Chalala at sunrise
Dirt Roads of Chalala , Lusaka at sunrise

By Wesley Ngwenya
Its 6am and you are up getting ready for a workday. You turn your television set on to ZNBC our national channel and you hear an annoying buzz. Oh forget it, its too early for them to open so you try our private television station MUVI TV. Here you find its some poor quality music videos. Because you cannot stand the presentation you resort to the old fashioned way of starting your mornings-radio.

I am actually shocked at how television is so slow and low in this country. The standards of the content on our television stations are way below average. Content is key to drawing advertisers. The programming on most of the stations is so poor and lacks planning. There is still too much foreign content. MUVI Television has done extremely well with their local dramas such as Banja and Brothers. ZNBC is struggling with its sole local drama Kabanana.

I find it interesting that ZNBC does not open its station until 10am. Why? Is it that there are no employees willing to wake up that early? Is it that there is not enough advertising revenue in the morning? Or is it that they simply have no ideas what to broadcast during those hours? MUVI TV has morning shows that are less structured and seem not to have a target audience in mind. They are branded Breakfast with the boys or breakfast with the girls but that does not mean much to the viewer who wants to watch good TV in the morning. They are less informative and more of the same things different days. They are not businesslike but more komboni-like.

Television stations in Zambia are missing out on morning revenue. I personally think that there are many business houses in this country who are willing to partner or advertise in the mornings provided there is a forum for it. Morning times should be busy times. We need a station that will come up with quality content on issues affecting the daily mornings of Zambians. Traffic, the weather, school openings, events, product launches, church meetings, exchange rates, stocks, the list is endless. Such content will attract big advertisers such as banks and small advertisers such as a local community school.

Evening television is also the same old fashioned soaps or talk shows. Now, I am not against these shows not because I naturally cannot stand them but we need something new. If television stations in Zambia can think a little deeper, there is no doubt that they can come up with great programming that will carter for various demographics. Little is taken into consideration about the viewer’s income, profession, social habits, etc when designing a program. Every viewer seems to be put in one big basket.

Perhaps the other one concern on Zambian television is the quality of our presenters. Our presenters are often shallow, not articulate and poorly dressed. Not only do they lack the education, expertise and experience but don’t seem to have the capacity to be resourceful, adventurous and spontaneous. I don’t know how many times I have listened to too many lies and inaccurate information from our presenters. They never seem to put time and effort to check and recheck their facts. Even those doing interviews cannot seem to have the ability to ask reasonable questions and interact professionally with their guests.

Perhaps one way of having quality content on our stations is by encouraging local productions to come up with concepts and produce content so that TV stations can buy them. We need one good reality show, one good business show, one good talk show with an audience and one good sports show. This will get me to start watching Zambian TV again.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Anne Mutambo is Zambia’s new ambassador to Sweden?
    Why has our Joyce M.C. Musenge been fired? What has she done to RB?

    Note:
    Anne Mutambo is RB’s friend’s daughter.

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  2. Unfortunately, almost everyone will follow Ndeke’s trend of not commenting on the story i.e the content of Zambian TV. Everybody will start rumour mongering about Anne Mutambo and RB.

    Now Mr Ngwenya, what is wrong with MUVI being komboni like? Try to find out exactly who watches MUVI. Its the people in the compounds. You can’t have all TV station being American wanna bees. MUVI has seen a need and they are filling that need in the compounds and boy are they popular in the high density areas.

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  3. I am in agreement with your article Wesley. I suggest orienting our TV personnel in our country to those of South African E channel & SABC. Programmes like Scandal, Generation & Isidigo are well above our local standards. Where are we missing kanshi?

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  4. MUVI TV is for every body even those who cant read and write atleast can watch and understand. chabipa they have started charging us and they will lose market.

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  5. true and some presenters have outlived their usefulness..when i was a school goin boy, i used to watch Doreen Mukanzo readin the news on ZNBC…20 yrs down the line, i am married and have a 3 yrd daughter, school going, and she watches Doreen Mukanzo read the news…hmm??

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  6. This article has been well put to the point. i recently went to Zambia after being away for almost 5 years. The Television content is shockingly 1000 years behind. The presenters lack creativity, the studio set up are without passion. ZNBC has still got the same dinosaurs reading the news. Those news readers were there when i was a kid and they are still there. Both Muvi TV and ZNBC need to relook how they present themselves. The industry is so bacwards it is frightening

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  7. Mr Ngwenya, I agree with you totally. I only wish you had commented on ZNBC NEWS.
    It will always start with the first item on Rupiah Banda, the second on Goerge Kunda, third with some government propaganda and end with an item on first lady Tandiwe. I can’t stand watching that. So what ever muvi is showing regardless of the quality – much better.

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  8. Problem with ZNBC is, its state-controlled and NOT a public broadcaster like BBC which is answerable to the people and not Govt hence ZNBC suffers from chronic bureaucracy and acute lack of innovation.MUVI does try in programming but lack finances to enhance the current operation.If MUVI gets a strategic partner,ZNBC will be redundunt.

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  9. 13. FOOD FOR THOUGHT says:
    January 7, 2010 at 3:55 pmMaureen is actually with SABC not BBC.

    no she left and is a communications manager with the UN system based in SA

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  10. ZNBC is such a bore! The programming is so bad that there is nothing to look forward to watching except RB and his cronies. MUVI though not too good has been a far better option. It is a pity that pipo have to start buying new FTA decoders if they don’t have one with a card reader.

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  11. i seriously pity pipo in Zambia. You guyz gonna have to pay for that nonsense? I feel sorry for you. Muvi TV is pathetic, ZNBC is worse than pathetic. The programiing , my goodness, i would die if i was subjected to Zambian TV. 1st item on News is RB, wether news worthy or not. No change since the 70s. How on earth do you have Doreen Mukanzo reading the news 50 years on? where is the opportunity for lighties? Sorry my fellow country men and women living in Zambia, i wish you good luck

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  12. What do you expect? Zambia is a poor country and cannot afford “quality” presenters. Quality programmes cost money – which Zambia doesn’t have at the moment. Which LDC has good TV?

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  13. I must admit that I also really get shocked at the poor sound, picture & presentation quality at ZNBC everytime I visit home. The challenge is on all those Zambians who studied Media Presentation & Broadcasting abroad – having attained the necessary know-how, I think they can contribute a great deal in transforming ZNBC into the better national TV station it ought to be. It’s not too late to try…

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  14. What constitutes poorly dressed? so long as they are clean and presentable is what should matter. We really cannot start worrying about peoples fashion statements because zambia is not a country where people can lose change lying around to splash on clothes. Theres no age limit for news readers because even with the worlds leading news providers they have so called ‘dinosaurs’ reading the news

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  15. Lack of ideas is the reason why tv programmes open at 10:00

    Give chance to street vendors to make use of 06 – 9:30 for the benefit of those who wake up early

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  16. Too many presenters with low confidence levels in zambia that is the problem and dressed in ama jacket bought from ku sowetol market for that matter.

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  17. the only thing I find shocking is that you guys still watch Zambian tv. You all sit there and complain and criticize the Zambian media, not realizing that this is what Zambia is about. We are happy with substandard performance. It is evident in our infrastructure, in our services, in our sports, in our schools, in our leaders, in our citizens and not least in our TV programming. I admire countries with citizens that take a stand for what they believe in. Now I am not condoning violence or civil unrest.. but how long will we continue to let ppl like RB hold power? guys.. grow up.

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  18. #18 – That is if they are given a chance Nine Chale. I am trying hard to render my services in my field of expertise even for free of charge, but Zambians can be a bit frost against Zambian external advice

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  19. We’ve got along way to go. Kuno TV is 24hrs, there is alot of competition amongest the TV stations so as a result you get quality programs. Nomba ku Zambia why kanshi, why? I applaud MUVI Studios for taking the intiative of starting a Media station especially with such a crazy Government.

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  20. Yes, the poor quality of Zed local TV indeed reflect the poor standard of education in Zambia at present.There are a many old guards who can be called upon to present TV programmes in Zambia.

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  21. Ndeke! hold your horses, Joyce Musenge is still being well looked after, she has relocated to some east asian country in the same capacity.

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  22. Do they still say ‘This is television Zambia, transmitting from Lusaka” in between every program? Been home occationally but never bother to watch T.V.

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  23. Its not that Zambia has poor presenter no, they do not just work hard to get to the standards. In any case Zambias are very good at looking good I go to those offices and you will see how Zambians dress.

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  24. Zambian TV presenters lack Incentives& Motivation. How can dey dress properly when they r hav not bin properly paid?.
    How can one ask and relate professionally with a company manager on TV when she/he has left home on foot en children without food, children r kicked out of sku etc all those worries.
    They need to be properly motivated, they can make good presenters.

    Abt poor picture, ooh boy. I conquer with Wesley, its not up to standard yet, worse ZNBC.
    Abt Kombonic. In case Wesley lives out of zambia, most of de pipo in so’called kumayard, watch foreign TV on DSTV etc. So MUVI is on de right track though lacks finances, its showing what the target groups want to see, en they(we) r from komboni.

    ZNBC, is shame, until it becomes pipo driven, we’ll watch Bana Cleo& Mike Mbao in…

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  25. @ Kapyuku. Most young pipo in offices in Zambia have good qualifications. Old forks have standard six whatever they r but know how to manage the skills en professions well and r serious at work.

    Young Zambians including me, lack skills on how to manage time, professions and carriers.
    Beer drinking, has taken a lot of space in pipo’s lives especially the so-called Tugiligili (spirits packed in tiny plastic casings sold at any kantemba for only K500 (sometimes negotiable), evry jim en jack can afford so they drink 24, 7)

    Good point though kapyuku

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  26. Journalism in Zambia is very low in the sense that jounalists (presenters and programmers inclusive) have been subjected to poor conditions of service which have demotivated young folks to go an extra mile. I dont know whether our Information Minister has at any point tried to find out why ZNBC is failing to lead by example by showing quality programmes on TV despite it being the only National Broadcaster. Journalism in Zambia is amongst the highest corrupt institutions in the country as news particularly is presented upon a khaki envelopment. I believe you have seen for yourself, that some faces are very prominent on our screen whether news or nosense what makes news in zambia is money. Journalists are bribed with secret packages on condition that whatever such people say should be news.

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