Malawi’s only private radio station transmitting on satellite, Galaxy FM, has for close to a fortnight stopped doing programmes and airing news but only playing music as it is facing technical hitches, Nyasa Times sources have confirmed.
The station owned by late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s daughter Duwa Mutharika Mubaira was given both television and radio licenses by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) when Bingu was still in power.
But almost five months after the death of Bingu, the radio has been forced to abandon its normal programming due to what sources say is a disagreement with certain South African based company, hosting the radio on satellite, over payment issues.
The source, working at the station’s technical department, told Nyasa Times on Friday that the situation has led to disturbance of its daily transmission.
“We have been experiencing this problem since early this month. Our bosses say it is because of a technical problem with our host based in South Africa and they say even most parts of central Africa are also going through the same problems we are facing.
“But we know that it is not true because one of the senior managers confided in some of us that the station owes the South African company over K11 million, so they decided to take us out until we pay back the money,” said the source who spoke on strict anonymity of condition.
However, in a separate telephone interview a family member to the Mutharikas said the station has been disrupted by what he called “a break in our C-band in central Africa. But as am talking to you our service providers are already in action trying to fix the problem.”
When contacted Galaxy station manager Zilani Gondwe downplayed the issue.
“Soon we will be on air the satellite problem has been fixed,” responded Gondwe without divulging more details.
The few months the station has been on air it has won the hearts of many Malawians for its non-political programs and music.