With ZBC largely perceived to be a Zanu PF propaganda mouthpiece, most people are no longer interested in both Zimbabwe radio and television.
Participants attending a joint Misa / Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras) radio festival in Harare yesterday told The Standard that the new station was a continuation of the state monopoly over broadcasting.
“It is a pure consolidation of a monopoly. They have simply created another ZBC,” said Joseph Mututi, chairperson of Kwekwe’s Radio Kwelaz.
Gift Mambipiri, Chairperson of Zacras said it was impossible for the new stations to be divorced from the Zanu PF ideology.
“This is just a smoke screen of lies that they have presented to the nation,” said Mambipiri.
“The two stations have their roots in the same pot and I do not see them being divorced from the system. The good thing is lies have short legs and if this is a dummy, it will not go a long way.”
Star FM general manager, Admire Taderera said there was nothing unusual about the station not offering anything new citing a case of the then Radio 3 which opened in 1981.
“Unlike what you are alleging that we are replicating Power FM, we have a youthful team that is different,” he said.
Taderera said the new station was targeting a cosmopolitan listenership and denied reports that it would push for Zanu PF’s agenda just like other government-owned media stables.
“We are not aligned to any party because this is a privately owned commercial radio station and our shareholders determine what we are going to broadcast,” he said.
“The other determinant is money because that is the basic reason for a business.”
When the new station went on air last week, many could not help but notice the similarity with Power FM.
Over the past week that the station has been on air, there was more of music than talk which prompted questions over whether or not Star FM fit into the model that it was licensed for.
Taderera said they were balancing between music and talk.
“People love to talk and listen to music and that is what we are doing,” he said.
“We are simply replicating the life of a Zimbabwean because people do not talk continuously.”
According to Wikipedia, talk radio is a format containing discussion about topical issues. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often feature interviews with a number of different guests and include listener participation.
Star FM in essence does not fit into the model, The Standard observed last week.
Misa Zimbabwe chairperson, Njabulo Ncube also said he was not impressed by the new radio station.
“I listened to Star FM’s bulletins on June 25 and 26 where they took everything from The Herald. That says a lot about the station,” said Ncube.