Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation

The 'Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation' (ZNBC) is a Zambian television and radio station, formerly state owned, now owned by Zambians. It is the oldest, widest and largest radio and television service provider in Zambia It was established by an Act of Parliament in 1987, which was passed to transform the Zambia Broadcasting Services from being a Government Department under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services into a statutory body called the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation
TypeStatutory corporation
IndustryMass media
Area served
ProductsBroadcasting & Radio
Production output
News, Public Affairs, Light Entertainment, Sport, Religion & Education.
  • ZNBC TV1
  • ZNBC TV2
  • ZNBC TV3
OwnerZambian public (Government owned)
Number of employees


Introduction of radioEdit

It was not until World War II that Zambia, then Northern Rhodesia, acquired a radio service. In 1941 the Government's Information Department installed a 300 watt transmitter in Lusaka, the capital.[1] Known as Radio Lusaka, this station was built for the purpose of disseminating war-related information.[2] From the outset, the Lusaka station addressed programs to Africans in their own languages, becoming the pioneer in the field of local vernacular broadcasting in Africa.[3] In 1945, Harry Franklin, Director of the Information Department,[1] proposed that Radio Lusaka be developed into a fully-fledged station broadcasting exclusively to Africans.[4] Since Northern Rhodesia could not afford such a specialized service on its own, the administrations of Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland were persuaded to share in the operating costs, while the British Government agreed to provide capital funds.[5] Thus, the Central African Broadcasting Station (CABS) came into being.[6]

Among the by-products of this effort were the world's most extensive collection of ethnic African music, and a breakthrough in that most formidable barrier to audience growth, the lack of a receiver which Africans could afford to buy. Franklin tried for three years in the late 1940s to persuade British manufacturers that a potential mass market existed among Africans for a very simple inexpensive battery operated short wave receiver, in the era before transistors, before finally persuading a battery company to invest in the research and development of the idea.[7] One of the early models was mounted experimentally in a 9-inch diameter aluminum housing originally intended as a saucepan. Thus was born in 1949 the famous "Saucepan Special", a 4-tube tropicalized short wave receiver.[8] This succeeded even beyond Franklin's expectations. It cost five pounds Sterling, and the battery, which lasted 300 hours, an additional one-pound five shillings. Within the first three months 1,500 of the Saucepan Specials had been sold, and in the next few years, 50,000 sets were imported. Franklin had hopes of capitalising on a world market for the sets, but within a few years the transistor radio came into mass production and so turned his brainchild into a mere historical curiosity.[citation needed]


In 1953, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was established, with Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) as its capital, and the Southern Rhodesian Broadcasting Service, which catered for European listeners, became the Federal Broadcasting Service (FBS).[9] The CABS, still based in Lusaka, continued to use African languages as well as English.[10]

In 1955, a Federal Commission of Enquiry into the organisation of broadcasting in the Federation proposed the creation of a new broadcasting organisation, to be called the "Rhodesia and Nyasaland Broadcasting Corporation", which was to be established in 1956.[11] However, it was not until 1958 that the FBS and CABS would be merged into the Federal Broadcasting Corporation (FBC).[12]

Introduction of televisionEdit

In 1961, a television service, which had been introduced in the Salisbury and Bulawayo areas, became available in the Copper Belt of Northern Rhodesia.[13] Operated by Rhodesia Television (RTV), the service's headquarters later moved to Lusaka.[14]


However, disagreements between the three constituent territories of the Federation led to its break-up in 1964, after which Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland would gain independence as Zambia and Malawi. The former FBC station in Lusaka became the Northern Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation, which following independence later that year, was renamed the Zambia Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).[15] This, in turn, was succeeded by the Zambia Broadcasting Service (ZBS) in 1966.[16] In the same year, the government also took control of television services, with Television Zambia becoming part of the ZBS in 1967.[17] At the end of 1988, the ZBS was replaced by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), a government department under the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Tourism.[18]

Broadcasting servicesEdit

There are three domestic services. Radio 1 is carried over 8 FM transmitters, broadcasting in the seven major languages of Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi, Tonga, Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale. These are used in rotation to ensure a prime time audience for each group. Radio 2 is also broadcast by 8 FM transmitters in English, while Radio 4 is broadcast in English over 5 FM transmitters. The now defunct Radio 3 was the international service.[19] Used mainly by liberation movements in other countries in the region, it closed in 1992, having been considered to have outlived its usefulness.[6]

Programs include news, public affairs, light entertainment, sport, religion and education. School broadcasts are carried during school semesters. Agricultural programs for farmers cover all the country areas. Listening is encouraged by free provision of receivers for farm radio forums, of which there are more than 600. An annual licence fee is payable but many receivers are not licensed.

The principal activity of the Corporation is to provide Information, Entertainment and Education to the people of Zambia.[citation needed]


Some of the journalists who have worked for ZNBC include:

  • ZNBC Lusaka Studios
  1. Hector Simfukwe
  2. Brian Mwale
  3. Masautso Mukwayaya
  4. Lucky Phiri
  5. Fortune Malata
  6. Patricia Banda
  7. Joshua Jere
  8. Henry Ngilazi
  9. Dora Siliya
  10. Masuzyo Ndhlovu
  • ZNBC Kitwe Studios
  1. Paul Monde Shalala
  2. Queen Chungu Malama
  3. Ravizaria Musakanya
  4. Mushota Mpundu
  5. Lupindula Mwewa
  6. Obinato Saili
  7. Chansa Mayani
  8. Victor Sakala

Television programmingEdit








Current AffairsEdit



Soap OperaEdit


  1. ^ a b Horizon: The Magazine of the Rhodesian Selection Trust Group of Companies, Volume 7, 1965, page 21
  2. ^ EBU Review: Radio and Television Programmes, Administration, Law, Issue 83, Administrative Office of the European Broadcasting Union, 1964, page 27
  3. ^ African Broadcast Cultures: Radio in Transition, Richard Fardon, Graham Furniss, James Currey Publishers, 2000, page 23
  4. ^ Wayaleshi, Pierre Fraenkel, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, page 195
  5. ^ Broadcasting in Africa: A Continental Survey of Radio and Television, Sydney W. Head, Temple University Press, 1974, pages 125-127
  6. ^ a b World Broadcasting: A Comparative View, Alan Wells, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996, pages 157-159
  7. ^ Friends for Life, Friends for Death: Cohorts and Consciousness Among the Lunda-Ndembu, James Anthony Pritchett, University of Virginia Press, 2007, page 115
  8. ^ A note on the ‘Saucepan Special’: the people's radio of Central Africa, Rosaleen Smyth, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Volume 4, 1984 - Issue 2, pages 195-201
  9. ^ E.B.U. Review: General and legal. B, Issues 71-76, Administrative Office of the E.B.U., 1962, page 12
  10. ^ The Statesman's Year-Book: Statistical and Historical Annual of the States of the World for the Year 1957, S. Steinberg, Springer, page 286
  11. ^ BBC Handbook, BBC, 1956, page 132
  12. ^ Africa Media Review, Volumes 3-4, page 75
  13. ^ The Statesman's Year-Book 1964-65, S. Steinberg, Springer, page 472
  14. ^ Listening, Looking and Learning: Report on a National Mass Media Audience Survey in Zambia (1970-73), Graham Mytton, Institute for African Studies, University of Zambia, 1974, page 33
  15. ^ EBU Review: Radio and Television Programmes, Administration, Law, Issue 83, Administrative Office of the European Broadcasting Union, 1965, page 27
  16. ^ Africa Media Review, Volumes 3-4, African Council on Communication Education, page 75
  17. ^ Area Handbook for Zambia, Volume 550, Issue 75, Irving Kaplan, American University (Washington, D.C.). Foreign Area Studies U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969, page 255
  18. ^ Zambia, John P. Sangwa, Article 19, Freedom of Expression Institute, Media Institute of Southern Africa, 1998, pages 10-11
  19. ^ Handbook of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, Secretariat, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, 1988, page 147

External linksEdit