Beitbridge council seeks community radio license

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

BEITBRIDGE Municipality has applied for a Community Radio Station (CRS) licence that will cover a radius of 150 km within Beitbridge District.

Town Clerk, Mr Loud Ramakgapola yesterday said the radio station will become an effective medium to address community development and service delivery related issues after the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)  announced that it will license six national commercial television stations, 10 community radio stations and 19 campus radio stations for a 10-year period.

Mr Ramakgapola said although they were yet to come up with a name, they had come up with a proposed structure and interim board to manage the affairs of the radio station.

Mr Ramakgapola said the community radio station will among other things nurture talent and provide employment for youths.

“We welcome the opening of air waves for community radios by BAZ and we have since lodged our application with the blessing of policymakers (councilors),” he said.

“We are taking a leaf from Musina Municipality in South Africa which is a twin town and a mirror. They are having a radio station (Musina FM) which has contributed a lot in pushing the development agenda and creating an environment for stakeholders’ consultations and feedback. As a municipality we can tap from their experience to manage our situation. In addition, we have a twinning arrangement that sees us collaborating on a number of aspects to stir development and attend to cross cutting issues”.

Mr Ramakgapola said the radio station will also provide the missing link in terms of broadcasting services to most areas in Beitbridge which are not getting enough coverage in terms of national radio transmission and mainstream media.

Presently, those in urban areas have access to a few radio stations from both Zimbabwe and South Africa and beyond that there is low or no coverage of radio, mobile telecommunications and television.

Some of the areas include, Tshipise, Tshikwalakwala, Madaulo, Dite, Tshaswingo, Bubi, Tshapfuche, Matshiloni, Tongwe, Makhado, Malibeng, Zezani, Shashe, Jalukange and Swereki.

According to Mr Ramakgapola, when fully operational, the radio will promote more content production mainly in local languages including Tshi Venda, Sotho, Shangani and Tshi Pfumbi.

“Of course, we are in the digital era, but the radio is effective in terms of enhancing two-way communications with our rate payers and clients. The whole idea is to have people driven radio stations we can all depend on to solve our problems. Currently we are seized with identifying an ideal location for the radio station, a name and working on a proposed budget,” he said.

He said behind the scenes they were also looking for potential Disc Jockeys, presenters and news anchors in case they get licensed. When BAZ announced that licences were up for grabs, March 20 was set as the deadline to submit applications and the deadline was extended to May 29. Last week, BAZ chief executive Mr Obert Muganyura announced the further extension of the deadline to June 30 for television applicants and July 31 for community radio stations applications.

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