Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe says the electronic media should meet listeners’ expectations to remain competitive in the face of challenges brought about by digitisation.
Speaking during a tour of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s studios in Mbare and Pockets Hill in Harare yesterday, Dr Mushohwe said ZBC radio stations could easily lose the market to private players if they did not disseminate relevant information.
“I think the reason why you are losing is because you are giving people what you want instead of giving them what they want. ZBC is still using programmes that were programmed 10 years ago. You should be concerned with what the consumer will benefit from the programmes,” said the minister.
“We need to make sure we have the requisite content that benefits our people.
“People will not subscribe to ZBC if their product is inferior. ZBC is not operating in isolation and after digitisation, Government will not protect inefficiency.
“We want to see people competing and surviving through our interventions as they produce and sell to the people. We should learn from other countries such as Nigeria, India, Philippines and Ghana.”
Addressing journalists after the tour, Dr Mushohwe said digitisation was progressing well and that he was impressed by the new state-of-the-art equipment at Mbare and Pockets Hill.
“Digitisation is progressing very well. The perception that I had and what I have seen are different. ZBC has done well from Mbare to Pockets Hill studios. Hopefully, soon ZBC will use the studios under digital environment,” he said.
“The studios I have seen have first class equipment, state-of-the-art machinery. I hope the nation appreciates that we are moving from analogue to digital. I think when we finish, the studios should be open to the public so they can appreciate the transition,” he said.
Minister Mushohwe said after digitisation, ZBC would have a different outlook.
“We have 24 stations being worked on and I am happy that we are adding 24 more to cover the entire country. There are areas like Mwenezi, Binga and Rutenga, among others, that have not been enjoying good reception of both radio and television. I hope digitisation will cover all those grey areas,” he said.
He said there were still areas that were not accessing radio and television, but ZBC was working on gap filling such areas to ensure 100 percent quality radio and television transmission.
“We are unleashing a technology revolution and Zimbabwe will be a new place with regard to electronic broadcasting. We are grateful to China for assisting with digitisation and the 33 local trainee engineers who are working towards this exercise,” said Minister Mushohwe.
“I am glad that the trainees are young and have just graduated from universities. We are very excited. We want to see our own young people taking over the technology revolution. We are happy that the engineers are spread from all parts of the country and every area is represented. We do not want to depend on expatriates when we have skilled people,” he said.
“I hope the co-operation of BAZ, Transmedia, ZBC and other parastatals is solid and compact,” he said.
His deputy Cde Thokozile Mathuthu said ZTV should improve on its timing of programmes.
She said some movies were played after 10pm when most people had retired to bed.
“Timing of programmes is important. For instance, playing the movie Hotel Rwanda on Christmas Day is not appropriate,” she said.
ZBC acting chief executive officer, Mr Patrick Mavhura, said ZBC was working towards ensuring that they had a distinct content from foreign content to ensure relevance.
“We have content creators. We once experienced challenges of paying them, but Government has promised to help us kick-start the project. This will go a long way in reviving the industry,” he said.