Millions of Zimbabwean television viewers who used free to air decoders Wiztech and Philibao were left stranded and shocked when South African television signal carrier, Sentech, switched off SABC television programmes from being received beyond South Africa.
Most Zimbabweans had resorted to watching SABC programmes and other television channels other than the state-run ZBC TV, which they say, has become a rabid Zanu PF propaganda mouthpiece.
However, Zimbabweans have found relief with advent of the new radio station ChannelZim and 1st TV, which can also be accessible on Multichoice’s Digital Satellite Television (Dstv).
According to a survey conducted by Radio VOP thousands of Zimbabweans have now shifted to listening to ChannelZim, a local radio station channel that brings together Radio Voice of the People (VOP), Radio Dialogue, Platform Radio and SW Radio Africa.
“Since the SABC channels were switched off, I have now resorted to ChannelZim and 1st TV on my Wiztech. These stations give us well-balanced and unbiased news about elections and other issues. There is no way I can watch or listen to ZBC stations because they spew Zanu PF propaganda, especially nowadays when they only feature Zanu PF rallies only as if it is going to compete against itself on July 31, ” Gift Zhou of Mataga Growth Point, in Mberengwa told VOP.
Charity Ncube from Hwange in Matabeleland North said: “We thank ChannelZim for putting this (Radio VOP) station on Wiztech. I can tell you the station is the best in terms of local news and 1st TV is also doing great. At least we have something better to listen to and watch after SABC channels were switched off.”
The switching off of SABC channels has also irked viewers in countries such as Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, and Angola where free-to-air decoders were prevalent. SABC is popular in the SADC region because it its signal could be accessed free of charge and had many popular programmes such as Generations, Isidingo, Muvhango, 7 de Laan and some gospel sessions.
Oliver Chakanyuka of Chivhu in Mashonaland East province told Radio VOP that he almost threw away his Wiztech decoder after SABC channels were switched off but after he rescanned and found the 24-hour ChannelZim he changed his mind.
Other than Zimbabweans domiciled in the country ChannelZim is also popular among citizens living in the Diaspora via live streaming on http://www.channelzim.net/