6 Mar 2019

Michael Jackson's music dropped from major NZ radio stations

4:55 pm on 6 March 2019

Michael Jackson's music will be playing less frequently on New Zealand airwaves in the wake of new child sex abuse allegations.

Michael Jackson performing on the Singapore leg of his Dangerous Tour.

MediaWorks and NZME have dropped Michael Jackson's music from the playlists of radio stations they operate. Photo: AFP

MediaWorks, who operate radio stations including The Edge, The Rock, More FM and the Sound, has today confirmed that the late pop singer's music has been dropped from their playlists.

NZME, whose radio stations include ZM, the Hits, Hauraki and Coast, has also stopped playing his music.

It follows the overseas premiere of HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, which centres on two men who allege Jackson molested them as children.

Jackson's music has been pulled from the BBC Radio 2 playlist in the UK, and from Canadian radio stations CKOI, Rythme and The Beatin.

In a statement, MediaWorks Group content director Leon Wratt said the decision for Michael Jackson not to feature on any stations' playlists, is "a reflection of our audiences and their preferences".

"It is our job to ensure our radio stations are playing the music and artists people want to hear," he said.

Mediaworks would not comment on when Jackson's music might return to airwaves, saying they "will be guided by their audience".

RNZ Music content director Willy Macalister said currently, RNZ National does not play Jackson's music as part of its regular music content.

He said RNZ National was a talk station not a music station, and RNZ applied editorial judgement to any music played on air.

"The only exception would be if it is being played as part of a news story or to provide colour around a commentary piece."

Leaving Neverland first aired at Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January and on cable-TV network HBO in the US on Sunday and Monday.

It will be shown in the UK today, on Channel 4, and in New Zealand this weekend on TVNZ.

The estate of Michael Jackson has sued HBO over the documentary, saying it violates a 1992 contract to air a Jackson concert and not to disparage the singer.