Media Releases

Programme and schedule updates for RNZ National

Released at 2:00 pm on 31 January 2024

RNZ National listeners can expect to hear some changes on the station next month with the introduction of a refreshed afternoons and evening schedule from 26 February. The most significant change is Checkpoint moving to a two-hour programme from 4pm, followed by The Panel at 6pm. It has also been announced that Susie Ferguson will be permanent host for Saturday Morning.

RNZ’s Head of Content Megan Whelan says RNZ regularly reviews programming, including scheduling and content of radio shows, and these changes are designed to meet the needs of RNZ National’s audience.

“It’s really important, and part of our Charter, that we take advantage of the most effective means and times of delivery for all of our content, whether it is radio, podcasts, videos or written news.

“The late news cycle has changed in recent years, with more flexible workdays and working from home being more prevalent since COVID-19. Conversations about the news and politics of the day are no longer restricted to an ‘after 5pm’ commute.

Susie Ferguson

Susie Ferguson Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

“With Checkpoint earlier and half an hour longer, you can expect to hear more from a greater range of international and national correspondents and more human-interest stories, alongside all the important stories and key interviews of the day.

“Starting The Panel at 6pm will allow the show to feature all the stories of the day, including those introduced in Checkpoint. There’ll be more explainers and independent analysis, and Wallace will introduce our popular current affairs features from 7pm, including The Detail, MATA, Focus on Politics and The House before handing over to Nights with Emile Donovan at 8pm.”

“Susie Ferguson is a talented broadcaster who will bring a wealth of experience to the well-loved Saturday Morning show. Susie is a familiar voice to RNZ listeners having presented flagship news programme Morning Report for eight years. More recently she has been working as a Senior Journalist and Presenter, working on special projects and presenting programmes across RNZ, including filling in on Saturday Morning

Whelan says that as part of the review of Saturday Morning, following the departure of Kim Hill in November, RNZ is considering whether the show could benefit from a co-presenter being introduced.

“We know the loyal audience of Saturday Morning returns for the range of in-depth feature interviews the show delivers week after week and we are currently exploring the best way to do this in 2024.”

The Checkpoint video stream will conclude on Friday 23 February, but RNZ will retain the ability to livestream from our studios for significant news events or one-off specials. Video remains a key part of RNZ’s storytelling and will continue to feature on and other appropriate platforms throughout the day. There are no changes to the number of people employed at RNZ as a result of these changes.

RNZ National weekday afternoon and evening schedule from 26 February

1-4pm - Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan
4-6pm - Checkpoint with Lisa Owen
6-8pm – The Panel with Wallace Chapman (including features hour 7-8pm)
8pm-Midnight – Nights with Emile Donovan