Botswana: Radio Stations Prepare to Go Nationwide

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Botswana first private radio stations, Gabz FM and Yarona FM, are procuring equipment and placing correspondents in preparation to go nationwide. Yarona FM is looking over the horizon at Christmas 2007, while Gabz FM is planning for Independence in September. Gabz FM is targeting major villages like Palapye, Serowe and Maun. Station Manager Kennedy Otsheleng says he plans to keep the audience young adult.

"We are not changing our format. Our audience will remain contemporary adult, aged between 25 and 49 years," he says. Gabz FM intends to have a 40 percent local news content, to be broadcast in both Setswana and English. But a completely nationwide coverage is not being planned until 15 years from now.

Yarona FM's Dumi Lopang says he plans to take advantage of the high advertising season of September to December to launch their national transmitter. He disclosed that as the three private radio stations had agreed to look for a technical partner to assist them to go national "as soon as possible". Meanwhile, newcomer to the airwaves, Duma FM, is also aiming at Independence, according to MP for Mogoditshane, Patrick Masimolole, who is a member of the station's board.

The three radio stations were granted national broadcasting licences early this month.

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone), 15 May 2007