Since leaving high school at 16, radio has been at the core of Mike Hosking's career. As a teen his first radio job was as an advertising copyrighter; his lucky break came when he was asked to help out on air for Wellington's Radio Windy.
"They fired people a lot. So I got stuck on air, did two mid-dawns and someone else got fired and then I did nights," he told The Listener in 2013.
Hosking went onto to host Radio New Zealand's nationwide Tonight Show and Morning Report. In 2008 he took over Newstalk ZB's five-mornings-a-week breakfast slot, from legendary broadcaster Paul Holmes. Holmes described him as his "obvious successor". Hosking's long term role on Newstalk ZB has seen him rise at 3am for many years, meaning early nights for the father of twin girls, and three stepchildren.
By 1997 Hosking had begun appearing on television screens. That year he joined Susan Wood as co-presenter at the launch of TVNZ's five-mornings-a-week show, Breakfast. His tag team in the second chair would include Alison Mau, Liz Gunn and, from 2002, Kate Hawkesby, his future wife.
In 2005 Hosking was dumped from Breakfast, after an impressive eight year run. But he remained upbeat about the job loss. "You could mope and be miserable and leap off a cliff if you wanted. But everything's an opportunity, isn't it?"
Hosking had made the headlines in 2003 when he was part of a landmark privacy case. He and his then wife, Marie, sought to prevent publication of photographs showing Marie and their infant twin daughters on an Auckland street. While the case was rejected, Court of Appeal judges decided to review privacy law and recognise a new common law right to privacy. This became known as the Hosking principles.
Hosking has also presented current affairs show Sunday and a Kiwi version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, done fill-in stints for Mark Sainsbury on Close Up, and competed on current affairs quiz show Out of the Question.
Hosking's most high profile television gig to date was Seven Sharp, the TV One show created to replace Close Up in the slot directly after the primetime news. He began co-hosting the five-nights-a-week show in 2014, alongside original host Jesse Mulligan and Breakfast presenter Toni Street. Hosking and Street left the show in December 2017, and were replaced in 2018 by Hilary Barry and Jeremy Wells.
Moonlighting as a Master of Ceremonies, Hosking has done high profile gigs for Auckland casino SkyCity in 2012 and a 2013 charity event where John Key gave a state of the nation speech. News of the roles resulted in a storm of criticism: Hosking received $48,000 in payments and perks from SkyCity while still working as a presenter for TVNZ, and he said of Key: "we have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them (the National Party) in Government."
His public backing of the National Party prompted some politicians and members of the public to argue Hosking was not objective. During the 2017 election campaign, over 75,000 people signed a petition to oust him as moderator of TVNZ's televised leader debates. The petition was unsuccessful; Hosking later won praise for being fair and objective.
"There's no doubting his supreme confidence and under those harsh studio lights, he was the most relaxed cat in town. I'm no fan of Seven Sharp Mike Hosking — but debate moderator Mike Hosking did a good job," Stuff's Steve Kilgallon said.
Hosking is not fazed by criticism; he believes good broadcasting is not about being bland and trying to please everyone. "Some people love me, some hate me and that's what you want," he told Woman's Day in 2018.
Shaun Bamber, 'Petition from 76,000 not enough to remove Mike Hosking as TVNZ debate moderator'. Stuff website. Loaded 30 August 2017. Accessed 30 April 2018
Karl du Fresne, 'NZ's landmark decision on privacy' – The Listener, 20 December 2012 (broken link)
Steve Kilgallon, 'Mike Hosking's first 2017 election debate - how did he do?' (Review) Stuff website. Loaded 1 September 2017. Accessed 30 April 2018
Winston Peters, 'Mike Hosking's Pollyanna world lets us all down' (Opinion) – The NZ Herald, 17 August 2015
Rosanna Price and Jo Muir, 'Had enough of Mike Hosking?'. Stuff website. Loaded 17 August 2015. Accessed 30 April 2018
Diana Wichtel, 'All the answers' (Interview) – The Listener, 5 November 2005 (broken link)
Diana Wichtel, 'The artistry of Mike Hosking' (Interview) – The Listener, 26 September 2013 (broken link)
Unknown writer, 'Kate Hawkesby and Mike Hosking's wake-up call' (Interview) – Woman's Day, 30 January 2018
Unknown writer, 'Mike Hosking answers the Seven Sharp call'. Stuff website. Loaded 18 December 2013. Accessed 30 April 2018