YAFM finds the going tough

HARARE - Recently-launched Zvishavane-based YAFM radio station is struggling to attract advertising, its chief executive officer Munyaradzi Hwengwere has revealed.

The privately-owned radio station, headed by former Power FM boss Davies Mugadza, began operations last month and has found the going very tough.

“We launched at a time when the economy is not conducive for new businesses.  Adverts are hard to come by and we are still trying to convince advertisers that we are servicing a large market. We are serving the whole of the Great Dyke area and the reception from people has been good,” said Hwengwere.

The former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive added that advertisers were not keen to deal with radio stations outside the two main cities. “The problem we have in Zimbabwe is that the media has been centralised between Harare and Bulawayo and people don’t really look at other areas in terms of advertising.

“The advertising industry is not kind to us. The market is harsh and ignorant as to how many people we reach and their appreciation of the market outside Harare is low. The Great Dyke has more disposable income than Harare,” he said.

To compensate for the lack of advertising revenue, YAFM has invested in a food court expected to start operating at the end of this month.

“The food court will open soon and we will also be launching a sports wear shop later. That’s the state of the economy we are in, yet advertising should be sustaining us,” he said.

Despite the early setbacks, YAFM, which attracted global attention a week after its launch when baboons vandalised its fibre optic cables, believes nothing of the sort will happen again.

“What happened is that the radio link had been damaged because of electricity power cuts so we were using fibre optic cables from a local service provider. Those were the ones vandalised by the baboons. So the company took full responsibility and fixed them. They also made them tamper proof, so that will not be a problem. The radio link is now up, so if anything happens to the fibre optic cables we have a fall back plan,” said Hwengwere.

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