The Mpika Community Radio (MCR) station needs over 15 million kwacha to connect its transmitter to the national grid.
The radio station has coverage radius of 125 kilometres meaning that it will cover the entire Mpika district and reach some parts of Chinsali and Chilubi districts in the Northern Province and Chama in Eastern.
This came to light during the second annual general meeting held at CIMS conference centre in Mpika yesterday (Friday) when the community wanted to find out as to why there has been a delay in conducting transmission tests when the equipment had already been installed.
MCR board Chairperson Paul Muwowo said although the radio equipment had been installed, transmission tests could not commence because the station has not yet paid electricity connection fee for its transmitter to Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO).
“We can not test transmit our radio station because funds to pay ZESCO to power our transmitter on Musakanya Mountains has not yet been secured,” he said.
Muwowo revealed that to have the community radio transmitter connected to ZESCO, the community in the area required to pay the sum of 15,666,910 kwacha which he said was not readily available.
He explained that since the station has insufficient funds, the board had solicited for financial support from the business community, individuals and the three Members of Parliament (MPS) in the area. He disclosed that the three Parliamentarians had resolved to use part of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) towards powering the transmitter because the station was an important tool in the development of the district.
“Let me assure you that, our three MPs won’t disappoint you because they have resolved to share the costs of connecting the transmitter to ZESCO using the CDF from their constituencies,” revealed Muwowo.
The three MPs are Mwimba Malama, Mwansa Kapeya and Davies Mwango of Mfuwe, Mpika and Kanchibiya constituencies respectively.
He was however quick to point out that, even if the transmitter would be powered, it would take a bit of time to air any programmes because broadcasting licence and permit to erect a studio structure had not been obtained from government.
“As MCR board, we want to follow the right procedures before we can start airing our programmes in the district because we do not want to come into conflict with the law of the land,” he stated.
He appealed to Mpika community to bear with the board saying that the process for the acquisition of broadcasting licence and permit for the studio structure had already begun. Muwowo disclosed that the cost of refurbishing the building which has housed the broadcasting and recording facilities was 13 million kwacha, while the installation of the equipment gobbled 173,900, 000 kwacha.
He added that the broadcasting equipment was bought at a total cost of 222,265,820 kwacha under the auspices of UNICEF.
The board chairperson who could not tell exactly as to when transmission tests would begin revealed that already 15 youths mainly school leavers have since been recruited to work as volunteer announcers and reporters.