It’s barely 2 years now after the liberalisation of radio broadcasting services by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), this move by the broadcasting licensing and spectrum management authority birthed ZiFm and Star FM to date, a handful of other private owned companies have submitted their applications for the service.
By Tongai Mwenje
The submissions of applications for local commercial radio broadcasting services by private owned companies was propelled by this liberalisation.That time, prospective applicants could not meet the deadline that was set for the submission and had to request for an extension which was awarded in their favour. The deadline for submission was later on extended to February 29 2012.
There was an allocation of a single frequency in each urban centre. The centres are Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Marondera, Lupane, Plumtree, Kariba, Victoria Falls and Beitbridge.
What is worrying now is the postponement of the holding of public inquiries into the application of 25 local commercial radio licences. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz) initially had scheduled that for next week but yesterday postponed the process to a date yet to be announced.
The public inquiries had been scheduled for five centres including Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Masvingo, among others.However, BAZ, the authority in charge of broadcasting licensing and spectrum management in the country, did not give reasons for the postponement.
“The authority wishes to advise the public that public inquiries which had been scheduled for Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Masvingo, Zvishavane and Gweru will no longer be held on the dates initially published due to unforeseen circumstances that have necessitated a change of dates,” Baz said in a statement.
The authority added: “Members of the public and the applicants will be advised of the new dates in due course.”
Meanwhile, the authority revealed that six applicants had withdrawn their applications in certain areas, among them AB Communications owned by Information deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira and Vox Media Productions.
According to BAZ, AB Communications withdrew its radio licence application for Mutare, while Vox Media Productions had pulled out of Harare.
Other companies that withdrew from the process are Masego Multimedia (Bulawayo), Lupane Radio (Lupane), Mosie Radio (Victoria Falls) and Bukisa Services (Lupane).
According to the invitation, which was published in a Government Gazette that time, applicants were asked to pay US$2 500.
Those shortlisted for a public inquiry were to pay US$7 500 to cover a public inquiry. The basic license fee was pegged at US$50 000.There will also be a requirement to submit one percent of annual gross turnover.
A frequency fee of US$30 per month would be levied for each frequency. There would also be a broadcasting fund of 0,5 percent of the audited gross annual turnover.