Sustainability critical for community radios: BAZ

Sustainability critical for community radios: BAZ

Steve Ephraem

BROADCASTING Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has revealed that the issue of sustainability is very critical for community radios.

BAZ Technical Manager, Engineer Matthias Chakanyuka, said this while addressing delegates during World Bank Country Director for Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Nathan Belete’s visit of Chimanimani FM on November 29, 2022.

Eng Matthias Chakanyuka

World Bank visited Chimanimani to have an appreciation of how communities have recovered after Tropical Cyclone Idai.

“We licenced 14 community radio stations and the first ones got assistance from the government and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

“For those who have already started, they are facing a challenge of sustainability in terms of finance, programming and community buy-in.

“Community radios are not allowed to advertise, so as a regulator, we are looking at addressing this issue so that they can get resources from advertising. This will enable the radios to sustain their operations,” he said.

Eng Chakanyuka commended the community buy-in demonstrated by the Chimanimani community.

“This building which the radio station is operating from was donated by the community. All the artwork which was done here was for free. As the government we are happy with such a gesture since the radio is doing a lot of work to help the community on issues that affect people such as weather, cattle rustling and early child marriages,” he added.

Chimanimani FM’s station manager, Temba Gata indicated that the radio requires support in terms of transport and finance.

Temba Gata

“We have 25 volunteers who are not being paid but they come to work be it at night or in bad weather. The radio is always operational 24 hours a day.

“Some of them stay 3km away from here. We thank some community members who help us with issues such as food for presenters and transport here and there. We need own transport to enable us produce outside programs and also help with staff transportation.

“We also need finance to train our staff since we are roping in new personnel whenever some leave the station for greener pastures,” he said.

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