Malawi’s newspaper giant NPL to run Star FM

Reports from Blantyre indicate that print media giant Nation Publication Limited (NPL) is venturing into electronic media with the purchase of the fledging Star FM.

Star FM was founded by Ghanaian preacher Pastor Richard Lutwama and his wife former NPL journalist June Lamba over a decade ago but it never took off and offered little, if any competition to other stations in its segment, mainly Capital FM, FM 101 Power, MIJ Radio and Joy FM.

“There have been several meeting between the staff at Star FM and NPL’s Finance Director Phumisa Kaitaine where we have been informed about the takeover. He has also assured us that all our jobs are face,” a source at Star FM told Nyasa Times

But NPL said it is not a done deal

“NPL indeed had some intentions to venture into the electronic media as one way of diversifying our portfolio. However, this does not, in any way, suggest that we have bought Star FM,” NPL spokesman MacDonald Kadewa told Nyasa Times in an email response to a questionnaire on the matter.

Some of the staff at Star FM had been moved from Matindi FM after the initial purchase but it is not known if they will go back to the station.

According to sources in the industry, Star FM was knee deep in debt due to the financial recklessness of the owners and they were forced to sale to the station as a last ditch effort to keep it afloat.

Two years ago, management at the station fired a vast majority of the presenters after they protested over low salaries.

The Star FM comes amidst a controversy that ensued after the Elvis Nserebo owned Matindi FM had purchased Star FM and was forced to forgo one station Malawi’s Communications Laws do not allow for one company to hold two broadcasting licenses.

This led to Matindi FM offering to sell Star FM to NPL.

NPL is owned by the family of the late maverick politician Aleke Banda.

And the move by NPL into the electronic media industry is seen as an attempt to stay competitive after their main rivals Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) were given a broadcasting license to run a television station.

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