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UPDATED: Radio NZ appoints replacement for Mercep

UPDATED: February 14

Radio NZ has appointed Susie Ferguson to co-host Morning Report.

The news comes following a shake-up of announcers at the state broadcaster, as Geoff Robinson is retiring and Simon Mercep has moved to afternoons.

From April 2 the 36-year-old will co-host the show with former Third Degree host Guyon Espiner.

The Wellington-based journalist has been a regular fill-in on Morning Report and Checkpoint.

Ms Ferguson emigrated to New Zealand in 2009, having trained in broadcast journalism in the U.K.

EARLIER: Morning Report co-host Simon Mercep will leave the show in April when his co-host Geoff Robinson retires after decades in the post.

Mr Mercep has been moved to take over from Jim Mora as host of the Afternoon show.

Mr Mora will continue to host popular segment The Panel and will also co-host Checkpoint with Mary Wilson.

Mr Thompson says the move aims to provide a "stronger prime time package" during the drive spot.

According to Nielsen, Morning Report’s ratings consistently outperform its competitors, and Mr Thompson says he is well aware he is changing a successful formula.

However, he says the retirement of Geoff Robinson was a catalyst for change on the broadcaster’s flagship programme.

He says the reason why he wants to have one host in Auckland and one in Wellington is not just because Radio NZ’s headquarters are in Wellington and Auckland is the country’s biggest city.

For practical reasons hosts in different places enables Radio NZ to continue broadcasting in an emergency.

Mr Thompson told NBR ONLINE that while he was constantly looking to improve the station, popular shows such as Kathryn Ryan’s Nine To Noon and Kim Hill’s Saturday Morning Show remain unaffected. 

EARLIER : The NZ Herald reports Simon Mercep will step down from Morning Report in April, at the same time as his co-host Geoff Robinson.

Radio NZ has already named former Third Degree host Guyon Espiner as the replacement for Mr Robinson.

According to the Nielsen 2013 All New Zealand Radio Survey, Morning Report has more than a quarter of a million listeners every day and attracts a “cume” (cumulative) audience of 355,000. 

Radio NZ has also announced Wallace Chapman will replace Chris Laidlaw on Sunday mornings.

Comments and questions

Bring back Sean, its election year!

So both at the same time - its a bit risky isn't it? We need our MR to be fully up to speed.

Looks like the lightweights are being put in prime spots. Oh dear...

You hit the nail on the head Steve ; it's quite deliberate.
RNZ has recognised that "lightweight" is what pulls the listeners of a certain desirable type and number , and is therefore deserving of the "prime" spots.

For a long time now , the only early morning feature that makes any sort of a nod in the direction of " informing" has been the 5 a.m. news.
From 5.30 onwards , the "team" is on air, and the "entertainment " begins. At that point , if being " in the picture " is something that radio can do for you , you may as well turn the National Programme off until 5 a.m. the next day. You won't miss much.

I am not sure about softy Jim and Scary Mary together.
A bit of chalk and cheese me thinks
Maybe bring back Sean but Duncan Garner as well to partner Guyon Espinar.

big sigh of relief from me - Susie is a good performer ( if we have to lose Geoff who is the voice of home to me when I come back from abroad, weird because he has an english voice but still...) no idea what Espiner is like (don't watch TV) but she's super. Sorry about Jim though - thoroughly decent and nice broadcaster - hopefully Mercep will also be great he is warm and insightful too.