The four applied in May for two broadcasting licences that were offered by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).
“Yes I can confirm that this public enquiry and hearing is one of the four aspiring radio stations which were shortlisted from the fourteen, and the adjudication will be done immediately after the last hearing is done, controversial BAZ chair Tafataona Mahoso told journalists on Tuesday at a public hearing of KISS FM which has pledged to work with the state broadcaster on news productions.
“This is the first hearing of the four radio stations which are publicly known and there will be three more hearings,”said Mahoso who chairs BAZ which the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter says is not properly constituted. Mahoso is dubbed as the ‘media hangman after he closed down two newspapers prior to the 2008 elections using the draconian Access to Information and Protection to Privacy Act (AIPPA). MISA-Zimbabwe has appealed for the repeal of AIPPA. Mahoso is also chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) which licenses print media.
Other radio Broadcasting aspirants are Zimbabwe Newspapers Talk Radio and AB Communications. Zimbabwe Newspapers are publishers of the daily Herald and the weekly Sunday Mail among other newspapers while former journalist and businessman Supa Mandiwanzira is behind AB Communications.
KISS FM comprises banker Douglas Munatsi(board chair), Musi Khumalo (company Chief executive) Sharon Mugabe(non-Executive director) Oliver Mtukudzi(Non-Executive Director),Joseph Zimuto(Non-Executive Director),Phibion Gwatidzo(Non-Executive Director),Tony Ndoro (Head-Programming),George Munetsi(Programs manager),Bertha Charuma(Senior Announcer and Chris Masikati(technical consultant).
The next public hearing is that of AB Communications on 25 October while Radio VOP will appear on October 27.
BAZ demands to know from the aspirants shareholding structure, financiers, programming schedules as well as budget for transmission investment.
Currently the country has one state controlled Broadcaster the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and has no private broadcaster.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) on 26 May 2011 called for applications for free to air national commercial radio broadcasting services.
A national free to air national commercial licence refers to a profit making broadcasting entity that transmits an un-encoded signal throughout Zimbabwe.
The two licenses will be valid for 10 years each when issued.
The application fees for the potential broadcasters are US$9 500 and include an initial fee of US$2 500 and a fee of US$7 500 for the public enquiry. On being granted a licence, prospective broadcasters will be expected to pay a licence fee of US$15 000 plus per annum.
The licence fees include frequency fees of US $30 per month, a 0.5% contribution of the audited annual gross turnover to the broadcasting fund and 1% annual turnover for the license period.