Religious broadcaster Zitouna FM has joined the group of Tunisian national radio stations. Founded in 2007 by Sakher El Materi, son-in-law of then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, it was confiscated after the revolution of 14 January 2011. Ten years later, the station was officially incorporated into the National Radio Authority. On the Tunisian radio portal, however, it is not yet listed among the stations that can be listened to online, which include Radio Nationale, RTCI (Radio Tunis Chaîne Internationale), Radio Jeunes, Radio Culturelle, Radio Sfax, Radio Monastir, Radio El Kef, Radio Gafsa, Radio Tataouine.
The world of radio has accustomed us to the craziest stories. And this one certainly deserves a prominent place. Accomplice technology and probably… a tourist. Wirtualnemedia, a Polish site specializing in media and broadcasting, has discovered that Tunisian broadcaster RM FM had infringed copyright by using jingles from Polish radio station RMF. And in a very detailed report the site interviews an audio producer who explains technically how the infringement took place: the jingles, perfectly identical in melody and singing, are one second shorter, as the final part of the song has been cut to remove the F of RMF, since the Tunisian station is called RM. You can also see that the sound is compressed, a sign that the jingles were recorded from the net or downloaded from YouTube (where they are available) or from the site of the prestigious American production studio that made them.
A few days after the article RM no longer aired jingles
Wirtualnemedia monitoring the audio streamed by RM, and a few days after the article was published, they discovered that the counterfeit jingles were no longer being aired. So it approached the Polish network to see if it had warned the Tunisian station, but the station would not provide details. RMF is Poland’s largest network, with 30.1% of listeners between March and May 2021, according to the Radio Track survey conducted by research institute Kantar.
The image and the quotation of the famous phrase “it always seems impossible until it’s done” by Nelson Mandela, hero of the fight against apartheid and first South African president, are not enough to convince public radio and television listeners to pay the fee. The citizens of South Africa do not want to pay the 265 South African Rand: at today’s exchange rate they correspond to little more than 15 Euros, but it must be considered that income is not equally distributed: blacks receive on average less than one-fifth of the salary of a white person.
So at the beginning of this year the SABC, in a severe budget crisis, expanded the number of subscribers to include all those who could receive streaming programs on laptops, tablets and cell phones. But it has already cashed the stop of DStv, a platform that offers programs via satellite or streaming: executives have refused to charge its subscribers, saying that they cannot act as collectors and that public broadcasting must devise other ways to finance itself.
The Malawi government will review the airwaves planning that the African country’s communications regulator had initiated in 2019 to address problems generated by channel saturation. The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) had tasked the UK-based Casitel, an independent consultancy, with optimising the use of frequencies to allow new stations to open (see our article here). But some radio stations have complained, claiming that switching on new secondary installations to reduce the power of the main one has, on the contrary, generated disturbances. Such as Radio Islam, which by reducing its power from 500 to 200 W is now suffering interference from Radio Maria on 89.9 operating in the Dedza district, which transmits on the same frequency in the Mangochi district. Joy Radio, on the other hand, is complaining about the increased cost of recalibrating its transmitter in order to change frequency.
More details here.
Kuwala FM, a broadcaster of the Archdiocese of Blantyre, Malawi, was created to appeal to over 2 million listeners. It is the fourth regional radio of the Catholic Church in the country, after Radio Alinafe of the archdiocese of Lilongwe, Radio Tigabane of the diocese of Mzuzu and Tuntufye FM of the diocese of Karonga. The communications coordinator of the Archdiocese of Blantyre, Father Frank Mwinganyama, plans to go on air by the end of 2020. Radio Maria Malawi, Luntha Television and Montfort Media also operate in the diocese of Mangochi.
For two years an all female broadcaster is shaking the tree in this West African country that – according to a UN report – is one of the fifteen less developed countries in the world. The radio station aims to raise awareness on gender equality, formally granted by the constitution, but very difficult to apply in a Muslim and patriarchal society that still uses genital mutilation on young women. Born in Bafata, thanks to the efforts of Periodistas Solidarios – a NGO from Seville (Spain), it operates with equipment donated by Radio Nacional de España and Canal Sur Radio (Regional government of Andalusia’s official radio station); now the project is supported by UN. It could be a coincidence, but within a year the main broadcaster of the city (RCB, Radio Comunitaria de Bafata, 105.5 MHz) hired three women: previously the transmissions were all hosted by men. Radio broadcasting isn’t easy in Guinea Bissau, not only for social and political reasons: electricity is only supplied for a couple of hours during the night, so it’s necessary relying on photovoltaic panels or generators.
Repeaters are to be turned off, transmitting power to be reduced, and frequencies to be reallocated, all in order to decongest the FM frequencies in this West African country, where they have 56 radio stations with a total of about 200 channels. MACRA – Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority stopped issuing new radio broadcast licenses and called for a tender for the reorganisation of the radio frequencies. This was subsequently won by the English consulting firm, CASiTEL.
The three phase plan
The consulting firm mapped out the current FM network and created a database of the frequencies and broadcasting sites. They examined the FM network coverage, identified the areas impacted by interference and presented a plan to significantly improve the quality of service. Finally, they optimised the broadcasting services coverage to enable the introduction of a greater number of channels that will be issued broadcasting licenses in the course of 2020.