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Pioneering Internet Radio in Lesotho

Nov. 19, 2020 4 min read

4 min read

Kabelo Mollo is one of the investors in Lesotho’s first ever internet broadcasting radio station, Sky Alpha Radio. Not only is Mr Mollo (KM) an investor, but he is also the Station Manager and talk show host.

Sky Alpha Radio has gone where no broadcaster in Lesotho has ever gone before and it joins several other digital broadcasting pioneers in Africa who are set to ring in the democratization of knowledge and the airwaves throughout the continent. Since its inception over a year ago, Sky Alpha, which broadcasts across the globe, has amassed over 165 000 listeners in 165 countries.

Mr. Mollo considers himself a citizen of the world, having been born in Denmark to Basotho parents and grew up in South Africa. He is a serial entrepreneur with interests in various businesses including craft brewing, cannabis farming, and digital media. His daily reminder to himself is that “there’s nothing to do, but to do it...” In this interview, Mr. Mollo discusses issues on pioneering internet radio in Lesotho with Advocate Mothepa Ndumo (MN).

MN: Internet broadcasting is still very much in its infancy in Lesotho, why did you decide to invest in a pioneering start-up like Sky Alpha Radio?

KM: The digital realm is where the world seems to be headed. The digital economy has caught alight everywhere in the world, and while Lesotho may lag behind a bit, we will certainly be heading that way too, so it made sense to me to be an early adapter.

I also wanted to be the change I have wanted to see. I have always yearned for a particular type of content on the radio in Lesotho and thought this might be the opportunity for me to try and deliver it myself. It was a no-brainer investing in the concept because it is my firm view that the growth opportunity for an entity like ours is exponential.

MN: You mentioned some very exciting expansion plans for Sky Alpha recently, would you care to elaborate on those plans and the rationale behind them?

KM: Sky Alpha HD is on the right growth path. With any luck, it will continue that way, and people will carry on engaging with what we are doing. We feel like the media space in Southern Africa is ripe for an integrated multimedia content platform.

Sky Alpha TV is already upon us and we are going to polish that side of the business till it is world-class. We are working on providing a blog space for people across the globe to contribute as well, but we would like to encourage Basotho writers especially.

We would really like to see the creative industry booming and providing not just livings, but comfortable livings, for the players in the space. I call it the creative economy, and I think it is the next big growth area. 

Our interest is not only altruistic though, but we also feel there could be an economic benefit for our business. Who knows, perhaps one day will be counted amongst the biggest media platforms in Africa and the world? That is our ultimate goal, but in the medium and short term, we want to transition into a full-service multimedia corporation.


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MN: What role does internet broadcasting play in Lesotho’s economic growth and what should be done, from a policy formulation perspective, to strengthen the sector?

KM: In my view it is huge! It is the opportunity so many kids have been waiting for. The chance to eke out a living without any real formal training with very little capital investment, whether it is through creating visual content, audio, or print through blogs/vlogs and podcasts internet broadcasting is really the gift that keeps on giving.

In a country fraught with unemployment and inequality internet broadcasting is potentially the great equalizer.

I do not want to wade into the debate surrounding the regulator’s potential new laws, but I think we should all view the internet, and internet broadcasting, as an opportunity for growth.

From a policy formulation perspective, we need to look at international best practice and augment the laws for our reality, and by that, I don’t mean curtailing free speech because “we are a God-fearing country” or because “we respect adults” no, I think politicians need not be so precious, I just mean in terms of our infrastructure and dynamics. Let us have laws that govern more advanced societies governors too.

MN: If you were to give a Masterclass to creatives in Lesotho, what theme would you choose and why?

KM: My theme would be around creating value. What value does your creative endeavor add to the discourse? Is this a passion project for you?

An exercise in catharsis? Or is this a business to you? Do you intend on feeding yourself and those closest to you with this talent you possess?

In my view both are important, and both are significant.

I just think there needs to be some rationale for both. I am sure I am nowhere near being qualified enough to teach anybody about the creative economy, but I would love to be a bridge between creatives and suits in the Kingdom, to try to have both sides see the importance of the other.

I really feel there is an opportunity for the creative sector to propel the country forward. Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, the director of This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection, is making waves with his film being in the running for a possible Oscar nomination, and I guarantee there are scores more like him here and in the diaspora.

That is a significant Lesotho first and that tells you that the creative sector must be taken seriously in terms of the potential role it has to play in the growth of our economy.

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