This is the International Section of
The Broadcast Archive
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
From Colin Miller:
Broadcasting began in 1932, when stations were opened in
Salisbury and Bulawayo, using callsigns ZEA and ZEB respectively. During World
War II, studios were built in the old Post Office building on Manica Road in
Salisbury. Early editions of the World Radio Handbook indicate short-wave use by
1 kW stations at Salisbury and Bulawayo, and 1.5 kW transmitters at Gwelo and
Umtali. By 1954 the short-wave facilities had been upgraded to two transmitters
of 7.5 kW and one of 300 watts at Salisbury. A chain of 2 kW medium wave
stations was established in towns along the main railroad route. For economic
reasons, these facilities were installed in existing Post Office buildings and
linked to the main studios by telephone lines.
During the fifties, the Central African Federation of Rhodesia
and Nyasaland was created, consisting of present-day Zimbabwe, Zambia and
Malawi. The Federal Broadcasting Corporation was set up in 1958 and was modeled
on the BBC. It existed until the end of 1963 when the Federation was dissolved
prior to the independence of Malawi and Zambia. Southern Rhodesia then became a
separate country, and the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation was formed.
In the early sixties, all short-wave operations were centralized
at the Guinea Fowl site near Gweru. This station is situated almost at the
geographical center of Zimbabwe. The first transmitters were rated at 10 and 20
kW. High-powered Thomson transmitters of 100 kW were added in 1968.
Vertical-incidence omnidirectional antennas served an area within a 200-mile
radius of Gweru.
Also in 1968, the RBC expanded its services further with a
number of local community stations. The first of these was known as Radio
Jacaranda in Salisbury, named for the purple-blossomed trees that line its
streets in September and October. This was followed by Radio Matopos in
Bulawayo. The Matopos is a hilly area near the city, and also the site of Cecil
Rhodes' grave. The last local station, Radio Manica, was located in Umtali, a
picturesque town situated on the Mozambique border.
In 1975 the first FM stations opened in the Salisbury and
Bulawayo areas and the network was gradually expanded to 22 stations covering
the whole country.
Zimbabwe gained its independence on April 18, 1980, and Robert
Mugabe was elected Prime Minister. He has been the country's only ruler since
independence. Majority rule was established at last, following many years of
White domination and the guerilla war. After independence many towns had their
names changed. Salisbury was called Harare, Gwelo became Gweru, and Umtali was
renamed Mutare. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) was created, and is
the sole broadcasting authority in the country. Shortly after independence the
radio services were reorganized. The General Service was renamed Radio 1, while
the African Service was known as Radio 2.
Today, the ZBC operates four radio channels. Radio 1 broadcasts
for 19 hours a day in English, thus covering a broad spectrum of listeners.
Programs include news and information, a variety of music, light entertainment,
sport, comedy, quizzes and drama.
Radio 2 also broadcasts for 19 hours a day, in Shona, Ndebele
and other vernacular languages. The station serves the majority of the rural and
urban population that is largely Black. Two thirds of music played on Radio 2 is
produced locally. The station's program lineup includes discussions, features
and drama on social, cultural, sporting and economic issues.
Radio 3 is a 24-hour commercial music station aimed at the
youth. It provides fast-paced music, entertainment, information and education.
The majority of its listeners are young people who are highly receptive.
Finally, Radio 4 is an educational channel, which broadcasts for
19 hours a day in Shona, Ndebele, English and the minority languages of Chewa,
Tonga, Venda, Kalanga and Shangani. The audience demographics depends on the
nature of the educational programs being broadcast at the time. Radio 4 works
closely with the Ministry of Education's Audio Visual Services, as well as other
relevant government ministries and non-governmental organizations.
Short-wave transmissions were temporarily discontinued in 1991,
as it was felt that the country was adequately covered by FM transmitters.
However, in October 1994 relays of Radio 1 and Radio 2 were resumed on a test
basis, and on December 5 President Mugabe officially inaugurated the short-wave
service at the Guinea Fowl site near Gweru. The site now consists of two
log-periodic antennas and two Continental 100 kW transmitters.
Our sincere thanks to Colin Miller firstname.lastname@example.org,
for sharing this information with us.
- Station Identifications
Zimbabwe Broadcast History:
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Early regulation of broadcasting