Bulawayo's First Commercial Radio Station Races Against Time

By Jermaine Ndlovu

Bulawayo, April 26, 2018 – BULAWAYO’S first ever commercial radio station, Skyz Metro FM is in danger of losing its licence as the 18 month deadline imposed on new stations by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe to start broadcasting draws closer.

However, owners of the station say they are confident the station, which missed its September 2015 target, will soon take to the airwaves.

The Fair Talk Communications owned station was licenced some 13 months ago along with seven other stations.

Together with five other stations that are yet to broadcast, Skyz Metro FM, is now only five months away from complying with the BAZ stipulated regulations.

Station Chief Executive Officer Qhubani Moyo said they were on course to start broadcasting before the deadline.

“We will be on air before the expiry of the 18 months deadline provided by BAZ,” he said.

“We are busy putting everything together so that when we get on air our systems are well strong enough for sustainability.”

The station, which started recruiting last year in June, has twice been forced to push its launch dates to this past January but they have missed the dates.

Moyo said the station, which he co-owns with Bulawayo arts icon Conte Mhlanga, would take its time to prepare for what he said required good business planning for it not to be a disaster.

“It (launch) has not taken long; it is still within the framework provided in terms of the law.

“The launch is the last part of the process of establishing a radio station but there is so much work happening everyday so that when we finally launch we are sure of what we are launching and how sustainable it is.

“This is a private business and we do things according to our business strategy and model in the context of the operating economic environment.

“When we are sure that all our systems are intact, we will invite the public for the launch.”

A recent visit by RadioVOP to the station’s site at Amakhosi Theatre Centre saw some partitioning of rooms to create offices, studios and a library.

Skyz Metro FM started recruiting its staff last year with former Sunday Mail Editor, Brezhnev Malaba coming in as the group news and current affairs editor. 

Some of the presenters and producers include former Miss Zimbabwe Samantha Tshuma, comedian Babongile Sikhonjwa, socialites Mbo Mahocs and Gilmore Tee.

Some of the station’s maiden presenters include Benkosi Maphosa, Kundai Shamuyarira, Manesi Ndlovu, Mellisa Ndlovu, Nkululeko Nkala, Zenzo Moyo, Sandra Ndebele, Nyasha Mtangamira and Thandaxolo Ndlovu.

Of the seven licensed stations by BAZ, only two of them are on air.

These are Zimpapers’ Diamond FM in Mutare and YA FM in Zvishavane who started in September and recruited veteran radio personality Davis Mugadza.

Once on air, the station would be great relief to predominantly a Ndebele city whose residents and artists have complained over unbalanced coverage by Harare based national stations in terms of content and language.