In a sequel to our recent, frank report, Running community radio — not for the fainthearted, Gateway News this week interviewed Kingfisher FM station manager Michele Lourens about the Nelson Mandela Bay Christian station’s #arisekingfisher campaign aimed at getting back on air after broadcasting was suspended over a licensing infringement. We also heard from the Kingfisher FM board — see their statement in the box below.
Kingfisher FM station manager Michele Lourens said this week that it felt as if the prayer cover is breaking open doors for the station to be back on the airwaves.
Expressing heartfelt thanks to supporters for their prayer coverage since the station was taken off air by ICASA on January 28, she said that, over the past year — and especially straight after broadcasting was suspended — team members had experienced huge spiritual onslaught.
Since a board meeting last month whereby the previous chairman resigned and the task team that was overseeing the station was dissolved, many developments have taken place. “There is new vision and a sense of Gods purpose,” Lourens said.
The closure of the broadcast component of Kingfisher FM led to a miracle phone call from Trevor le Grange from the South African Community Radio Organisation, who opened doors for the Kingfisher team at ICASA. On February 25, exactly one month after the station stopped it’s on-air broadcast, the team found themselves in a room with senior ICASA staff members in Pretoria. Warmly received, they felt God’s favour and since then have been seeing miracle after miracle, she said.
She said the ICASA personnel were impressed with the 6 000 signatures of support the station delegation brought to the meeting. The signatures, collected in a little over a week from members of the local Christian community expressed support for the station. This made a big impression on those in the room, said Lourens.
The ICASA representatives encouraged them to keep on collecting signatures to strengthen their application for a new licence, which they explained could be awarded by August 1 at the earliest.
She said the meeting went well in terms of building relationships, receiving vital information and the sharing of problems regarding communication. They left feeling excited that there was practical action that could take the station towards getting a new licence in August. Another prospect was the application of temporary licences to tide them over until then and allow for broadcasting while the process for securing the new licence took place.
On February 28, the Kingfisher FM board had their next constructive strategic planning meeting where the Lord provided great wisdom. And on Monday March 2 the station’s presenters held a successful brainstorming meeting to plan upcoming events.
In another recent miracle a prominent businessman contacted the station and offered assistance. In a subsequent meeting, he enabled the removal of a major obstacle in the way of Kingfishers new licence application. For the past 6 years the management of Kingfisher had ensured prompt payment to SARS, the only hiccup being the amounts intercepted and stolen by a former bookkeeper in 2015.
Auditors MAZARS wee called in and a forensic audit ensued. The station’s tax clearance certificate was not awarded by SARS and negotiations were lengthy. Eventually a settlement was reached with SARS and all outstanding debt paid only for SARS to unearth another historic debt dated back to 2012. This historic debt kept the Kingfisher FM tax clearance certificate out of reach.
“In order to apply for a new license we needed that certificate,” said Lourens. In a moment of favour and generosity, the businessman has paid off the full amount owing from 2012 and the tax clearance certificate is imminent.
Lourens said the uplifted Kingfisher team is acting in faith, knowing that much remains to be done in order to apply for the new licence, which is also being applied for by other groups.
“We are planning our programmes as if they are going ahead, making decisions before we have the licence in our hands, which is faith-building. To step out and trust that the finances will come in to pay presenters, rates and all that’s necessary to run the office over this period is exciting as we trust God to act,” she said.
She expressed thanks to all who have signed forms expressing support for Kingfisher FM and urged other Christians in their broadcasting area to keep on signing as their goal is to collect 100 000 signatures. You can download the signature form in English here and in Xhosa here. Please collect signatures and letters of support and drop off the forms at Kingfisher FM at 287 Main Rd, Walmer, PE, or scan forms and email them to email@example.com
The station has also contacted local churches and businesses urging them to email signatures and letters of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporters are also asked to support Kingfisher FM’s crowdfunding campaigns to help pay for the basics of keeping the station going and for the new licence application. Donations can be paid at https://www.backabuddy.co.za/charity/profile/kingfisher-fm
During this period Kingfisher FM is broadcasting online at http://www.kingfisherfm.co.za/