Radio Sport, the only station in New Zealand of its kind, has been shut down due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. NZ Media and Entertainment, who owns the station, has reportedly decided to close it and lay off the 25-strong workforce, saying they had to do so due to sports coverage being impossible right now.
The company stated that because all local, national, and international sporting events and competitions have been cancelled, they’ve had to take a close look at the possibility of any kind of coverage, including that of multi-platform live events.
They said they’ve tried their best to avoid this decision but it’s no longer possible to do so. Staff were emailed earlier this week to warn them that job losses were becoming an imminent reality due to the enormous revenue loss as a result of the pandemic.
Radio Sport kicked off in the late 1990s, covering Rugby Union, Rugby League, Cricket, Tennis, and more. NZMW also operates several newspapers, including the NZ Herald, and other stations, like the flagship Newstalk ZB, and a few websites to boot.
Peter Miskimmin, who has been Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand since 2008, spoke of his sadness at the closure of the radio station. He said that it has championed all levels of sport during its tenure, from elite through to grassroots, and played an important part in connecting people.
Miskimmin said that it not only provided entertainment but something for fans to think about outside their immediate realities, an important factor in the current claustrophobic circumstances we’re all facing in the necessary lockdown.
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