Radio Otago expanded their operations by starting up stations around Otago and the rest of New Zealand, and also by purchasing existing stations.
The company sold its seven North Island stations in 1997 to Energy Enterprises and funds from the sale were used to purchase C93 FM Limited allowing Radio Otago to compete in the Christchurch market. In 1999, Radio Pacific/Energy Enterprises merged with Radio Otago and with the two companies coming together this formed RadioWorks.
North Island stations
These stations were sold to Energy Enterprises in 1997.
- Classic Rock 92FM Tauranga
- 90.2 Hot FM Rotorua
- Kis FM Taupo
- 96FM Rotorua
- Classic Gold 1548 Rotorua
- Hot 93 Hastings
- 92 MORE FM Napier
- Star FM Wanganui
92 MORE FM in Napier was operated as a franchised station, this station became Hawkes Bay's 92FM and later was replaced with network station Solid Gold, Classic Rock 92FM in Tauranga also was replaced with Solid Gold. Classic Gold 1548 in Rotorua was closed down and the station was used as a second frequency for Lakes 96FM, and today is used for BSport (later known as LiveSport). The other stations Kis FM, Lakes 96FM, Hot 93 and Star FM were all rebranded as More FM in 2004/2005 when RadioWorks rebranded the majority of their heritage stations as More FM. Rotorua started as a summer station 90.2 Hot FM before it became 96FM permanently. This summer station recruited local talent as well as bringing in seasoned veterans from the Hawkes Bay. Many went on to have long careers in local and international radio.
South Island stations
Prior to the sale of the company in 1999, Radio Otago operated the following stations:
- Fifeshire FM Nelson
- Fireshire Classic Nelson - Replaced with Solid Gold
- Easy Listening i94FM Christchurch - Rebranded as Lite FM in 1998, and in 2004 rebranded again as The Breeze (see below)
- Lite FM
- 4XO Dunedin
- 93Rox Dunedin - Rebranded as C93FM
- Mosgiel FM (Closed down in 1997)
- Radio Dunedin
- Radio Central Central Otago
- Radio Wanaka
- Resort Radio Queenstown
- Big River Radio Balclutha
- Foveaux FM Southland
Today Radio Dunedin, Big River Radio and Radio Wanaka are the only stations still operating under their heritage name. Radio Wanaka was sold to a different operator. 4XO, Fifeshire FM, Radio Central, Resort Radio and Foveaux FM were all rebranded as More FM in late 2004/early 2005 after RadioWorks rebranded most of their heritage stations as More FM. Fifeshire Classic was closed down by RadioWorks in 1999 and replaced with Solid Gold.
Easy Listening i94FM was a franchised station and after this franchise agreement ended the station was rebranded as Lite FM, prior to this Lite FM had been based from Dunedin and networked to Invercargill. Lite FM in Dunedin and Invercargill were replaced with Solid Gold following the merger of Radio Otago and RadioWorks. Lite FM remained in Christchurch and was rebranded as The Breeze in 2004 after RadioWorks rebranded all their Easy Listening stations as The Breeze.
93Rox in Dunedin was rebranded as C93FM originally separate from the Christchurch station and networked to Invercargill as C91FM. C93FM was later networked from Christchurch with the Southland station now branded as C93FM despite broadcasting on 90.8FM. Following the merger, C93FM in Dunedin and Invercargill was replaced with network station The Rock, C93FM continued to broadcast in Christchurch but now with a change of format to Adult Contemporary and The Rock launched in Christchurch on a separate frequency. The change of format for C93 was not popular and the station was shut down in 2001 and replaced with Solid Gold.
- The New Zealand official year-book. Govt. Printer. 1975. p. 342.
- Neill, Karen; Shanahan, Morris William (2005). The Great New Zealand Radio Experiment. Cengage Learning Australia. p. 23. ISBN 9780170124805. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Hutching, Chris (19 May 2000). "Boardroom split over media takeover". sharechat.co.nz. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012.