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Radio Wānaka Farewells Radio Legend And Welcomes New Host

Wānaka locals can expect a new start to their mornings as Radio Wānaka farewells its longstanding breakfast announcer, Mike Regal, and welcomes new host Jack Van Der Heyden to the airwaves from Monday 1 July.

Born and raised in Christchurch with a deep love for Central Otago, Van Der Heyden has spent the last two years on the Australian airwaves as breakfast announcer at Power FM in Ballarat. His dream of living and working in the region he loves is about to become a reality as he steps into the role of breakfast announcer at Radio Wānaka.

His addition comes as the station bids farewell to much loved breakfast host, Mike Regal. As the previous owner of Radio Wānaka before it was purchased by NZME in 2022, Regal has been an integral part of the station's journey. He was a recent honouree the 2024 New Zealand Radio and Podcast Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Radio, with a 41-year career in the industry.

Mike McClung, NZME Chief Content Officer – Music Brands, says Regal’s departure marks the end of his time at the station but the amazing legacy he’s left will live on for years to come.

“Mike is a legendary broadcaster and an all-round great guy. It was really special to be able to give him a fantastic send off following the New Zealand Radio and Podcast Awards and honour his dedication and passion for the radio industry.”

“He contributed a massive amount not only to the industry but also to the local community and I know our loyal Wānaka listeners have loved waking up to him every morning. Jack is a fantastic talent and a proud Southerner – I know he’s really looking forward to getting stuck into the new role. He’ll do a great job and we warmly welcome him to the NZME team,” says McClung.

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Mike Regal says: “I’ve loved being able to connect with this incredible community over the last 12 years. Thank you to all the amazing Radio Wānaka listeners who have tuned in every morning. It’s been two and a half years since NZME purchased Radio Wānaka. In that time NZME’s commitment to maintaining Radio Wānaka’s local presence has been unwavering. The hiring of new locally based breakfast host, Jack Van Der Heyden, is testament to that on-going commitment. Radio Wānaka is in good hands.”

Jack Van Der Heyden says: "I’m fulfilling my childhood dream and I’m thrilled to bring my passion for radio to Radio Wānaka as the new Breakfast Announcer. As Wānaka bids farewell to radio legend Mike Regal, I’m really excited to carry on the station's legacy."

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