Posts Tagged ‘Sentech’

Getting to grips with challenges of Community Radio @DeptDoc

10/05/2018
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Deputy Minister of Communications with Khusi and Tyler from the Morning Cruise

The Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Pinky Kekana visited Bush Radio on Thursday (10 May 2018) as a lead up to the department’s budget vote in Parliament.

During her visit, the deputy minister said that she is visiting Africa’s oldest community radio station project to better understand the challenges facing the sector and the unique challenges facing each station.

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Intensive discussion with Bush Radio regarding the state of community media

After the visit to Bush Radio, Kekana addressed the National Community Radio Forum Western Cape Meeting where she said that the Sentech issue; where stations’ transmissions were cut due to arrears, was a wake-up call to the Department of Communication.

She said that the discussion on the challenges would be taken forward at the proposed Community Media Summit, and that the summit would be solution orientated.

pinky kekana adrian louw old transmitter

The Deputy Minister being shown the operational transmitter used in Bush Radio’s pirate transmissions pre-1994

The Deputy Minister also discussed the role of government to provide an enabling environment for the sustainability of community broadcasters by assisting in opening doors from corporates through advertising.

Related:

Community Radio Under Attack From Sentech Demands

UPDATE: Community Radio Under Attack From Sentech Demands

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UPDATE: Community Radio Under Attack From Sentech Demands

21/04/2018

The Minister of Communications, Ms. Nomvula Mokonyane has received a commitment from Sentech to reconnect all suspended stations and halt any suspensions while looking for solutions to assist the community radio sector. Mokonyane issued the statement after a meeting with Sentech, the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF), the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) on Friday, 20th April 2018.

Several stations had been suspended due to non-payment of Sentech transmission costs which lead Bush Radio to issue a statement on their behalf.

The Minister also committed to hosting a Community Radio Sector Summit to be held in May 2018, that will provide a platform to further explore the variety of challenges and opportunities that obtain within the sector.

“The community radio sector is a critical communication platform to ensure we provide our people with access to information in their communities as a means towards the creation of an informed citizenry. It is for this reason that we cannot allow the sector to collapse” said Minister Mokonyane.

Read: Sentech to reconnect community radio stations suspended for non-payment

Related: Community Radio Under Attack From Sentech Demands

Community Radio Under Attack From Sentech Demands

13/04/2018

no broadcast 2018

* Bush Radio is publishing the full press statement below issued by concerned community radio station managers in the interests of the community radio sector

13 April 2018

Sentech action gags community radio – A call to protect this valuable resource of community radio which provides media access to marginalised peoples.

More than 6 community radio stations across the country – including Hope FM, Forte FM and Karabo FM – are no longer broadcasting to their communities because their Sentech accounts are in arrears. Dozens of other stations are receiving threatening letters saying they face a “suspension of their services” if they do not pay up immediately.

“We asked to make a payment arrangement with Sentech, but the company’s expectations for a payment plan were unrealistic,” Duncan Sinthumule, Station Manager from Karabo FM in Free State says.

Sentech then declined the payment plan offered by the Karabo FM and wanted the station to pay R116,458.00 “immediately” with monthly payments of R52,152.90 for 18 months until the debt is settled.

”We cannot even afford to pay R15,000.00 per month, how will we be able to stick to their payment plan?” Sinthumule said.

As non-profit entities, community radio stations are expected to raise their own funds through advertising, sponsorship and fundraising.

The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), a SOE created with the mandate to amongst others “promote media development and diversity by providing support primary to community and small commercial media projects” only receives a small budget from the Department of Communications (DOC), and cannot provide support to over 200 community radio stations in South Africa.

Radio stations have called for a meeting with Minister of Communications Ms Nomvula Mokonyane to discuss the matter, with an expected meeting in the week of April 16.

Our demands follow…

We demand:

  • A moratorium on suspension of services by Sentech, and the switching-on of those stations taken off air
  • Debt write-off or DOC to release funds for Sentech debt
  • Restructuring of Sentech pricing for community radio stations
  • An annual grant to community radio stations

These demands are not unreasonable. As community radio stations, we operate under slow-growing economic climate that makes income via advertising very difficult.

Unlike commercial radio stations, we spend our broadcast hours promoting democracy, nationalism, social cohesion, cultural practices, local indigenous languages and local music. We educate, inform and entertain our communities we serve, and do this – in most instances – without any support from the government.

Taking community radio stations off air is an attack on media pluralism, negating the gains made in the media under the democratic government over the past 22 years. It will take us another 20 years to recover from this damage caused by Sentech.

For interviews or more information, contact:

  • Hope FM – Ntaps Moteka – 0791667566
  • Karabo FM – Duncan Sinthumule – 0735792840
  • Forte FM – Siya – 0732515487
  • The Rock FM – Kenny Moholobela – 0734861627
  • Eden FM – Morne Pietersen – 082 471 6253
  • LAFM – Ignatius Mnyamana – 0790679635

Issued by: Bush Radio on behalf of the affected community radio stations

Getting our signal to you – A visit to Sentech

21/06/2012

As part of Bush Radio regular staff development sessions we thought we’d learn a little bit more about how our signal gets to our listeners and meet some of the people involved in the process.

On Wednesday we visited Sentech, which Bush Radio uses to distribute its FM signal (89.5) to listeners.

Frank Creese – Manager: Cape Town Operations

Frank Creese who is the Manager of Cape Town Operations for Sentech gave us a presentation about Sentech and its services and also conducted a tour of their facilities.

Some facts about Sentech: it has 220 transmitting stations, 742 radio transmitters, 627 television transmitters and 550 staff members at its 16 centres nationally.

Ernst Heydenrych, Senior Technician explaining the finer points of transmission and compression to Sinethemba, Isherene and Lusanda

Bush Radio is currently considering upgrading the old Telkom copper wire connection which send our signal from the studio in Salt River to Sentech and Creese shared some clarity on why fibre optic is the way to go to get improved audio quality to the transmitter.

Gary Urion, Supervisor Transmission Centre Western Region (centre) with Sinethemba, Freedom and Victor

Our staff were amazed when we were taken into the Sentech’s operations centre where the main broadcasting (TV and Radio) signals are monitored 24/7, 365 days a year.

View from transmitter site in Tygerberg

We then went to the Sentech’s transmitter site in Tygerberg where many of the community and commercial radio stations transmitters are located. A highlight was also seeing the new digital television transmitter.

Related: In your ear and in your brain – worldwide

We welcome reduced signal distribution costs by Sentech

01/05/2012

Sentech has announced reduced signal distribution costs for community broadcasters. The change came into effect on the 1st of April 2012.

On the 16th of April 2012 the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, ICASA announced that Sentech’s average decrease in signal distribution costs for community radio is 65%, and 33% for community TV services.

Bush Radio has welcomed the reduced signal distribution cost by Sentech, as the station have been fighting for the distribution cost to be reduced.

Bush Radio Managing Director Brenda Leonard said that it is great news that the tarrifs have been reduced.

She also said that they raised the matter with Portfolio Committee on Communications back in January this year, during their visit to the station.

She believes that a long-term reduced tariff would contribute to the development of community broadcasting and its sustainability.

Media Development and Diversity Agency has also welcomed the move by Sentech, and believe that it is the great effort towards the creation of an enabling environment for media diversity.

MDDA‘s CEO Lumko Mtimde said that this is the move in the right direction, and that they hope that a more differentiated structure will be regulated.

Article originally published by Bushradionews

MPs visit Bush to check on the state of community radio

20/01/2012

Backchat's Bassie Montewa doing an impromptu interview with the delegation

Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications, the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), Sentech, Post Office and Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) paid a visit to Bush Radio yesterday (19 January 2012).

Bush Radio’s Managing Director Brenda Leonard gave the committee members and MDDA a tour of the station and after that gave a short presentation on the state of community media in South Africa.

Chairperson of the committee, Sikhumbuzo Eric Kholwane being interviewed

Some of the challenges that Bush Radio highlighted in the presentation included: Sentech-transmission cost, SAMRO‘s-calculation of fees, SAARF‘s research methodology and accuracy, the funding structure of community media in South Africa, as well as issues around the advertising industry and the current state of development of the community media sector.

After the presentation Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications Sikumbuzo Eric Kholwane thanked Bush Radio for being a long and outstanding example of a community radio station.  He added that he is grateful that Bush Radio is still holding the fort, and a great example to coming generation.  

MPs and other members of the delegation listening to the Bush Radio briefing

Member of Parliament and Chief Whip of the Committee on Communications Annelize van Wyk said Bush Radio is a better example of a community radio. Van Wyk added that Bush Radio serves as a blueprint of what community radio stations need.

MP Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen (left) making notes during the briefing

Keeping your voice heard (Sentech & Community Radio)

16/09/2010

From Bush Radio Managing Director, Brenda Leonard to all listeners and supporters.

You have probably heard the disturbing news that over 60 community radio and some community television stations across South Africa will have their broadcasting services terminated by Sentech due to the arrears owed by these stations. 

I wish to assure our listeners, friends and supporters that, fortunately, Bush Radio will not be one of these stations. We have managed, through loans and the support of the Department of Communications, to pay our fees to Sentech.

However, we still need to continue with these high monthly payments, and we ask you or your organisations, if you can, in whichever way, to support the station.

This crisis faced by community media raises the issue of the impact of the current economic crisis on media, especially community media.

All businesses have been hard-hit, their advertising campaigns have been cut to the bone, leaving community media out of the loop with potential advertisers. The same is true of funders, who have either cut their budgets or changed their funding priorities. 

Community media needs the assistance of government, civil society, the NGO community and business to ensure its survival as a vital service for the upliftment or the various communities they serve.

In the meantime, we ask our listeners, friends and supporters if you have any fundraising ideas, place a comment with your details below, or email ideas@bushradio.co.za . If you would like to make a donation, please see our bank details here.

We thank you for your contribution.

Yours sincerely

Brenda Leonard