THE Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has rescheduled public hearings for stations vying for commercial radio licences in five centres, but remained mum on Bulawayo and Harare hearings which were suspended last month.
Public meetings are due in Masvingo, Zvishavane, Gweru, Mutare and Kariba.
In July, BAZ postponed the hearings countrywide citing “unforeseen circumstances”.
Public hearings for the five centres are set to run between August 19 and 29 and shortlisted firms are Gogogo FM owned by AB communications (Masvingo), Ya FM (Zvishavane), Faya FM in Gweru, which is also owned by the AB communications stable, Diamond FM in Mutare under Zimpapers and NyamiNyami FM under Kingstons Holdings in Kariba.
AB Communications is linked to Media, Informationa and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira, who was the company’s chief executive officer before his government appointment.
Part of the notice published yesterday read: “The BAZ wishes to advise members of the public that in terms of Section 10 (6) of the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06) the shortlisted applicants published therein are required to attend public inquires to determine the applicants’ suitability to be licenced for the provision of the free-to-air local commercial radio broadcasting services in the areas applied for.
“Notice is hereby given that in terms of Section 40A of the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06) to those who wish to attend the public inquiries of the dates and venues for the public inquiries to be conductted in the areas of Masvingo, Zvishavane, Gweru, Mutare and Kariba.”
The regulatory body said it had shortlisted FairTalk Communications (Pvt) Ltd trading as SKYZ Metro, Skies Radio (Pvt) Ltd, trading as Skies FM and Carryslot (Pvt) Ltd trading as Skyz FM, for commercial broadcasting licences in Bulawayo.
Skies FM is being bankrolled by Transport minister Obert Mpofu while Skyz Metro is fronted by Qhubani Moyo and Cont Mhlanga and Skyz FM is owned by Alpha Media Holdings, publishers of Southern Eye, NewsDay, The Standard and Zimbabwe Independent.
In Victoria Falls, FairTalk Communications (Pvt) Ltd, trading as Breeze FM was the only shortlisted firm.
In January, the government said it targeted licensing at least 25 radio stations across the country within two months.