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Hearings for Commercial Licenses Begin as SW Radio Africa Shuts Down

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has scheduled public hearings in five towns and cities for aspiring provincial commercial radio broadcasters starting August 19 through 29.

The hearings will be held in Masvingo, Zvishavane, Gweru, Mutare and Kariba where applicants on the broadcasting authority’s shortlist will be given the opportunity to market themselves and articulate their agenda.

The companies seeking licences include AB Communications, owned by deputy information minister Super Mandiwanzira and the state-owned Zimpapers, which are already broadcasting after securing licences in 2012.

The broadcasting authority’s announcement came as the London-based SW Radio Africa, which started broadcasting to Zimbabwe in 2001, announced that it was shutting down citing financial constraints.

The station had stopped its shortwave programming last month, resorting only to casting on the web.

However, station founder and editor, Gerry Jackson said in a statement Monday that they were stopping all forms of broadcasts and closing shop.

“It is with regret that SW Radio announces that it is closing down," Jackson said. "We recently stopped our shortwave transmissions but have continued to provide broadcasts via our website and other formats, but these too will cease.”

“We’d like to thank the organisations and individuals who have supported us for the past 13 years and the contributors to our programs who have given so willingly of their time and expertise.

“In particular we’d like to thank our listeners, who have shared their lives, hopes and dreams and helped us to tell the story of Zimbabwe’s sad decline to the world.

“We hope that one day Zimbabwe finally has a government who understands that its sole responsibility is to ensure a safe, healthy, prosperous life for every man, woman and child in the country.”