The idea of starting Radio Icengelo was a dream that the late Bishop Dennis De Jong had in the 1970’s.
The starting of the radio station sprung out of a concept that people in Zambia have a strong sense of community. People talk and relate with each other on the street, at eating and drinking places, at the bus stop, at home and in the community.
Evangelization is communication of the ‘Good News of Jesus’ and Bishop De Jong wanted everyone to hear it especially in Ndola Diocese.
His idea was to broadcast in English and vernacular.
The late bishop realized that out of the total number of parishes in the dioceses a number of them did not have residential priests and parishoners received very little Catholic and human education.
So the idea of setting up a radio station was to reach such parishoners regularly and teach and educate them through radio programmes.
This became a reality in September of 1995 when Radio Icengelo began test transmission after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting granted the Ndola Catholic Diocese, a licence to operate a radio station under the name ‘Radio Icengelo’ or Radio Light.
The initial frequency was 89.1 MHZ in frequency modulation (FM).
The radio station was set up in an existing diocesan building in Riverside, Kitwe.
In the initial stages of setting up the radio station, a talented, highly trained and dedicated team was involved.
Namely the Director and Production Manager at the time Mr Elpidius Mpolokoso who had a degree in Education, long experience as a teacher, head teacher, Teacher Training College Deputy Principal Administrator and religious broadcasting in Radio. He also obtained a postgraduate diploma in communications at SVD Centre, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland.
He was assisted by a local Franciscan Sister, Sister Mary Lewa who had a Diploma in Communications obtained from Leeds and Hatchend in Britain and had worked for many years as Diocesan Communications Secretary.
At that the time also, the Studio Manager was Mr Sebastian Mtonga who had a background of having trained in Zimbabwe, Malawi and worked for the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and had a Diploma in Mass Communication (Technical) from Cairo, Egypt.
The Assistant Studio Manager and Programme Announcer was Mrs Margaret Mpolokoso who was a teacher by profession and had a Diploma in Communications obtained from SVD Centre, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland.
The Technical as well as Spiritual Advisor was a Franciscan Missionary, Fr Miha Drevensek, who was a talented musician, excellent preacher and had experience in setting up two radio stations in Slovenia.
The radio station also engaged a number of volunteers, support groups in parishes, schools, convents, novitiates and seminaries.
Radio groups were also formed to record songs, devotional and church services, interviews, women’s programmes, health and development education, family life programmes and drama.