14 newly licensed radio stations form association Representatives of the 14 community radio stations in Harare last week

Mkhululi Ncube, [email protected]

FOURTEEN newly licensed community radio stations have formed a National Association of Community Broadcasters (NACB Zimbabwe) to ensure adequate representation of their interests.

The new NACB Zimbabwe consists of community radio stations that include; Kasambabezi FM (Kariba), Ntepe-Manama (Gwanda), Radio Bukalanga (Plumtree), Nyangani FM (Inyanga), Madziwa FM (Shamva), Lyeja FM (Hwange), Twasumpuka FM (Binga), Bayethe FM (Matobo), Avuxeni FM (Chiredzi), Chimanimani FM (Chimanimani), Lotsha FM (Beitbridge), Ndau FM (Chipinge), Vemuganga FM (Chipinge), and Ingqanga FM in Mbembesi.

All the licensed television stations are on air while a majority of the community radio stations are also broadcasting while some are preparing to launch their services.

NACB Zimbabwe was formed in Harare last Thursday with a committee made up of the stations that were licensed. Coordinator and spokesperson of NACB, who is also Radio Bukalanga Station manager, Ms Yvonne Tshedu Buzwane, confirmed the development.

“The needs of community radios have evolved after licensing and one of the key issues is sustainability, which requires a lesser focus on community radios that are now on air,” she said. 

“This is what necessitates an association specifically for the licensed ones. The mandate of the association is coordinating community broadcasters, unifying their voice, and representing their collective interests. 

“This includes a move towards self-regulation, peer learning, and standardisation of community broadcaster operations.”

Ms Tshedu Buzwane said the 14 licensed community radio stations met from 6 to 7 July for the first time since their licensing and resolved to form the association with leadership station based.

“The NACB committee is chaired by Kasambabezi FM deputised by Ntepe-Manama, and Radio Bukalanga is the co-ordinator while the secretary is Nyangani FM with Madziwa FM as vice-secretary. Lyeja FM is the association’s treasurer. We also have committee members made up of Twasumpuka FM, Bayethe FM, Avuxeni FM, Chimanimani FM, Lotsha FM, Ndau FM, Vemuganga FM and Ingqanga FM,” she said.

Government recently took a decision to allow community radio stations to accept commercial advertising.

In the past community radio stations were under the purview of the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS), which was pushing for the establishment of community radio stations in the country.

The landscape has changed under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, which has licensed several television, community, and campus radio stations.

Through the promulgation of Statutory Instrument (S.I.) 120 of 2023 – Broadcasting Services Regulations by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), the Government now allows licensed community radio stations to offer advertising services to commercial entities whose business operations are conducted within the licensee community. 

“This will go a long way in bolstering revenue generation, and ultimately viability and sustainability of community radios,” said NACB.

“As they are non-profit, community-owned entities and community radio stations face significant sustainability concerns inhibiting their ability to pursue their community broadcasting service effectively.”

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