Radio Phoenix chairman Errol Hickey hails airwaves freedom

Errol Hickey

GOVERNMENT’S intention to free the airwaves and allow private radio and TV stations to expand their general coverage has been strongly lauded by Radio Phoenix chairman Errol Hickey.

Mr Hickey, a pioneer of private radio broadcasting in Zambia, said in an interview that for some time now, it had been the desire of Radio Phoenix to gain more coverage within Zambia and get to as many people as possible.

“It’s very, very promising and the PF government has been very consistent. I think they want the media to get to the people, which is important,” he said.

The absence of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has for a long time served as a limitation to radio stations wishing to expand their coverage in Zambia. Mr Hickey said Radio Phoenix, among other media players, was now looking forward to the government putting in place the IBA later this year as recently announced by Information, Broadcasting and Labour Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga.

According to Mr Hickey, Radio Phoenix had earlier applied for additional radio frequencies, particularly in Livingstone in Southern Province and Lumwana in North-Western Province, through the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour.

“We have been asking for more frequencies even during the Rupiah Banda regime but the problem has always been the absence of the IBA,” Mr Hickey said.

He said additionally, companies such as Lumwana Mining Company Limited had approached Radio Phoenix on the possibility of re-broadcasting a local FM radio station from its Lumwana site.

Last month, Lumwana Mining Company technical services manager Wayne Schiller explained through correspondence to Radio Phoenix that with the expansion of mining operations and development of Lumwana township, a local radio station would help accelerate improved standards of living in Lumwana.

Mr Hickey said the correspondence from Lumwana was an indication of the desire of different people across Zambia to be kept constantly informed and educated through the Zambian media.

“The media play a big role in informing, educating and entertaining the public and freeing up the airwaves will help guarantee that the media gain greater access to information,” Mr Hickey said.

Presently, Radio Phoenix is operating in five out of Zambia’s 10 provinces and set the record as the first independent commercial station in Zambia when it launched its first call signal 89.5 Fm from Lusaka on March 22, 1996./Daily Mail

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