First published in June 1939 and edited by Oliver Duff and M. H. Holcroft, it originally had a monopoly on the publication of upcoming television and radio programmes. In the 1980s it lost its monopoly on the publication of upcoming television and radio programmes. Despite the increase in competition since that time, it is still one of the top selling magazines in the country. It was privatised in 1990 and is now published by Bauer Media Group. Its circulation figure as of 2010 is around 63,000. Pamela Stirling has been the editor since 2004.
Since 2004, the Listener has produced an annual New Zealand Listener Power List of the 50 most powerful people in New Zealand.
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