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98.4FM: Tororo’s RockCity Radio starts testing live transmission

FILE PHOTO: A radio studio. Tororo is set to have a new radio (Rockcity Radio) on air by Easter

Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | RockCity Radio 98.4FM hit the airwaves on Wednesday this week, creating excitment in the usually sleepy town of Tororo in eastern Uganda.

Tororo Broadcasting Network Limited Board chairman Geresom Okecho-Ochwo confirmed in an interview yesterday (see Q & A at bottom) that what excited listeners in the town are hearing on their radios, are tests, ahead of a delayed launch, now set for March, 2023.

“Tororo Broadcasting Network trading as ROCKCITY Radio hit the airwaves as 98.4 FM on Wednesday 18/01/2023 at exactly 06:50 pm Uganda time. Surely this is a giant leap that all should welcome with great pride,” said Okecho-Ochwo, who is also head of the radio fundraising committee of the Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution (TACI).

Geresom Okecho-Ochwo

“What you are picking on your radios is just a test. When listeners picked the signal it was a confirmation that all was well,” he said, adding “In the testing period it’s illegal to perform any live broadcast. We can only play pre-recorded music, pre-recorded short messages and undertake station imaging until we get clearance from the Uganda Communications Commission.”

Tororo Broadcasting Network’s RockCity Radio was licensed to operate a commercial radio station in Tororo on December 1, 2022.

“Let the women ululate, let the men bring out fumbo and let the celebration begin,” said the radio’s chief marketeer Jackson Oboth soon after.

“The gallant sons and daughters of Padhola under the TACI Radio Committee, we thank you for the resilience and utmost determination that have let us achieve this milestone. Above all we thank our very own warriors Minister Oboth Oboth and TACI Chair Jadwong Geresom Okecho. You have. arrived home with a huge entelope from your hunting expedition,” Oboth said.

The radio that is set to broadcast to most parts of eastern Uganda and western Kenya, will eventually go live in March this year after three years of fundraising in the country and in the diaspora.

The latest boost came from President Yoweri Museveni, who fulfilled a government sh200million pledge that was needed by the Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution (TACI) to complete installations to power RockCity Radio. 

A new mast, the second tallest in the region, has already been placed top of the Rock to transmit to the whole eastern Uganda and western Kenya. FILE PHOTO VIA @RedefiningTro

Defence State Minister Jacob Oboth Oboth in October handed over the promised sh200million to the cultural leader of the Jopadhola, HRH Kwar Adhola Moses Stephen Owor, at his palace in Tororo.

A Sh600 million funds drive to establish a radio to serve Tororo district and beyond was first initiated in 2020 by the Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution, with appeals going to potential donors in Uganda and abroad. The radio started tests online earlier last year. Click here to listen RockCity Radio TORORO) or ( ROCKCITY radio 

Close to sh400m has been raised in cash and pledges in the past two years. Area MPs Oboth Oboth and Emmanuel Otaala have already each offered  sh10million while NRM electoral chief Tanga Odoi, offered sh6 million.

UCC license costs to the tune of Sh45 million, were pledged by the Tororo Municipality area MP, Apollo Yeri. Already in place is a house offered by Ambassador Bernadette Olowo- Freers at Tororo central business district that will be repurposed and wired to host the radio. This will offset a budget of sh6m annually in rent.

There are currently three radio stations in Tororo licensed by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). UCC has allowed all three to operate at an average of 1,500 watts but what was initially approved for RockCity was a 500W FM transmitter, that will not go far for a community radio.

Radio board chair Okecho-Ochwo appealed to UCC to enable the radio operate at a higher level. The appeal was well received by UCC.

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THE Q & A with Geresom Okecho

QUESTION: What is the current status of the Radio project

ANSWER:  We are currently testing. The contracted Radio Engineers began the process of testing whether the purchased radio equipment were working and the installation had been done professionally. When listeners picked the signal it was a confirmation that all was well. To date (with exception of power interruption) it has been consistent

Q: Congratulations. Are there any gaps as you get close to launching?

A: We are still short on some equipment and funds.
The following equipment are yet to be procured and installed:
1. Generators – two (studio & transmitter)
2. Profanity delay system (requirement by UCC)
3. Digital processor
4. Assorted equipment for control, production & on-air studios
5. Riser booms
6. Connecting accessories
7. Audio sound card
8. Headphones
9. Monitor speakers for the 3 studios

Available funds can only meet 40% of these costs. We therefore appeal to all those who pledged to make good their pledges. Any new donations will be appreciated as funds are still needed to cover initial expenses

Q: Have you sorted all issues with with the regulator and government

A: We need to formally communicate to UCC on our readiness and hence request for licence to allow us test signal for 3 months. In the testing period it’s illegal to perform any live broadcast. We can only play pre-recorded music, pre-recorded short messages and undertake station imaging. We however intend to request UCC to permit us begin live broadcast in early March 2023

Q: Who owns this new radio

A: Tororo Broadcasting Network/ROCKCITY Radio is fully owned by the Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution on behalf of the Jopadhola fraternity

Q:  Does that mean it is basically a community radio, here for public broadcasting mainly

A: Tororo Broadcasting Network is a commercial radio. This is a purely commercial venture intended to have capacity to cover its overhead costs and make profit

It will however do a lot of public and community service. It will promote gender and equity. Programs will be developed to target men, women, youth, culture, faith and environment etc.

Q:  Will it serve the interest of only the people of Padhola (the Jopadhola)

A:  A big NO – given its commercial interest and worldwide listenership

Q:  Then, what will the nature of its radio programing be like

A:  The Radio team has hired and is working closely with a radio program expert to develop the program

Q:  Which languages will be used for broadcasts – news, plays, story telling, music etc.?

A:  Though dhopadhola will be prioritized, any language that will be established to attract listenership and hence promote revenue earning will be used. There will be a research department to collect/receive views from different stakeholders

Q:  The start of any radio is always difficult. Will criticism be encouraged?
A: YES – especially positive/ constructive criticisms. Suggestions will be listened to and synthesized and either adopted wholly, partly or ignored. The cardinal principle will not aim at pleasing everybody. For instance when the radio hit airwaves pessimists were disappointed and will indeed continue being disappointed as we progress. Optimists on the other hand jubilated and will continue doing so

Bravo to all who have supported establishment of Tororo Broadcasting Network/ROCKCITY Radio. Continue to do so

Lastly let us desist from being the proverbial antelope that danced lame when the real dance was just to begin. Let us exercise patience

🔴 Listen to radio online >>>> https://zeno.fm/radio/rockcity-radio/

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Banking and mobile money details

The TACI radio committee has collection bank accounts with DFCU Bank Limited, Acacia Branch to ease the fundraising drive.

Following UCC instructions, the TACI radio committee treasurer , Constant Othieno Mayende recently opened a new account in the names of Tororo Broadcasting Network Limited – also in DFCU. It is UGX A/C 0106 00 1027 4194 and USD A/C 0206 00 1027 4200.

TACI have also included a GoFundMe initiative (GoFundMe ) online as one of the ways to raise funds. It is organised by Prof Robert Owor at Albany State University in the US.

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ACCOUNT NO (UGX): 01060010274194
ACCOUNT NAME: TORORO BROADCASTING NETWORK LIMITED
BANK: DFCU BANK LIMITED, ACACIA BRANCH
SWIFT CODE: DFCUUGKAXXX

ACCOUNT NO (USD): 02060010274200
ACCOUNT NAME: TORORO BROADCASTING NETWORK LIMITED
BANK: DFCU BANK LIMITED, ACACIA BRANCH
SWIFT CODE: DFCUUGKAXXX

📌 Treasurer, Constant Othieno Mayende Mobile Money (MTN: 0772 590464 or Airtel: 0751 233470)

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RELATED STORIES

(click to read them)

✅  Kwar Adhola profile (click)

✅  Website: Jopadhola.com  (CLICK)

✅  GoFundMe (click)

✅  Tororo radio targets December 2021 launch 

 Tororo leaders meet to find solutions for rising poverty, poor roads, low rank hospital

 

RockCity Radio mast to be placed on summit of Tororo Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

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