More than a voice! – 7 community radios for Mat’land
Mkhululi Ncube and Leonard Ncube, columnists
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority (BAZ) has licensed eight more community radio stations, including three based in the provinces of Matabeleland, bringing the number of radio stations to be broadcast in the region to seven.
BAZ should provide licensed community radio stations with studio equipment.
Of the last eight licensed stations, the three in the Matabeleland region are Radio Bukalanga (Pvt) Ltd (Bulilima), Matobo Community Radio Trust (Maphisa, Mangwe, Brunapeg) and Twasumbuka Community Radio Trust (Binga, Kamativi, Siabuwa).
Other stations already licensed in the Matabeleland region include Mbembesi Development Trust, marketed as Ingqanga FM; Ntepe Manama Community Radio Trust, Shashe Community Radio Broadcasting Association and Lyeja-Nyayi Development Trust.
Chronicle has spoken to those behind the newly registered radio stations in Matabeleland.
Radio Bukalanga representative Sotsha Moyo said they were thrilled with the latest developments.
He said the radio will be essential for the development of the community.
âBukalanga radio station means a lot to us as BaKalanga. It provides us with great platforms to share development ideas. It offers us a space to mingle and find the information that is lacking in us. The rebirth of our language which is almost dying will bring light, âsaid Mr. Moyo.
He said he is confident the community will channel its energy like it has done with other major school and clinic building projects to make this dream come true.
Mr. Moyo said that the fact that they have been successful in meeting the demands of the application is a testament that they will meet all the requirements.
Matobo Community Radio Trust (Bayethe FM) chairman Mr. Zenzo Ncube said they were excited about the license as they have been waiting for a long time.
He said the area has gone without radio signals for years and that the arrival of the community radio station is a relief.
âObtaining a broadcasting license for us is a major community development and achievement. Our community has had poor radio reception for a very long time. We hope to close this gap once we get online. We hope to be on the way before the deadline set by BAZ, âhe said.
Mr Ncube said the licensed area covers a radius of 50 km from Maphisa, Mangwe and Brunapeg and will be broadcast in all languages ââof the communities.
He said preparations to start the broadcast started the day they submitted an application as they set up financial plans to fund the operations.
Twasumpuka FM Chairman Sam Sibanda said the station will help boost economic growth in Binga and bring dignity to the people as it will broadcast in Tonga.
He said they will have a board members meeting today to chart the way forward after getting the license.
Mr Sibanda said they hope to meet with BAZ officials next week. âWe used social media to promote the station to the community and the business community so that they could participate as well. We have a business community that has offered to help, so everything will come from today’s meeting, âhe said.
Chronicle also spoke to owners of previously licensed community radio stations that are waiting to be broadcast.
Mr. Mthabisi Tshuma, content manager at Ntepe Manama community radio, said that while waiting for BAZ to be equipped, they were using social media to broadcast for broadcast.
âWe have acquired a temporary place where we will broadcast from the Bible school in Manama. Our permanent stand will be at the Manama Business Center. We have engaged the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Advertising on studio equipment and we understand that everything is now shipped from outside the country, âhe said.
He said they will launch the station’s website next week, but are currently using Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
Beitbridge community radio chairman Mr Mekia Muyambo said they had found a place to operate.
âThe place has been inspected by a BAZ engineer and we still have some renovations to do and once we’re done we’ll call them again for inspection. If they are satisfied, they will deliver the equipment, âhe said.
Lyeja-Nyayi Development Trust station coordinator Thulani Munyandi, a journalist, said that once the government provides the broadcast equipment, it will be easy for them to start broadcasting.
âWe will certainly meet the deadline because BAZ has already given us the frequency. The Trust has also established a management team that will oversee the day-to-day operations of the station. Management has already opened a Facebook page to start the broadcast. This week, management and the trust will select a few reporters to feed the Facebook page with news from the district, âhe said.
Munyandi said their main challenge is resources and called on the corporate world to participate and help through social responsibility programs.
He said they had to renovate the building that will house their studio.
Mbembesi’s chief Ndondo said they were continuing to prepare for the broadcast of Ingqanga FM.
âI have been abroad for a while and came back last week. We are working hard to put everything in place. Our top priority now is to get the broadcast equipment. All of our stakeholders are working hard to make sure we are ready, âhe said.
Chief Ndondo said they had secured the grounds for the studios.
He said they were also waiting for Zesa to install a power line in their area.
âWe’re going to sit down with my team to look at who will be running the studios. We will need those who have the knowledge, so I am mobilizing these people so that we can start the training, âhe said.
BAZ has since secured five sets of studio equipment for community radio stations and will be procuring more in the coming months.
BAZ Acting General Manager Eng Matthias Chakanyuka said that after the licenses are granted, the stations should be operational within 18 months, otherwise the licenses will be automatically revoked as stipulated by the Services Act. broadcasting.
Eng Chakanyuka said they were working to obtain studio equipment for community radio stations.
By law, all licensed stations must be broadcast within 18 months of being licensed, and Mr. Chakanyuka said they will live up to their part of the deal.
âOn the question of the delay due to the availability of the equipment, we don’t think that will be a problem. The government is in the process of acquiring the equipment and I can confirm that five sets of equipment are already in the country. Three are from Unesco through its partnership with the government and they have agreed to distribute it to the communities. BAZ has two sets of equipment which were purchased using the broadcast fund to make five, âhe said.
Mr Chakanyuka did not specify who will benefit from the available equipment, but said plans are at an advanced stage to procure [emailÂ protected]