MTL cut off transmission of Joy Radio over debt

Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) has cut off transmission for one of the country’s private radio stations, Joy Radio, particularly in northern and central regions due to outstanding debt of over K1.4 million, Nyasa Times can reveal.

Radio listeners in the central and northern regions are currently unable to access Joy Radio, which has been off air for the past three weeks after MTL cut off the transmission due to failure by the radio station to settle cable bills.

The radio station is only accessible in the southern region; however, it might take quite little longer before it resumes its national wide transmission as the management is reluctant to settle the debt, Nyasa Times has established.

According to our sources within the station, the radio’s station manager, Lloyd Zawanda is refusing to release money to settle the debt, arguing doing so would leave  the media house insolvent.

“His argument is that once the money is released to pay off the bills, then the radio station will have no money for salaries. He says he would rather wait until there is more money to settle the debt than facing the wrath of employees due to inability to pay them salaries,” disclosed our source.

The development, the source revealed, has created tension within the management as there are fears the radio station might lose some of its potential advertisers due to disconnection of transmission in the two regions.

“Most advertisers prefer radio stations that transmit countrywide to those restricted to particular areas, and if the current situation is not sorted out, the management knows that, we might end up losing our biggest clients and that will be a big blow to us,” added the source.

Joy Radio 89.6 FM is owned by former president Bakili Muluzi. The station has been struggling for the past five years after Muluzi decided to stop bankrolling its operations and ordered it to be self-sustaining.

The radio, currently transmitting through analogue (or telephone cables) is one of the stations yet to migrate into digital transmission, which other radio stations such as MBC and newly opened  Galaxy FM have already adopted.

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