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Ezra 'Tshisa' Sibanda partners Zanu-PF's Obert Mpofu

by Pamela Shumba and Sifundiso Ndlovu
25 Jun 2014 at 06:42hrs | Views
RADIO legend Ezra "Tshisa" Sibanda could be making a comeback, after Skies FM, which is vying for a commercial radio licence in Bulawayo, was shortlisted with three others for a final round of selection.

Sibanda, a former Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe) DJ, is a director for the radio project being bankrolled by Transport Minister Dr Obert Mpofu.

Two other radio stations, Skyz Metro - fronted by Qhubani Moyo and Cont Mhlanga - and Skyz FM -owned by Trevor Ncube's Alpha Media Holdings - will also vie for the single commercial broadcasting licence.

Directors of the three proposed radio stations will be grilled by the public during hearings starting from July 1 to July 4 as part of the final assessment process before licensing.

Yesterday, Sibanda, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for MP in July last year after returning from the United Kingdom, said they were ready to offer residents of Bulawayo and those in the surrounding 40km radius a quality service.

"Skies FM - if granted this licence - will focus on news and current affairs, including mining, farming, business, sports as well as arts and culture. It will have something for everyone," he told Chronicle.

"We want to make sure that people in the region are active participants on the national issues that affect them, and also give them a platform to air their views on those issues."

Sibanda said theirs would be a "commercial community radio station", adding that a survey conducted in the region indicated that important issues were not being adequately covered in the national media, including radio.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is expected to announce the winners later in July.

Qhubani Moyo, CEO of Fair Talk Communications which owns Skyz Metro and Breeze FM - the only station on the shortlist for the Victoria Falls commercial radio licence - said they would focus on issues of the development in the Matabeleland region.

"Our stations would tell the Zimbabwean story and focus on how local communities can contribute to the development of Matabeleland region and the country as a whole," said Moyo, who also ran for MP in Insiza North but lost to Andrew Langa (Zanu-PF).

He said they "wanted to harness tribal differences into productive development in the country through talk shows, educational programmes and music."

Moyo said the stations would also promote local music and minority languages in the region.

"Music can be used a tool of development for communities and one of our objectives is to promote local artistes and their music," he said adding.

"Bulawayo is the heart of the arts and culture industry, and we felt it was important to set up a radio station in the city."

Breeze FM is all but set to land the Victoria Falls licence, being the only one that paid bid fees. Moyo said Victoria Falls was a unique town with different tribes who spoke languages such as Nambya, Tonga and Nyanja and have not been given adequate coverage by the national radio stations.

Skyz FM spokesperson Rita Chinyoka could not be reached for comment. The envisaged radio station would see AMH - publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard, NewsDay and Southern Eye - join the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group in diversifying into radio.

Zimpapers owns StarFM.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo is on record saying the country was set for major growth in the media sector through the introduction of new radio stations.

The initial licencing will cover commercial radio stations, with community radio stations to follow.

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Source - chronicle