Rachel Smalley is leaving Newstalk ZB - and possibly journalism

Rachel Smalley is leaving Newstalk ZB after four years on the station.
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Rachel Smalley is leaving Newstalk ZB after four years on the station.

Broadcaster Rachel Smalley has announced she'll leave radio station Newstalk ZB at the end of the year.

Smalley is bowing out after four years helming ZB's Early Edition, which runs weekdays from 5am to 6am.

The departure could also be the end of her 20-year career in journalism - Smalley says she's leaving to pursue opportunities in the corporate world.

"Newstalk ZB was where my journalism career began more than 20 years ago and it's been a privilege to work with so many extraordinary people," Smalley said.

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"I've loved my time in radio but I'm now looking for a new challenge and I'd like to explore opportunities in the corporate world."

In 2016, Smalley travelled to the Middle East and lobbied the Government to extend its financial support for Syrian refugees.

Her award-winning Forgotten Millions campaign with NZME raised close to $4m for World Vision's Syrian refugee programme. 

Her work also saw Early Edition win Programme Of The Year at the New Zealand Radio Awards.

She had a brush with controversy in 2014 after calling New Zealand women "heifers" and "a bunch of lardos" on air when she thought her microphone was switched off. She apologised and said she "deeply" regretted the comment.

NZME Head of Talk Jason Winstanley said Smalley would be missed.

"We will be very sad to see Rachel go, but I understand and respect her desire to seek out new challenges and opportunities. We wish her the very best and Rachel knows NZME's door always remains open to her."

Smalley's final day on Early Edition will be December 15. Newstalk ZB says it expects to announce a new host for the show soon.

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