By Jermaine Ndlovu
Bulawayo, September 13, 2016 – BULAWAYO’S first ever commercial radio station finally hit the airwaves on Sunday, bringing relief to locals who have always complained of being overlooked by the current national stations.
It was double joy for the Fair Talk Communications owned station whose sister station, Breeze FM was also switched on it Victoria Falls Monday afternoon.
By hitting the airwaves, the two stations beat the Monday deadline which was set by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
Skyz Metro FM which can be accessed on 100.3 FM went live at exactly 14:15 pm and Breeze FM took off around mid-day yesterday on Monday.
Both radio stations can be accessed within a 40 kilometre radius in their respective towns.
Staff at Skyz Metro located at Amakhosi Cultural Centre was on Monday seen putting finalising logistics on things around administration, library and studios.
The radio station, which started recruiting last in June, had thrice been forced to push their launch dates and was in danger of losing its license granted in March 2015.
However, it has managed to beat the stipulated 18 month BAZ deadline which was set for September 12.
Fair Talk Communications and the stations’ Chief executive officer Qhubani Moyo was confident the two stations will work towards the betterment of the two regions.
“The long wait is over, we are here now. These two stations look into the active participation of citizens in Zimbabwe especially from the two regions Bulawayo and Matabeleland North. It’s a platform for people to dialogue and be heard as a people,” Moyo said.
Moyo said the radio stations took time as they were following their business strategy and planning so that the stations remain sustainable business units.
“We were working according to our required business plan; there were lots of work being done behind the scenes. The launch was the last process of establishing a station after enough ground work has been done,” he said.
Skyz Metro FM is going to be a relief to predominantly an Ndebele city whose residents and artists have for long complained over unbalanced coverage by Harare based national radio stations in terms of coverage and language.
So is Breeze FM which will serve the Tonga and Nambia speaking populace.
“These radio stations are going to cover from the two places that traditionally never found space in other radio stations. Our people have in the past complained over being isolated and not represented; their stations are here and they should own them,” Moyo said.
Both stations are still in their test running stages broadcasting pre-recorded content while live programming is expected to start next week.
“We are still testing our signal but from what we have seen and the response, our quality is good. Normal programming and call in shows will start next week after our technicians are done with issues like range. We want all areas around Bulawayo and Victoria Falls to receive quality signals,” Moyo added.
Some residents in Bulawayo welcomed the new radio station with high hopes that they will represent their concerns as a people.
Thabiso Mkwananzi said Bulawayo was not fairly represented by other radio stations.
“It’s been 36 years after attaining independence and the people from the Southern part of Zimbabwe were still marginalised; the lack of a radio station and television channel is the reason why we are marginalised. We hope the new radio stations will do justice to the marginalised communities of Zimbabwe,” said Mkwananzi.
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 Skyz Metro FM presenters and producers include former Miss Zimbabwe Samantha Tshuma, Babonfile Sikhonjwa, Mbo Mahocs, and Gilmore Tee among others.
Some of the maiden presenters include Benkosi Maphosa, Kundai Shamuyarira, Mellisa Ndlovu, Nkululeko Nkala, Zenzo Moyo Sandra Ndebele, Nyasha Mtangamira and Thandaxolo Ndlovu.
Fair Talk Communications which owns the two radio stations was licensed some 18 months ago along with other two radio stations and of the seven, only two were already on air.
These are Zimpapers’ Diamond FM in Mutare and are YA FM in Zvishavane.