in Stories

Change of radio station shuts off VOA

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation rebranded its Radio 1 to Spot FM removing what the United States embassy said was the last vestige of the Rhodesian Broadcasting Service.

The embassy said the change, which it said was to Sports FM, was meant to cut off call-in current affairs programmes during which callers frequently criticised the government or the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front.

The embassy, however, also admitted that the rebranding was a “blow” to the placement of Voice of America programming as Radio 1 was the biggest user of VOA news.

VOA is a United States government owned propaganda station which is not allowed to broadcast its propaganda to American citizens.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE3530, GOVERNMENT-OWNED RADIO ABOLISHES CALL-IN CURRENT

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE3530

2001-11-26 05:57

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

260557Z Nov 01

 

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ0180

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03530 260645Z

ACTION INR-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AF-00   A-00     ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00

DS-00   EUR-00   UTED-00 VC-00   TEDE-00 LAB-01   VCE-00

NSAE-00 IRM-00   TEST-00 USIE-00 BBG-00   EPAE-00 IIP-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00     /003W

——————42E9B6 260645Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0364

INFO NSC WASHDC

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK

AMEMBASSY GABORONE

AMEMBASSY LILONGWE

AMEMBASSY LONDON

UNCLAS HARARE 003530

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/PD FOR COX, ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR SCHLACHTER, AF/P,

INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ZI PREL PHUM

SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT-OWNED RADIO ABOLISHES CALL-IN CURRENT

EVENTS PROGRAMMING

 

 

1.   THE STATE-OWNED ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING CORPORATION

(ZBC) HAS CONVERTED ONE OF ITS FOUR RADIO STATIONS INTO AN

18-HOUR PER DAY SPORTS CHANNEL. THE NEW CHANNEL, NAMED

“SPORTS FM,” OCCUPIES THE FREQUENCY FORMERLY USED BY RADIO

1. RADIO 1 WAS AN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE STATION OFFERING MUSIC,

NEWS AND CALL-IN DISCUSSION PROGRAMS THAT FOCUSED ON

CURRENT AFFAIRS. THE CONVERSION OF RADIO 1 TO “SPORTS FM”

EFFECTIVELY ENDS ALL ADULT-ORIENTED CALL-IN RADIO

PROGRAMMING IN ZIMBABWE.

 

2.   RADIO 1 WAS THE LAST VESTIGE OF THE RHODESIAN

BROADCASTING SERVICE. ITS ALL-ENGLISH FORMAT AND MUSIC

PLAY LIST CATERED TO ZIMBABWEANS OF EUROPEAN ANCESTRY.

CONSEQUENTLY, RADIO 1 HAD THE SMALLEST AUDIENCE AND WAS THE

LEAST PROFITABLE OF ANY OF THE ZBC’S FOUR RADIO STATIONS.

THE STATION DID, HOWEVER, HAVE A STRONG FOLLOWING AMONG A

WIDE VARIETY OF ZIMBABWEANS FOR ITS EVENING CALL-IN CURRENT

EVENTS PROGRAMS. THESE PROGRAMS OFFERED CITIZENS AN

OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS AND ASK PANELISTS

QUESTIONS ABOUT IMPORTANT ISSUES. CALLERS FREQUENTLY

VOICED SHARP CRITICISM OF THE GOVERNMENT OR RULING PARTY.

 

3.   OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS, THESE PROGRAMS HAVE GRADUALLY

BEEN CANCELLED, REDUCED TO PANEL DISCUSSIONS WITHOUT CALLS

FROM THE AUDIENCE, OR RE-DIRECTED TO FOCUS ON NON-POLITICAL

TOPICS. ZBC HAS NEVER OFFERED REASONS FOR THESE PROGRAM

CHANGES, BUT THE POPULAR PERCEPTION IS THAT ZBC MANAGEMENT

AND THEIR POLITICAL BOSSES WERE UNHAPPY ABOUT PROVIDING A

FORUM FOR PUBLIC DISCUSSION AND CRITICISM OF THE

GOVERNMENT. ACCORDING TO ONE CONTACT AT ZBC, THE

“AUTHORITIES” HAD BECOME “VERY UNCOMFORTABLE” WITH PUBLIC

COMPLAINTS ON THE CALL-IN PROGRAMS ABOUT THE “DEEPENING

UNCLASSIFIED

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03530 260645Z

ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL CRISIS UNDER PRESIDENT ROBERT

MUGABE.” BY CONVERTING THE STATION TO AN ALL-SPORTS

FORMAT, THE ZBC NEATLY USES A DEFENSIBLE BUSINESS DECISION

TO GIVE ITSELF A POLITICAL “COMFORT ZONE.”

 

4.   IN ADDITION TO REMOVING GENUINE DISCUSSION PROGRAMS

FROM ZIMBABWEAN AIRWAVES, THE CONVERSION OF THE STATION TO

ALL SPORTS HAS ALSO DEALT A BLOW TO PLACEMENT OF VOA

PROGRAMMING. OF THE FOUR ZBC RADIO STATIONS, RADIO 1 HAS

BEEN THE BIGGEST USER OF VOA NEWS, CURRENT AFFAIRS AND

MUSIC PROGRAMS. HOWEVER, VOA PROGRAMMING WILL CONTINUE ON

RADIOS 3 AND 4.

 

SULLIVAN

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

>

 

(31 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment