Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fire burns Star Radio, electricity blamed

Malawi's Information and Civic Education Minister Leckford Thotho says government thoughts are with Star Radio. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

One of Malawi’s leading privately owned independent radio stations, the Star Radio went up in flames last night burning the whole station into ashes.

The fire is reported to have started at around mid-night on Monday.

According to Police authorities, the fire that gutted the radio station, housed in Agma House at Maselema, near Chichiri, in the commercial city, Blantyre is suspected to have emanated from an electrical fault within the building or the surrounding areas.

Station Manager Dennis Kautsi was at loss of words when contacted by Malawi Digest for details about the mishap. He referred this reporter to the owner and Managing Director for the station Bishop Richard Lutwama.

Lutwama, who looked devastated with what had happened only said that he is shocked and disappointed that the station had caught fire at a time when it was strategising to widen up it’s listeners’ base.

“We had very good plans for the station but now we are back to square one,” he said.

He appealed to both Police, Escom and the Blantyre City Fire department to expedite investigations to find the cause of the accident which has led to loss millions worth of property.

According to findings by the Malawi Digest, Star Radio was being run as a family business between Bishop Lutwama, a Ugandan and his Malawians wife, June.

June Lutwama Lamba is a former journalist now lecturing media studies at the University of Malawi’s Polytechnic in Blantyre.

According to Station Manager Dennis Kautsi, Station was established in 2005 and had just recently concluded a ‘Win a Car’ text competition where 5 lucky winners went away with Toyota Corollas.

The competition was concluded over two weeks ago at a function where the Minister of Information and Civic Education, Leckford Thotho was the guest of honour.

Speaking to Malawi Digest soon after hearing news about the incident, Thotho described the accident as a set back to the development of the media profession in Malawi.

“Only a few days ago, I was with them attending this function where these magnificent vehicles were given away to lucky winner only to hear today that their station is gone. Our thoughts are with them in these trying moments,” said the Minister.

According to Kautsi, Star Radio had just re-branded its colours and slogan from “better information and today’s best music” to “Star yokoma zedi.”

He said the real re-branding exercise was expected to run for 21 days starting on the 22nd of November, 2009.

He said Star Radio was expected to spend MK1.8 million in the exercise that was to include the changing of the company’s logo and printing of t-shirts from their old official colour of purple to red and black-Malawi Digest.

1 comment:

  1. It's back on air,I was glad this morning to listen to my favourite radio.We have been praying for Star Radio management to quickly sort out the problem created by fire.