HomeEditorial CommentRadio content production: Where are the women?

Radio content production: Where are the women?

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SKYZ Metro FM is currently engaging content providers to promote business opportunities that come with the establishment of a new radio station in Bulawayo.

In simple business language, we want content suppliers for station programming and I am not impressed with some of the lessons learned from this process. I just have to share some.

Recently through the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe provincial office, we called for a meeting with music studio owners, recording label owners, music publishers and music producers within Bulawayo province.

Guess who turned up; 55 men two women! I am not impressed with this gender composition of content production owners in the province!

Content is education. It is intellectual knowledge. It is information. It is communication and it is the backbone of empowerment. It shapes society and it develops individuals, families and the country.

Those who have companies that produce content in any form are more important than all of us in the matrix of social development. Those that distribute it through various platforms come secondary.

Imagine what this means; Skyz Metro FM, a family station located in the country’s second-largest city, can only buy its local content from 55 men and two women in this age and time. This is national nonsense in a country that is a continental leader in education.

I will be meeting creative writers this morning, followed by news and current affairs writers next week and I am already worried that this unfair balance will be the same.

I cannot think of a situation in Bulawayo where Skyz Metro FM will buy all its local music content from men alone.

Content is education. It is intellectual knowledge. It is information. It is communication and it is the backbone of empowerment.
Content is education. It is intellectual knowledge. It is information. It is communication and it is the backbone of empowerment.

I will not accept this and it must be corrected urgently by those that work with gender and women empowerment programmes. Authorities must get out of their luxurious high offices in Harare and fly down to Bulawayo after reading this article and help fix this marginalisation curse on our women.

What I learned in the meeting is that organisations are not getting the required results on the ground in this sector in Bulawayo.

Culture Fund Trust of Zimbabwe is a leading donor in the arts, culture and entertainment industry in this country. How much money has it been throwing in the sector in Bulawayo?

Look at these results! Or does this reflect and confirm that it is putting all its development funds in Harare and only funding men in Bulawayo?

Culture Fund director, chairperson, together with its donors, must fly to Bulawayo as soon as possible and fix these figures. It’s their job.

I will be a happy person if our station management is able to buy 50/50 content from companies owned by both men and women in Bulawayo when Skyz Metro FM goes on air in September. We have no time ladies and gentlemen. You have the money, skill, knowledge and you have to do the right thing the right way.

To the ambassador of the European Union (EU), you represent countries that speak so well of promoting gender equality and women empowerment in Zimbabwe and your financial investment figures to date speak to that. Your countries, combined, invest a lot of your citizen’s tax money in the name of promoting and empowering women in this country.

It does not reflect good results for your efforts in Bulawayo; or are you spending all your women development and empowerment funds in Harare as EU policy?

If it is not EU policy to spend all your arts, culture, communication and entertainment money together with women empowerment money in Harare, then call your member countries’ ambassadors and discuss this.

Figures I got from this engagement meeting make your efforts in women capacity building questionable in Bulawayo. Dear honourable ambassadors, get all your development partners that you fund to come to Bulawayo on the next flight and fix this gender imbalance in the content production sector as mandated by your governments and citizens.

You should all be embarrassed by these results in Bulawayo given your level of investment and commitment to women empowerment.

To the Arts, Sport and Culture minister, permanent secretary and Arts and Culture director, you are the team that is mandated by Cabinet and the Constitution to lead and support those that are in the business of producing content that is appropriate to Zimbabweans.

Figures on the ground in Bulawayo call for your urgent attention and action. Please get out of your nice luxurious offices and run to every government department, agency and parastatal that has a mandate to promote content and women empowerment and assemble them to fly down to Bulawayo and face this reality on the ground and find urgent intervention measures to address this national embarrassment.

You are the government for goodness sake!

What is the problem with you that you are serious with being elected to public offices and yet once you are in charge you fail to fix such sensitive matters within your mandate?

Zimbabwe is awash with women’s organisations, some which are more than 30 years old. They call themselves national organisations promoting women across the country.

To leaders of such organisations, the situation of content producers in Bulawayo speaks to all of you as you drive your comfortable donor-given cars on the streets of Harare.

A 55-to-two content supply situation in favour of men in the broadcasting media, or any other media platform is something all of you should not be proud of. You should work urgently in all your offices to come down to Bulawayo and fix this.

No blame games are needed as those will not urgently give capacity to women in Bulawayo to profitably supply content to Skyz Metro FM by September this year.

Stop this intellectual habit of worshiping proposals and get down to where the challenges are and create interventions that work for the people if you claim that to be your jobs.

All of us working together should avoid promoting a situation where all radio content at Skyz Metro FM comes from male-owned production companies. You could easily promote this glaring marginalisation of women by your inaction.

Skyz Metro FM is a unique family radio station focusing on 12 to 55-year-olds. A family is composed of men, women, boys, girls and children, and all of them have a right to own companies that produce content from independent environments that do not hinder self-expression to be enjoyed by the whole family.

In Ndebele culture and tradition, a family is not permitted to listen to and/or consume content produced only by men.

Everyone has a right to produce content and at Skyz Metro FM, we must promote positive African cultural and traditional values while shooting down and eliminating those that are negative to some members of the family unit since one of our primary objectives is to promote happy united successful familyhood in Zimbabwe.

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