Tuntufye FM Radio Station
Tuntufye FM Radio is owned by the Diocese of Karonga. The Diocese of Karonga covers the remotest and poorest part of Malawi. Furthermore, the hilly and mountainous territory covered by the Diocese poses a great challenge in terms of movement of both goods and people. This means it is extremely difficult for the Diocese to reach out to the people entrusted in its care. This is coupled with the acute shortage of priests, the vast geographical expanse of the Diocese and the numerous socio-economic challenges. If the Diocese of Karonga is to fulfil part of its mission of “Facilitating Socio-economic Development” it is a must that the Diocese should reach to as many people as possible at grassroots level within its jurisdiction. Tuntufye FM stands to be the best tool to achieve this mission.
Broadcasting from the northern district of Karonga, about 238 kilometres from Mzuzu City, Tuntufye FM Radio first went on air on 21st December, 2014. Broadcasting under the banner “Your good news and development radio station”, the Radio is the household name in this region. As the Diocese of Karonga makes its effort to reach out to the people within its jurisdiction through different socio-economic programmes, Tuntufye FM becomes one handy, important and powerful tool in assisting the Diocese to become a voice of the voiceless. With Tuntufye FM, the Diocese of Karonga ably intervenes with relevant messages or teaching on human dignity, equality, polygamy, peace, cultural values that predispose women and girls to vulnerability, gender based violence and rape, among others.
Tuntufye FM Radio is mandated by Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority to send its signal everywhere in the whole Northern Region. Meanwhile, Tuntufye FM reaches the whole Karonga District on 91.8 MHz, Chitipa on 98.4 MHz and parts of North Rumphi on 103.0 MHz and 98.6 MHz for Mzuzu and parts of Nkhatabay and Mzimba.
The target audience for Tuntufye FM includes approximately all 1.3 million people, within its coverage area. Tuntufye FM Radio targets all people of various age groups and sex and broadcasts programs in languages that are well understood in the area and these include; Tumbuka, Kyangonde, Chichewa, Ndali, and English. Going by the 2016 Audience Research conducted with the help of Ste Van Afrika (a Netherland based organization) Tuntufye FM enjoys a 62% listenership over other community and national radio stations.
Tuntufye FM Radio is a tool for evangelization and development. Being a religious radio station, Tuntufye FM Radio is geared towards spreading the gospel message for the salvation of souls and genuine human living. The radio also facilitated development work through its development programmes. Thus the radio takes on board every listener regardless of their religious affiliation.
GOOD NEWS PROGRAMMES
Good news is the message of Jesus Christ concerning the salvation of the faithful as presented in the Gospel. Tuntufye FM Radio dedicates 40% (6 ½ hours) of the 16¼ hour broadcasting day to spreading the gospel. These good news programmes aim at deepening understanding of the scriptures and Christian faith through spiritual reflections, Bible recitals, prayers, sacred music, catechesis and lived faith experience of Christians.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
This covers 60% of broadcasting time at Tuntufye FM Radio. The programmes in this sphere are meant to inform, educate and entertain. The programmes here are meant to support the initiatives of the social development arm of the Diocese of Karonga government and other development players to ensure sustainable development in, and meaningful transformation of, the peoples who listen to the radio. Thus the radio has programmes that deal with governance, livelihoods, education and health.
In this area, the radio as a tool for transformation employs development communication to engage citizens in critical analysis of their situation and find ways of addressing them and engaging duty bearers to respond to their unmet demands.
Over the years Tuntufye Radio has grown rapidly to meet the demands of the ever changing world. Some of the notable achievements are:
- Tuntufye Radio has been named Best Community Radio Station in sports presentation twice (2017 and 2018) by First Merchant Bank.
- The Radio has maintained consistency in its broadcasting with shutdowns reduced by 98%.
- The radio has managed to command a large following in the area of coverage due to its adherence to standards of truth, honesty and balance and also consistency in programming.
- The Radio has been exempted from annual audits by the country’s communications regulatory body (MACRA) due to the station’s professionalism and license condition abiding.
- With its coverage and quality of signal, the radio has attracted big advertisers like cellphone network providers (TNM and Airtel); national organisations like Story Workshop Education Trust, Farm Radio Trust and Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM); and international organisations like UNDP and UNICEF.
- Tuntufye FM Radio is a community radio which presents programmes in local languages as such there is ownership of the radio by listeners as compared to national radios which present information in generic terms. Besides, the radio has the widest coverage in relation to other community radios in the region.
Although the radio has registered great achievements, it has not treaded on a smooth path. There are a number of challenges that affect the operations of the radio. Some of the notable challenges are:
- Technical challenges in the area of transmission which is caused by lack of backup equipment
- Financial constraints which make the radio fail to meet some of its operational costs such as co-siting fees, salaries, utility costs and maintenance
- Lack of reliable means of transport for field operations.
Though young, with just two years of broadcast, Tuntufye FM has talented and experienced producers and presenters who always strive to work to the satisfaction of listeners and stakeholders. Tuntufye FM promotes high professional and ethical standards in its programming and presentation. For the short while it has been on air, Tuntufye FM has overwhelmingly touched the hearts of many and the feedback is encouraging. It is a household name in the area of our jurisdiction.