According to the ZAMPS Results released on the 20th of February 2018, Radio Zimbabwe has a national market share of 41% listenership. In rural areas, Radio Zimbabwe has a 47 percent listenership while in urban areas it has 28 percent. The August 2019 ZAMPS results saw Radio Zimbabwe again retain the apex position
Listenership by numbers
There has not been any research in Zimbabwe that brings out exact figures but from different platforms, it is safe to say Radio Zimbabwe has over 5 million listeners and growing. The 2016 Coca Cola Top 50 predictions had nearly 800 thousand votes (text messages) but the 2017 edition of the same competition reached milestone by garnering over 1.2 million votes-again by texts (no station has ever done that in Zimbabwe). The 2018 edition had over 3 million votes by texts.
Affectionately known as “Huruyadzo” (the Greatest), Radio Zimbabwe is the country’s oldest, biggest and most popular station. Established in 1966 following the collapse of the decade long Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953-1963) to cater for the African part of Rhodesia’s population, the station has metamorphosized, constantly rejuvenating itself to meet the needs of the population especially independent Zimbabwe. At independence, the station was named Radio 2.
Radio 2 went on to become the people’s station churning out legends such as the late Jabulani Mangena (the man who popularized Chakafukidza Dzimba Matenga), Sam Sibanda (late), the evergreen Ambuya Miriam Mlambo (late), Joseph ‘Mukaronda’ Panganai (late), Deans Patrick Mutume (late), Simon Pashoma Ncube, Brenda Moyo, Eric Knight, Nonceba Mkandla, Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda, Loveness Muchina, Malaki Nkomo, Maguire Godzongere among others.
When ZBC unbundled operations at the turn of the millennium Radio 2 was renamed Radio Zimbabwe.
Radio Zimbabwe has also produced popular presenters such as Richmond Siyakurima (the best radio DJ) in Zimbabwe according to a survey conducted by Select Research in the first quarter of 2016, Season Ndundu rated number 6th by the same survey, Tarisai Chipere Tizirepihama (8th) and Godfrey Gweje (9th). Recently the station has been joined by Hazvinei Sakarombe aka “DJ Chilli” rated 7th by the Select Survey. Thus Huruyadzo contributes half of the best ten radio presenters in the country according to the same research survey.
Season Ndundu a.k.a Chikara or Radio President..Radio Zimbabwe’s Drive Time Presenter, arguably the most popular radio personality in Zimbabwe at the moment.
Other Radio Zimbabwe popular presenters in the top 20 according to Select Research Survey are Thabani Gambiza, Elsie Mojapelo, Patricia Jacob and Lionel Mkandla.
Lionel Mnkandla Patricia Jacob
The new generation of presenters that are likely to shape the future include Rutendo ‘Mwanasikana’ Makuti, Edias Sibanda ( not related to Sam Sibanda), Leonard ‘Makamarada’ Katsangu and Liberty Lupahla “DJ Sizas among others.
Rutendo Makuti Thabani Gambiza
Radio Zimbabwe has the widest geographical coverage in Zimbabwe with 36 transmitters (the most by a single station in Zimbabwe). Its coverage stretches beyond the country’s borders into Mozambique’s Manica Province.
The Station also streams live via a mobile phone application that can be downloaded from Google Store. It also has a functioning website, www.radiozim.co.zw that streams the station live.
Locally, there is no doubt Radio Zimbabwe is the most popular station as witnessed by thousands of people who throng the Huruyadzo Road Shows that are held across the country. In competitions, Radio Zimbabwe has dominated local awards and in 2016, bagged 13 Zimbabwe Radio Awards, (ZIRA) with the closest radio station managing just four. Radio Zimbabwe also bagged the Permican Award for the second year running and retained the award again in 2017.The Station was first runner up in the 2016 Super Brand losing out to DSTV, was second runner up in 2017and 2018 but in 2019 scooped the big one shrigging off competition from 15 other radio stations and all other electronic media to be crowned the Super Brand Winner.
Huruyadzo as Radio Zimbabwe is affectionately known also boasts of the top two programmes according to Select Research. Kwaziso/Ukubingelelana is the best Radio Programme across all radio stations followed by Chakafukidza Dzimba Matenga. Zvinoitika Muupenyu is also rated number 11th.
Blessed with a vibrant and dynamic pool of presenters who mix experience and youthful zeal, Radio Zimbabwe is surely a station for the present and the future.
In April 2016, Radio Zimbabwe got a new Manager Albert Chekayi and in June 2016 the whirl wind tours of the country in the form of Road Shows started. The road shows became a game changer in the radio broadcasting industry. All the Radio Zimbabwe road shows have been characterized by massive attendances across the country. Since June 2016, Radio Zimbabwe has held popular road shows in Karoi (June 2016). Mt Darwin (July 2016), Mutoko (24 Sept 2016), Gokwe (15 October 2016), Gwanda (5 November 2016), Gutu (19 November 2016). Bezyl Bridge (22 April 2017), Tsholotsho (20 May 2017), Dugane Farm Hurungwe (10 June 2017), Checheche (8 July 2017), Plumtree (29 July 2017). Going into 2018, 2019 and 2020, the road shows have contributed into making Radio Zimbabwe a real colossal in the local broadcasting landscape.
Radio Zimbabwe also held road shows in Rushinga, Ngundu, Nyika, Mutawatawa, Murambinda, Chachacha, Kotwa and unforgettable event in Victoria Falls on the 25th of November 2017. Many commercial partners have since partnered Radio Zimbabwe in holding these road shows.
However the biggest remains the Radio Zimbabwe Dugane Wintersplush and Summersplush in Hurungwe, the festivals have become annual events since 2017.
Social Responsibility Programmes
At the moment the programme that has made a huge impact across the whole country is a programme called Ruoko Rwunopa. The programme is being produced by Rutendo Makuti now affectionately known as ‘Mother Theresa’ due to her acts of benevolence. Rutendo Makuti’s main focus on her programme are mostly disadvantaged children with complicated medical conditions. On 1 January 2017, Rutendo went for a 24 hour broadcast to raise US 15 000 dollars from the station’s listeners to enable a young girl called Evelyn Nyakutombwa to go for a surgery in India. The money was successfully raised but the child unfortunately died.
On Sunday 22 September again Rutendo and her Ruoko Rwunopa programme raised $180 thousand RTGS for a complicated surgery to remove a brain tumor on a 5 year old boy called Anotida Mudzinzwa. Rutendo had initially set to do a 12 hour continuous broadcast but eventually went for 17 and half hours non – stop till she raised the money. The target was $153 thousand and it was surpassed and the operation was successful. The money came in the form of contributions to a merchant code.
Ruoko Rwunopa is aired every Sunday morning but when there is a major fundraising effort, the programme is allocated more time. Every week, a child gets help and so far no Corporates have been involved, it has always been the listeners.
The programme has become a very popular Corporate Social Responsibility that has been taken to heart by millions of Zimbabweans across the country the diaspora.
Jairos Jiri Donation
On the 3rd of December to mark the International Day of Persons with a disability, Radio Zimbabwe had a 2 hour broadcast at Jairosi Jiri School in Southerton and also donated an assortment of groceries.
Through the mobile phone application and the Radio Zimbabwe website, the station can now stream live to thousands of Zimbabweans in the diaspora in such countries as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, UK, USA, Australia, Canada, UAE, China among others. There is also a special programme ‘Kwaziso Dzemhiri’ made for the diaspora audience.