Omaheke Radio - A Beacon Of Hope

21 Apr 2016 14:50pm
By Kaipaherue Kandjii
GOBABIS, 21 APR (NAMPA) - Omaheke Radio could be broadcasting live within the next two months, its founder and station manager Levi Katire says.
The radio station will be officially launched in mid-June and will be accessible throughout Namibia, he told Nampa recently.
The station currently broadcasts online (over the Internet) and plans are afoot to have obtained a broadcasting licence from the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) within the next two months.
It is a first of its kind in the region and according to Katire will firstly address the lack of access to information.
“People in the Omaheke Region are deprived of development and youth empowerment programmes in most instances, merely because they are not exposed to information.
“Even if you do know of a certain programme you still need information on what it is, where, when and how you can benefit, which is non-existent in Omaheke.”
Omaheke Radio currently employs nine persons: seven radio presenters, a production technician and an assistant technician.
Katire noted that Omaheke Radio will operate as a multi-lingual radio station.
“No one must be left out and for that reason, we will do a pilot phase of the multi-lingual broadcast and see if it will be a success.
“What sparked the idea is that sometimes you can talk over five languages in just 20 minutes as you meet and talk to different people due to the different languages spoken here, hence the idea to represent and cater for all listeners,” he added.
The station also introduced the Omaheke Information Centre, which offers services ranging from typing of documents, printing, an Internet café, and a photo studio amongst others.
The radio equipment currently used came as a donation from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, and include microphones, sound mixers, voice recorders and speakers valued at N.dollars 700 000. As a community radio station, Omaheke Radio does not operate as a business and relies on donations to have the media provide its contribution to sustainable development.
The Office of the Governor in Omaheke, in collaboration with fishing giant Namsov Fishing Enterprises, also donated computers and cameras worth over N.dollars 75 000.
“The governor [of Omaheke, Festus Ueitele] has really been supportive and he always asks about the progress we are making and the challenges we face, so he has been of great assistance indeed,” said Katire.
He, however, pleaded for more sponsorship towards the radio station, lamenting high operational costs as their biggest challenge.
“A radio roughly spends N.dollars 450 000 on operational costs per annum, hence the need for programme sponsors,” he said.
Edwin Kamutjemo, a presenter at the radio station, expressed gratitude to the birth of the station.
“It has given me a reason to be a productive member of society despite it being a job on the other hand,” he noted.
The Omaheke Radio team introduced a variety of community-oriented programmes such as 'Rush Hour' and the response has been great; even Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gobabis Municipality Ephraim Davids addressed community affairs on the radio.
Kamutjemo added that most young people here do not have any form of entertainment because recreational facilities are worn-out, and urged the municipality to revamp infrastructure.
Kamutjemo presents 'Agri-Today' and 'Crystal Voice'. Agri-Today informs farmers in the region on agricultural information, while 'Crystal Voice' discusses community affairs.
Karangere Kangotuui, a newsreader on Omaheke Radio, also expressed confidence in the longevity of the radio station.
“Omaheke Radio will be a dominant player in the mainstream media industry, and I am confident that we will advocate for the development of our region and offer unparalleled information, education and entertainment on time and effectively,” a confident Kangotuui noted.
Gobabis Mayor Lea Iipinge said the radio station is “long-overdue and a crucial role player in the accessibility of information”.
“The radio station came at the right time and we needed it. I think it is a good initiative in terms of creating employment for the youth, but more importantly the access of information for our people,” said Iipinge.
She urged the youth not be solely depended on Government but rather be self-employers through innovative and creative ventures such as Omaheke Radio.