Start a Radio station in South Africa

If you plan to start a radio station in South Africa you will have to obtain a broadcasting license from  Independent Communications Authority of South Africa,which is authorized to issue licenses, manage frequency allotments, handle disputes, regulate broadcast content and all other related matters in this regard. The licensing authority is associated with The Department of Communications which empowers it to act as the regulator for all radio stations operating in South Africa.

They can be contacted at:

Phone:  27 (11) 566 3000/3001
Fax:      27 (11) 566 3000/3001
Postal:  Private Bag X10002  Sandton 2146
Blocks A, B, C and D, Pinmill Farm
164 Katherine Street

Obtaining a license is difficult in main urban centers because of high level of competition. But if you are applying for a license in semi urban centers and if you can put up a deserving license application, it is generally granted. Unlicensed broadcasting is illegal in South Africa.

With opening up of radio stations sector in 1997, You can now apply for starting a FM radio station (low power FM station or High Power F.M radio station), Community radio station or Christian radio station.

Community radio stations which cover a city specific broadcast radius are perhaps the easiest to set up and operate in South Africa.

As on date there are just 11 commercial radio stations operating in South Africa, 6 of which are erstwhile Government owned radio stations which were privatized in 1997. Contrary to this there are hundreds of Community radio stations that operate in South Africa.

The license is normally granted for a period of 4 years . Sometimes the regulators also issue a 12 months temporary license which entails you to meet certain guidelines before it is converted into a full fledged 4 year broadcast license.

Licensing Procedure

The licensing starts with publication of an invitation to participate in the official gazette. The application is followed by public hearings which culminates with the announcement of the license awardees by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

The IBA is governed by a Council of seven members appointed by the President of the Republic. They have expertise in broadcasting policy, media law, journalism, entertainment, education and other fields.

Write to us for turnkey services for starting a radio station in South Africa.