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1941 __ Radio station in Lusaka
Comment : It was not until World War II that Northern Rhodesia acquired a radio service. In 1941 the Government's Information Department installed a 300 watt transmitter in Lusaka, the capital. This station was built for the purpose of disseminating war related information. From the outset, the Lusaka station addressed programs to Africans in their own languages (seven major languages of Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi, Tonga, Kaounde, Lunda and Luvale), becoming the pioneer in the field of local vernacular broadcasting. In 1945 Harry Franklin, Lusaka's far sighted information officer, proposed that Radio Lusaka concentrate on developing programming for Africans. Franklin tried for three years in the late 1940s to persuade British manufacturers that a potential mass market existed among Africans for a very simple inexpensive battery operated short wave receiver. One must bear in mind that this was before the days of transistors. He finally persuaded a battery company to invest in the research and development of the idea. One of the early models was mounted experimentally in a 9-inch diameter aluminum housing originally intended as a saucepan. Thus was born in 1949 the famous "Saucepan Special", a 4-tube tropicalized short wave receiver, which succeeded even beyond Franklin's expectations. It cost five pounds Sterling, and the battery, which lasted 300 hours, an additional one pound five shillings. Within the first three months 1,500 of the Saucepan Specials had been sold, and in the next few years, 50,000 sets were imported. Franklin had hopes of capitalizing on a world market for the sets, but within a few years the transistor radio came into mass production and so turned his brainchild into a mere historical curiosity. (Colin Miller & Barry Mishkind)
Urls : http://www.oldradio.com/archives/international/zamb.htm (last visited )

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