The SDA and Masego Multimedia (Pvt) Ltd have applied for licences to operate local commercial radio stations in Bulawayo titled Zimbabwe Adventist Radio and Bulawayo’s Finest FM respectively.
“Take notice that the applicant has applied for a Broadcasting Service Licence in terms of Section 10 of the Broadcasting Services. Any Person who wishes to comment on the application may within 14 days of the date of publication of this notice contact the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ),” according to a notice by the broadcasting licensing authority.
BAZ in November called for applications to operate commercial radio stations in the country’s urban centres. The initial deadline ended last month and was extended amid concerns that there was a poor response from prospective bidders for the eight licenses.
Applicants are charged US$2 500 just for applying while those shortlisted will pay a further $7 500 just to cover a public inquiry. In the event that applicant is successful, he or she pays $50 000 as a basic fee for the licence.
The aforementioned charges means a successful applicant will have to fork out $60 000 before he or she can start operating a radio station. But the steep application and running fees were criticised by interested groups who felt the charges are too prohibitive and confirm BAZ’s insincerity while keeping the country’s broadcasting industry a closed domain.
The aforementioned fees mean that the majority of applicants can easily lose $10 000, save for only those who would be finally granted the license. It means for one applicant to be able to be considered, you need to pay $10 000 which is non-refundable even if you are not awarded the licence.
Meanwhile chaos characterised the Zimpapers talk radio auditions to scout for disc jockeys, presenters, and newsreaders as organisers failed to control the over 1 000 people who turned out at the venue on Wednesday.
Desperate aspiring broadcasters alleged bias and favouritism at the auditions which were held at Alex Sports Club here. The auditions took place in a small tent and were conducted by prominent Disc Jockey Tichafa Matambanadzo also known as Tich Mataza.
Radio VOP witnessed a lot of aspiring broadcasters leaving the venue frustrated citing lack of proper organisation as Matambanadzo could be seen talking on his cell phone during auditions.