Communications Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana on Tuesday officially opened the Tshwane University of Pretoria (TUT) campus radio station situated in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
TUT FM 96.2 is a community radio station based at the TUT South campus, about 35km from Pretoria.
The station, which broadcasts within a 50km radius from 06:00 – 00:00 daily, has a listenership of 50 000 and mostly targets the youth.
The station broadcasts in six languages include English, Tswana, Pedi, Zulu, Venda and Tsonga.
Speaking at the official opening of the radio station, Kekana commended the students who started the radio station more than 20 years ago.
“You have made it. We are very proud of the radio station. You are able to inspire people to inspire others,” Kekana said.
Kekana told guests at the event that government will continue to support community radio stations.
“Radio must be used to protect women and children,” she said.
Kekana used the platform to speak out on the infiltration pornographic material.
“Kids consume the wrong content through their cell phones. Don’t allow people to send you the wrong content. If you distribute it, you are also equally guilty of committing the crime,” Kekana said.
Heartbeat of community development
Radio station founder Ezekiel Vilankulu said it was their passion that drove them to start the radio station on campus.
“The radio station transformed the institution. Students were no longer going to buy alcohol but instead spent their time listening to the radio station, which at the time was aired only on campus,” Vilankulu said.
According to Vilankulu, they started the radio station without any equipment. They then approached management for funding and were given money to purchase equipment.
“We needed to ensure that the radio station stays alive,” he said.
TUT Faculty of Humanities Acting Assistant Dean Professor Bonga Dondolo said the radio station is the most popular station in the area.
“We are proud of the role played by the station in accommodating journalism students when they do their internship programmes,” she said.
Dondolo urged students to protect the radio station and its equipment.
The Director of the Radio Unit at Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Lennox Klaas, told guests that government loves the community radio sector.
“Government will continue to help community media to comply with the regulations.”
Klaas emphasised the importance of compliance with tax issues, saying government will not assist with funding if tax issues are not adhered to.
TUT FM was one of the first campus radio stations to be given a one-year term broadcasting licence by the then Independent Broadcasting Authority (IB