JOURNALISTS who converged at a Media Institute of Southern Africa-organised broadcasting conference recently held in the capital are concerned at the lack of content on the country's local radio stations, saying it pushes away listeners, thereby the radio stations lose market.
Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T), who also sits on the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, said even the coming-in of new players in the name of Star FM and ZiFM had not changed anything in terms of content that people can relate to and have the urge to listen to radio like yesteryears.
"Honestly, how can one listen to a programme like the one that is done by these 'girls' on Star FM who 75% of their time are laughing?" said the former Radio 3, now Power FM, disc jockey on a lighter note in apparent reference to the programme Breeze that is co-hosted by Iyati and Tariro on Star FM.
Veteran broadcaster and also the executive director of Radio Voice of the People, better known as Radio VoP, John Masuku, challenged the new players (ZiFM and Star FM) to broaden their scope in broadcasting to rural communities as they have been focusing on urban listenership.
ZiFM CEO Susan Makore echoed similar sentiments and urged the new radio applicants to identify that market.
"What Mr Masuku said is an actual truth that we are just broadcasting to urban communities and for you incoming players, it will be worthwhile to reach out to those areas like the rural areas," she said.
At the conference, various issues pertaining to the broadcasting scene in Zimbabwe where discussed.
Misa-Zimbabwe chapter broadcasting programmes officer Koliwe Majama said it was unlikely that the country would meet the 2015 deadline on
digitisation recommended by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
"Zimbabwe missed the 2013 Sadc deadline for migration and is unlikely to meet the June 2013 international digital migration deadline due to lack of funding and a co-ordinated approach," she argued.
World Telecommunication Development Conference 2010 (WTDC-10) recognised the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting as a key regional initiative.
Countries shoudl have implemented these plans by June 17 2015, except for some developing countries, which have until June 17 2020 to make the transition.
Through various projects, ITU is helping developing countries and least developed countries to make this transition smooth.
There were also calls by the broadcasting players of forming a broadcasting association that will ensure that it will help in policy formulations that will be favourable to them.