New commercial radio station Faya FM, to be based in Gweru, will not meet its own deadline to start broadcasting ‘by August 2015’, 263Chat can exclusively reveal.
Owned by the Supa Mandiwanzira-linked AB Communications which also won the licence to run Gogogoi FM in Masvingo, the station, to broadcast within a radius of 60 kilometres around Gweru, was at least expected to feature at the just ended Midlands Agricultural Show.
Unlike the previous years when radio stations graced ‘the third largest show in the country after the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and the Harare Agricultural Show, in terms of exhibitors, visitors, and the display area,’ according to guest of honour Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the broadcasters were conspicuous by their absence this year.
Montrose Studios, owned by state broadcaster ZBC, and new provincial player Ray of Hope trading as YA FM from Zvishavane, also shied away from the show. The Munyaradzi Hwengwere-owned YA FM is however yet to start broadcasting.
Other players like Kingstons will run Nyaminyami FM and KE100.4 FM for Kariba and Harare respectively, while Fairtalk Communications own Skyz Metro FM and Breeze FM for Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Zimpapers, already running Star FM, will run Diamond FM in Mutare.
Responding to inquiries by this reporter, AB Communications boss Susan Makore admitted her company will not be able to meet the deadline.
“August will not be possible, been unforeseen delays due to number of logistical challenges,” she informed. Makore could however not give a new timeline.
Following the malfunctioning of shortwave transmitters at Guinea Fowl near the Midlands capital, Voice of Zimbabwe, which has been beaming internationally from the former Power FM offices in Fifth Street, has since stopped broadcasting.
Meanwhile an official at the ZimDigital stand urged locals not to make big the country’s failure to meet the migration deadline from analogue to digital, saying it would have been a different case if our neighbours like South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique had managed to switch to digital.
“Interference only takes place when our neighbouring countries have gone digital, and we have not. But as is the case now, we need not worry much. Around this time next year, we would have migrated,” he said, requesting anonymity since he was only an official manning the show stand but not authorized to speak to the media.
Despite $200 million being availed for the exercise, the country on 17 June 2015 failed to meet the international deadline although the then Minister of Information Broadcasting and Media Professor Jonathan Moyo had assured the nation that Zimbabwe would not be found wanting.