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YAFM in Zimbabwe Struggles to Find Foothold

Baboon attacks and lack of advertising among early challenges for radio station

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Zvishavane, Zimbabwe-based radio station YAFM. Since its launch at the end of September the station has faced multiple challenges from both the business world and even the animal kingdom.

A week after the station launched, it was reported that a group of baboons ate some of its fiber optic cables, causing the station to go offline. Add to that a lack of interest in advertisers who choose to focus more on radio stations in Zimbabwe’s two main cities of Harare and Bulawayo, and the station has been forced to come up with new ways to establish itself.

One such example will be a food court that is expected start operating at the end of October. The station also intends to open a sports wear shop in the near future as well.

“We launched at a time when the economy is not conductive for new business,” said Munyaradzi Hwengwere, CEO of YAFM. “Adverts are hard to come by and we are still trying to convince advertisers that we are serving a large market.”

“The market is harsh and ignorant as to how many people we reach and their appreciation of the market outside Harare is low,” he added.

On the plus side, Hwengwere says that the station has remedied the possibilities of baboons messing with the power again by tamper proofing the fiber optic cables as well as maintaining the radio link as a fall back plan if something should happen to the cables.