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UCC Cracks Down on 39 Radio Stations :: Uganda Radionetwork

UCC Cracks Down on 39 Radio Stations

Under the UCC Act, radio stations pay between one million Shillings and three million Shillings depending on their location.
At least 39 FM radio stations across Uganda face sanctions from the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission-UCC, for failing to pay operational charges. UCC has published the list of the non-compliant radio stations which it says “have neither renewed their annual broadcasting licenses nor paid the requisite license and spectrum fees in contravention of the UCC Act.


The regulator advises the public not to deal with the radio stations because “they are currently operating illegally”, adding that the public should “not engage any of these radio stations in broadcasting services”. The statement says enforcement action against the defaulters has commenced. 

The Commission has also ordered the affected radio stations to immediately apply for renewal of their broadcasting licenses and pay all dues owed to the Commission with immediate effect. Fred Otunnu, the acting Director of Broadcasting, says the actions fall within the mandate of the Commission. 

Under the UCC Act, radio stations pay between one million Shillings and three million Shillings depending on their location. The farther the radio station is from Kampala the lower the amount of money it pays in annual broadcasting fees. In addition, the radio stations pay, annually, for spectrum allocation as well as transmission power.


Television stations, on the other hand, pay five million Shillings in annual license fees. They also pay for spectrum allocation and transmission power. In a 2015 interview with Otunnu, he disclosed that starting this year the rates are to go up to match inflation and other industry demands.



For example, he revealed the charge for new application for a radio station will increase from the current five million Shillings to 15 million Shillings. Kin Karisa, the Chairman of National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), told Uganda Radio Network that the broadcasting industry is struggling with just about two dozen radio and television stations actually making money.


Karisa says few businesses and organisations are advertising and they tend to gravitate around particular media houses, moreover, their payments also delay. He says the majority of radio stations, especially rural ones, are in dire straits.

According to Karisa, the industry, especially the radio sub-sector, is saturated with most of them serving selfish interests of the owners, especially politicians and businesses.

Asked whether other media, especially social media and online news platforms are eating into the advertising industry, Karisa says not yet because even they are still struggling. He believes the economy can only hold so much and therefore cannot cater for all broadcasters. 

Karisa says with digital migration, many players have stormed the television sub-sector and it is only a matter of time before what is troubling their radio counterparts starts digging in.

The affected radio and TV stations are:

Apex Promotion Radio – Bugiri

Choice FM – Gulu

Challenge FM – Pallisa

Fire FM – Mubende

Gold FM – Fort Portal

Hunter FM – Ishaka-Bushenyi

Kampala FM – Kampala

Kapchorwa Trinity Radio – Kapchorwa

KBS FM – Kamuli

Kinkizi FM – Kinkizi

Kyenjojo FM – Kyenjojo

Kyenjojo D FM – Kyenjojo

Life Radio – Mbarara/Fort Portal

Life FM – Kampala

Messiah FM – Kasese

Nenah FM – Moroto

Prime FM Ebenezer – Mbale

Radio Bilal – Kampala

Radio Hoima – Hoima

Radio Lira – Lira

Radio Maria – Kampala, Masaka, Moroto, Kabale, Gulu and Mbarara

Radio Nyabushozi – Mbarara

Radio Palwak – Pader

Rhino FM – Lira

Sauti FM – Jinja

Theo FM – Bushenyi

Victoria FM – Jinja

Voice of Toro – Mubende, Fort Portal and Mbarara

Western Broadcasting service – Mbarara

West Nile FM – Nebbi

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