New radio stations scramble to beat BAZ deadline

THE pressure is mounting for recently licensed commercial radio stations who are now frantically trying their best to start broadcasting as they only have 17 days left before they risk losing their licences. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has set September 30 as the deadline for the six remaining licensed radio stations to start operating. Eight stations – Skyz Metro FM, Ya Fm, Diamond FM, Breeze FM, Faya FM (now rebranded to 98.4 FM), Hevoi FM, KE100.4 FM and Nyaminyami FM were given the green light by BAZ to start operating in Zimbabwe but up to date, only two stations – Zimpapers Diamond FM (Mutare) and Ray of Hope’s Ya Fm (Zvishavane) are running.

As a result of the pressure from BAZ, there was a hive of activity on the airwaves at the weekend as some stations including Skyz Metro FM (Bulawayo), Faya FM (Gweru) and Breeze FM (Victoria Falls) conducted test runs. This was also their way of communicating that they are right on track and will hopefully meet the September 30 deadline.

Fairtalk Communications’ Skyz Metro FM, which is available on 100.3 FM, temporarily went live on Sunday while their sister station – Breeze FM (90.1 FM) went live yesterday. Though no programmes or music was played, adverts of the forthcoming station’s programmes were flighted.

In Gweru – AB Communication’s 98.4 FM went on air yesterday and was available within a 40KM radius. Fair Talk Communication’s chief executive officer Qhubani Moyo said they were thrilled to have met the BAZ deadline.

“For now, the two radio stations are still broadcasting pre-recorded shows that are meant to test our signals. They’re also meant to make people familiar with the station’s programmes and presenters,” said Moyo. If all goes according to plan, Skyz Metro FM and Breeze FM will start airing live programmes later this week.

“We want the two radio stations to reflect our diverse cultures and languages. In as much as we set the pace in terms of programming, we want people to contribute as the radio stations are meant for them,” said Moyo.

Radio personalities including Arthur Evans, Sizwakele “Zwa” Ndlovu, Babongile Sikhonjwa, Possenti Sikhosana and Thandi Muringa are meant to spearhead Skyz Metro FM while musician-cum-actress Donna N will lead the way at Breeze FM.

In Gweru, metropolitan radio station 98.4FM, which is available on frequency 98.4FM (only for those in a 40km radius of Gweru), also went live yesterday to test its signal. The station – a sister to ZiFM Stereo – will be broadcasting under the tagline #TurnItUpMidlands. AB Communications chief executive officer Susan Makore said she was excited by the latest developments.

“We’re very excited that 98.4FM in Midlands is on air and that we’ve commenced broadcast. For now, we’re testing our signal and the onus is on the people of Gweru to suggest the kind of programming they’d want since it’s their station.” It remains to be seen if Hevoi FM (Masvingo), Kingstons’ KE100.4 FM (Harare) and Nyaminyami FM (Kariba) will beat the BAZ deadline. – Chronicle

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