The 13th of February each year is recognized world over as world radio day. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Radio and Peace.”
The first ‘World Radio Day’ was celebrated in 2012 and was made a holiday by UNESCO. In September 2011 the Spanish Radio Academy lobbied the United Nations to include an agenda on World Radio Day. On the 3rd of November 2011 during the 36th conference the proposal was approved and the first World Radio Day would be celebrated on the 13th of February 2012 (this was the day the first United Nations Radio was launched back in 1946). The rest they say is history.
In Zimbabwe, radio was first introduced under the colonial government in 1933 in Belvedere, Salisbury. It was used to relay weather reports and radio guidance. The three engineers that worked there sought permission from the government to broadcast during leisure times; permission was granted. Within a space of four years, the transmission stretched as far as Mutare, Kadoma, Gweru and Bulawayo. In 1940 the first radio station was erected along Manica Road and a broadcaster was employed. During World War 2, the focus of programming was to keep the individuals informed about the war.
Since the nation gained independence it had four radio stations (now named Classic 263, Power FM, National FM and Radio Zimbabwe). In 2012 Star FM became the first private commercial station to air in Zimbabwe (Star FM is owned by ZimPapers). It was quickly followed by the birth of Zi-FM formed under AB communications. Since its origins, Zimbabwean radio has become a medium to connect people, commercialize entities, listen to a kaleidoscope of musical genres, spread awareness (who could forget the enormous role radio played during the COVID-19 pandemic) and derive some pleasure and enjoyment.
The medium as torn down boundaries and has reached the most remote of places. These days people across the boarder are able to stream local radio stations and vice-versa. With over fifty stations to brag about, Zimbabwe media space has blossomed widely. Happy World Radio Day!