Errol Hickey

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia

Errol Thomas Hickey (11 June 1944 — 26 February 2017) was a businessman, broadcaster, journalist and founder of Radio Phoenix, Zambia's first commercial private radio station, where he served as its Chairman and Director since 1996. He helped pioneer commercial broadcasting in Zambia during the aftermath of Zambia’s return to multiparty democracy when the media market was also slowly being liberalised.

Errol Hickey
Errol Hickey.jpg
Hickey in 2015 on the Extraordinary Zambia Project. Photo by Gareth Bentley
Errol Thomas Hickey

(1944-06-11)June 11, 1944
Salisbury (Zimbabwe)
DiedFebruary 26, 2017(2017-02-26) (aged 72)
Occupationbusinessman, broadcaster, journalist
Known forFounder of Radio Phoenix

Early life

Hickey was born on 11 June 1944 in Salisbury, in pre-independent Zimbabwe, but came to Zambia where he lived for over 50 years.


He started his carer as a photo journalist. Most of the iconic early images of an independent Zambia and first President Kenneth Kaunda are attributed to Hickey.[1] He worked for the Times of Zambia as a photographer before branching off into private business and established Hickey Studios.[2]

In 1996 he opened Radio Phoenix. He was among the first individuals to open a private station and pioneered brave private radio station programming with the station's flagship program: Let the People Talk becoming one of the most popular political and phone-in programmes on air for many years. The arrival of Radio Phoenix paved the way for the emergence of other private, commercial and community stations.[1]

About two years before his death, Hickey gave up control of Radio Phoenix as his health started failing and some private investors from Botswana bought shares in the radio station.[3]


Hickey died on 26 February in Lusaka at the age of 72 after a long battle with cancer.[4] A few years before his death, he lost his wife Ursula to cancer. He is survived by a daughter Joana.[3]


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  1. 1.0 1.1 Radio phoenix Founder, Errol Hickey dies, The Independent Observer, 26 February 2017
  2. Radio Phoenix Founder Erroll Hickey Dies, Zambia Reports, 26 February 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 Errol Hickey dies, Lusaka Times, 26 February 2017
  4. Media guru Errol Hickey dies, Zambian Eye, 26 February 2017