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Radio stations break law on local content

by Bongani Ndlovu
13 May 2016 at 06:51hrs | Views
RADIO stations in Zimbabwe are not implementing the 75 percent local content requirement on all music they play as mandated by the law, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) admitted yesterday. BAZ insists it has not been capacitated to monitor compliance.

Only the ZBC's Radio Zimbabwe and National FM have been found to be complying with the law, BAZ chief executive officer Obert Muganyura said.

As Muganyura spoke, across the Limpopo, the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) announced on Wednesday that their 18 radio stations would broadcast 90 percent local content with immediate effect. Back home, a majority of the country six national radio stations are playing mainly foreign content.

The former Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo was assailed when he pushed through the 75 percent local content requirement, although he is now credited with spurring the rise of the "Urban Grooves/Zim-Dancehall" sound.

Now, Zimbabweans can choose from ZBC's Spot FM, Power FM, Radio Zimbabwe and National FM; two commercial radio stations Star FM and ZiFM as well as two local radio stations Diamond FM in Mutare and YA FM in Zvishavane. The Broadcasting Services Act of 2000 imposes a 75 percent local content clause. The rest can be any other.

"Apart from Radio Zimbabwe and National FM, all of the radio stations are at varying degrees of non-compliance.," said Muganyura. "The law is the law and should be complied with and it's a question of BAZ enforcing the law.

"We're acquiring monitoring equipment through the digitalisation project currently underway. This will enable us to accurately measure the extent to which the radio stations are complying with the law. "If there's any aspect of non-compliance, then those broadcasters will be penalised."

The law imposes monetary penalties for non-compliance, but Muganyura says no-one has been penalised to date. "There has been a challenge in the implementation of the monetary penalties because we don't have the equipment. When that is fixed, then we can crack the whip on the non-compliant radio stations as we'll have the data from the machines," he told The Chronicle.

Comfort Mbofana, the general manager of the Zimpapers-owned Star FM said the commercial station was always in touch with BAZ officials with regards to their conformity. "From our interactions with BAZ, we're quite within the law. We submit our log of the songs we play to them on a quarterly basis and they've not said anything," said Mbofana.

He said as a radio station, they contributed immensely to the rise of Zim-Dancehall. "What has really shone for us is the rise of Zim-Dancehall and as Star FM we've championed the rise of the genre and in that regard we can be seen by to have been compliant," he added.

ZiFM station manager Tendai Madondo also insisted they were compliant with the law. "We're quite law abiding as we've some shows that are now playing over 90 percent local content such as the Xhale Block by Patience Musa and the Zi Experience. We've done this to match the requirements of BAZ," said Madondo.

She said the station was incorporating all languages when playing music in order to also be in line with the constitution that recognises 16 official languages. Contemporary musician Jah Prayzah said he was happy with the amount of airplay he was getting on air.

"I feel we're enjoying our fair share of radio play. I don't have any problems with what they're doing because this is where most of our fans get to hear our music," he said by phone from Harare last night. Bulawayo-based house star Khuxman, however, said musicians were not getting joy with local radio stations.

"The local music that's being played is from one area of the country, and for us Bulawayo artistes we've not having much joy. There're other artistes from Bulawayo, Hwange, Masvingo, Mutare and the like who haven't been played on radio like those in Harare," said Khuxman.

Afro Jazz musician Jeys Marabini concurred with Khuxman, adding that radio stations should not play South African music as a way to cater for people from outside Harare. "To compensate for those from this region, our radio stations play South African music. That is wrong, they should play our music," said Jeys.

"Radio stations should play more local music and not just fulfil the legal requirement. They should increase the air play to 100 percent. This move in South Africa will enable local artistes to get more money from royalties," Marabini said.

Meanwhile, South African musicians have welcomed the 90 percent quota. Rapper Cassper Nyovest posted on Twitter: "As of tomorrow there will be 90% local music playing on radio! It's now an official law! What a time! To be alive! Thank you to everybody who has been fighting this battle before us! We salute you!!! #WarReady."

Music producer Don Laka, speaking to South Africa news channel eNCA, weighed in: "It's so funny because we were actually gunning for 60 percent and when they (SABC) mentioned nine percent, I stopped talking. It's been such an emotional day that actually tears were running down my face. "If you really love your country, and you want the development of South African music and look at every South African who has been nominated or won a Grammy, what kind of music have they been playing? That's it!"

South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said: "Best news ever!" Hip-hop star Slikour described the quota system as the music industry's version of "Nelson Mandela coming out of jail". About 30 million people tune in to the 18 SABC radio stations every week.

Khusela Sangoni, the acting spokesperson for the ruling ANC, said: "This will go a long way to empowering South African artistes and promoting African culture, locally, and throughout the world."

Source - chronicle