Blantyre, Malawi, (Newstime Africa) – The privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) has emerged the most-listened to radio station in Malawi beating the state-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), according to the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA).
According to listenership survey results published Monday, ZBS polled 76 per cent of those surveyed countrywide with MBC coming a distant second at 43 per cent.
MACRA conducted the listenership sample survey in 19 of Malawi’s 28 districts.
Reacting to the news, ZBS Managing Director Gospel Kazako said this means he has achieved his life-long dream.
“This has always been my dream to lead the electronic industry in Malawi, to have impact,” he said.
Kazako, a former MBC broadcaster himself who founded ZBS in 2005, said to have more than three-quarters of the country listening to his radio is “currency of approval”.
“We don’t compete with others, we are our own competitors, when we set standards we always make sure we beat them,” he said.
The broadcaster-cum-poet said having over three-quarters of Malawians listening to ZBS emboldens the station to be even more creative.
“We’ll try as much as possible to maintain our standards because having three-quarters of the country listening to us means we are a powerful opinion leader,” he said.
Veteran media trainer and analyst Edward Chitsulo said the results of the listenership survey should be a wake up call for politicians who abuse the state broadcaster.
“MBC has the most resources than ZBS, MBC has the widest reach than ZBS, but these results show that ordinary listeners know what they want, they cannot be manipulated,” he said.
Chitsulo, who is also Managing Editor for the privately-owned Nation Publications Limited, said the results of the survey should teach politicians to use public resources properly.
“We are not using public resources properly and people have spoken,” he said.
Another veteran media trainer Zeleza Manda concurred with Chitsulo, saying the results of the survey are a ‘vote of no confidence’ in how the state broadcaster is being run.
“It could be people have lost faith in MBC because its open biasness towards the political party in government,” said Manda, a lecturer in media studies at the Polytechnic, the Blantyre-based constituent college of the University of Malawi.
Since the re-introduction of multiparty democracy in Malawi in 1994 there has always been an outcry that successive governments have abused the publicly-funded MBC. Opposition figures only appear on state radio or television in unflattering stories like court appearances.
During the MACRA survey the first private radio station to be introduced in Malawi after the fall of one-party rule, Power 101 – a youth-inclined entertainment station, polled nine per cent while the second private radio to be introduced in Malawi, Capital Radio, scored eight per cent. Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) FM got 15 per cent while Joy Radio of former president Bakili Muluzi polled ten per cent in the listenership survey.
Some Christian radio stations did not do too badly in the survey. Radio Maria of the Catholic Church got 27 per cent approval while Transworld Radio got 15 per cent.(rt)
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