Zimpapers’ Talk Radio station has started conducting a trial run by playing pre-recorded music and promos on its FM band.
The station is one of two that was controversially issued licenses to compete with the sole government-owned broadcaster loyal to Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party.
Analysts said the new stations were not fairly chosen because the licensing decisions were made by officials appointed by the information ministry controlled by Mugabe’s party.
Zimpapers are the publishers of the main pro-Mugabe daily, The Herald. The second channel, ZiFM, is controlled by Supa Mandiwanzira, a black empowerment campaigner. Others accuse him of being a stalwart of ZANU PF.
SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported that the trial-run started a few days ago, with anticipation that the station will be officially launched on the 18th June.
“For now, it’s just pre-recorded music with promos calling on advertisers to link up with the station. This is going to be their uphill struggle, looking for advertisers because independent radio stations survive solely on revenue from advertisements,” Muchemwa said.
A former journalist, Lenox Mhlanga went on Facebook to tell friends he was listening to “Talk Radio’s test signal beaming non-stop music.”
“I wish it would remain that way because we all know that when they start talking, that’s when the bull**** starts hitting the fan,” Mhlanga said.
While Talk Radio will begin broadcasting in the next two weeks, it is believed AB Communications will open ZiFM Radio in the next few months. The two stations will be the first private radio stations in Zimbabwe, which has no independent radio television stations. Several radio stations such as SW Radio Africa broadcast into Zimbabwe via shortwave, but do not operate from the country.
(Source : SW Radio Africa)