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Community radio stations explode

by Staff Reporter
22 Oct 2017 at 08:28hrs | Views
REGIONAL commercial radio stations are fast becoming the in-thing across the country's provinces.

Government, through the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), issued regional commercial radio broadcasting licences to eight companies some two years back.

This was after BAZ invited applications for the provision of community radio broadcasting in 25 areas of the country. The decision has gone miles in promoting communal participation in various issues through radio.

YaFM (Zvishavane), Nyaminyami FM (Kariba), Breeze FM (Victoria Falls), Diamond FM (Mutare), Skyz Metro FM (Bulawayo), Capitalk 100.4FM (Harare), Hevoi FM (Masvingo) and Faya FM (Gweru) are the eight licensed and operating stations.

With tailor-made programmes, community-based radio stations have in their short stint managed to capture the attention of many. The aforesaid have literally become first choice stations for their respective communities. In fact, they have become the pride of their particular areas.

For the first time since Zimbabwe's attainment of independence, communities now have solid radio representation, marshalled by personalities that they mix and mingle with on a daily basis.

Across Manicaland, it is Zimpapers' Diamond FM that dominates the radio landscape while YaFM, Faya FM, Nyaminyami FM rule the roost in Zvishavane, Gweru and Kariba respectively. It is the same case in the communities in which the other stations are operating.

Officiating at YaFM's second anniversary celebrations, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, who is also Mberengwa West constituency Member of Parliament, Dr Joram Gumbo, noted that community radio stations are an appropriate tool for development.

"The station is development-oriented and has assisted the community in times of need by sharing relevant information to rally all stakeholders together. The people of Mberengwa have developmental issues that they want known by relevant authorities through radio and YaFM is playing its part in this regard," said Dr Gumbo.

"There was also a pledge that the radio station would be a true representative of the people of this region and it has lived to that commitment. Our hope is that this will continue into the future. Such is the power of radio when its efforts are directed towards nation building. It energises the spirit of unity and commonality of vision is realised."

YaFM promised to be a voice of the miners situated along the Great Dyke at its inception. Thus, apart from dealing with diverse issues that create the everyday life of its community, the radio station has still maintained a conscious bias towards mining issues.

"Our artistes and musicians who have for long yearned for airplay can now do so without traversing distances. We now have the platform and we can now have new stars coming from this area just like was the case with the late Andy Brown, Leonard Dembo, Paul Matavire, Zvishavane Sounds and Devera Ngwena Jazz Band," he said.

YaFM chairman Munyaradzi Hwengwere is grateful for the support received.

"It is our desire to increase our coverage in areas within our vicinity, particularly the peripheral regions of Mberengwa. We do not see ourselves as a Zvishavane radio station but a voice of miners across the Great Dyke," said Hwengwere.

YaFM and Diamond FM are both based in vibrant and mineral-rich communities. The former swims in gold and platinum- rich environs while the latter is situated in the country's richest diamond mining fields.

Diamond FM went on air on November 4, 2015 and was officially launched on May 13, 2016. The station captures, celebrates and amplifies the aspirations of the people of Mutare through English, locally spoken languages and dialects of Manicaland.

Through live streaming, anyone outside Diamond FM's terrestrial reach, but with internet connectivity, can tune into the station for free.

Station manager Leander "Lee-Kay" Kandiero says: "The station has been well received especially locally with a survey done by  Top Line Research in 2016 showing that 97 percent of listeners in Mutare listen to Diamond FM. The last two Zamps reports show that of all local commercial radio stations, Diamond FM has the best showing."

Kandiero said the station plans to have a three-day festival as part of its second anniversary celebrations in May next year.

Source - Sunday Mail