ZiFM Stereo is the first privately-owned radio station in Zimbabwe. It is owned by Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front politician, Supa Mandiwanzira through his company African Business Communications (AB Communications). The company was awarded a free-to-air broadcasting license in November 2011 and started broadcasting on 15 August 2012, effectively ending the 32-year dominance and monopoly of airwaves by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). The station also became the first in Zimbabwe to stream online.
Supa Mandiwanzira’s company, AB Communications, was one of several companies that applied to the Broadcasting Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) for a broadcasting license in Zimbabwe. Only four companies were shortlisted by BAZ: Zimbabwe Newspapers (a government-owned media company which later launched Star FM), Hot Media, and Vox Media. Announcing AB Communications and Zimbabwe Newspapers winners after an adjudication process, BAZ chairperson, Tafataona Mahoso said that AB Communications scored 99 out of 106 points, Zimpapers 93 points, Hot Media 80 points and Vox Media 70 points.
Mandiwanzira at the time of being awarded the license said they’d launch the station within 6 months. In the seventh month (June 2012) however, ZiFM announced it had acquired state-of-the-art transmission and studio equipment from Italian company, DB Elettronica Telecomunicazioni. The deal was sealed at a National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. ZiFM Stereo only started broadcasting on 15 August 2012. Star FM started broadcasting on 25 June 2012.