Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Thokozile Mathuthu yesterday toured the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Montrose studios in Bulawayo to assess progress in modernising the studios, as part of the ongoing digitalisation programme.
The Deputy Minister was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, George Charamba, senior officials from both the Ministry and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).
The $300,000 construction project, which is expected to be completed in March is being funded and managed by BAZ.
The purpose of the project is to modernise the studios, in line with the digitalisation programme.
Deputy Minister Mathuthu said she was satisfied with progress so far.
She said the national broadcaster should not lag behind as digitalisation will provide stiff competition from new and existing players.
“I’m happy and I’m convinced that by end of March all the ground work would’ve been completed and we’ll be ready for the next stage, which is installation of equipment.
“We must appreciate, however, that digitalisation is a process. We want to make sure that all the equipment, including the set-up boxes as well as the content are there so that the viewers don’t all of a sudden get a black screen because the content has run out,” said Cde Mathuthu.
Content producers have been engaged and they are already working on productions and the government has also availed some equipment to support their work, she added.
Cde Mathuthu said there was also a need for the ZBC to invest in skills training for its management and staff as the migration from analogue to digital requires creative skills to sustain the needs of targeted audiences.
“We’re sure that once everybody comes on board, we’ll be ready to do our productions perfectly,” said Deputy Minister Mathuthu.
BAZ technical manager, Matthias Chakanyuka, said the digitalisation process will tremendously improve the quality of radio and television productions.
“The refurbishment project is part of the digitalisation programme. The equipment is already there but we had to modernise these structures first to suit the standards. The refurbishment is expected to be complete in March and the installation of the equipment will be done soon after,” said Chakanyuka.