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Michael Jackson songs return to Kiwi airwaves after being dropped by radio stations earlier this year


Songs by the late Michael Jackson have returned to the airwaves after they were dropped by multiple New Zealand radio stations - including the Breeze, More FM, The Hits and Flava - earlier this year.

Michael Jackson. Source: 1 NEWS

The stations made the decision in March after documentary Leaving Neverland - available in New Zealand through TVNZ OnDemand -rehashed child molestation allegations against the pop star, who died in 2009 at the age of 50.

At the time, MediaWorks Group Content Director Leon Wratt told Magic Talk's Peter Williams, "We aren't deciding whether Michael Jackson is guilty of paedophilia.

"We're just making sure our radio stations are going to play the music people want to hear."

An NZME representative reiterated MediaWorks' statement, saying Kiwi listeners' tastes vary every other week, and "right now, Michael Jackson does not feature on them".

In recent months, The Breeze and The Coast have since returned to playing the controversial king of pop's music, according to Stuff.

A MediaWorks spokesperson said the songs being played on air "are a reflection of audience response".

"In the last couple of months, The Breeze has seen positive listener survey results for some of his songs and, as a result, those songs have been added to the playlist on low rotation," they said.

NZME entertainment group director Dean Buchanan confirmed there was "a small selection of Michael Jackson songs playing on Coast".

"Our audiences are constantly front of mind when we decide what makes the airwaves, regardless of if it's a song, commercial or an interview. Because of this, NZME radio network's playlists evolve from week to week based on popularity, relevance and to ensure variety for our listeners."