Music industry players are begging members of the media, in particularly radio, to share air time evenly between reggae, dancehall and foreign music.
Source: CURTIS CAMPBELL, STAR Writer
They claim reggae is not getting sufficient air time to make a positive impact on the market and that playing reggae music should be seen as a social responsibility.
Jamaica Reggae Industry Association chairman Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, believes reggae slots on local radio stations can preserve musical heritage. However, the chairman says radio is a business.
“I think in an effort to preserve our music and culture, mandatory slots for reggae could pay attention to the pioneers of our music. But then again, radio stations are private entities and government can’t put in a legislation to stop private businesses from operating in the manner in which they want to. Even with the payola that is very tricky, because if a man decides that you have to pay him to play your music, that’s his business policy and nothing can be done about that,” Ibo Cooper said.
Up-and-coming reggae artiste Senita, regards reggae as a national product.
“Yu si reggae now, it’s a Jamaican thing, a wi build it. Suh it should get preference over all other art forms. It’s like yuh cook dinner but yuh feed everybody else in the household and don’t feed yuhself and that does not add up. Other music must play yes, but every station should hold a responsibility as Jamaican fi play real authentic reggae inna dem segment. Never forget the foundation wah day when the storm come, a mi home sweet home lamp mi haffi resort to. We must seek also to educate and not just entertain all the time. We should have a responsibility,” he said.
Reggae artiste Teflon also agreed that radio stations cannot be forced to play reggae music. But he believes reggae music desperately needs as much media attention as it can get.
“I would say we should get a mandatory slot on all radio stations, but wi cyah force people wah fi play. The truth is reggae music needs help because it’s deteriorating cause it is not being played, that is why some of the artistes that are doing music now are not doing real reggae. The industry has to come together and the media have to play a role in getting the music back to where it was,” said Teflon.
“We who make this industry wi a follow too much bout wi waah cross over, but sometime yu might cross over and don’t come back. Wi just need to come together and decide where we really want the music to go, I believe each station should play reggae each day, but at the end of the day it’s just a business,” the Yard A Love singer added.
Another outspoken reggae artiste Chuck Fenda is also pleading with radio stations to strike a balance.
“Di whol’ thing fi balance. If yuh get one hour of dancehall wi should get one hour of reggae, because reggae teach things. It nuh tek one radio station, it takes all of us to just join and decide sey wi a guh fix things and this is how we are going into 2013. Reggae is the root and if you destroy the root the branches will quail,” Chuck Fenda warned.
When contacted, however, DJ Smurf of Irie and Zip FM, said he was in general agreement.
“I think it should be a responsibility to play reggae because Bob Marley done tell dem sey Jamaica is the home for reggae music. The ministry should also intervene to help find a solution, and there should even be ads in the media advertising reggae to the people to create more awareness. The music has always been allowed to stand on its own over the years and the Government has done nothing to strengthen it except tax the artistes,” he said.
According to DJ Smurf, some discjocks may favour playing dancehall music more because, “some DJs only play for hype and they will opt to play more dancehall because it’s easier to get hype from dancehall.”
DJ Smurf also went on to say that he would “agree with having mandatory slots for reggae music, but it all comes down to business and if the radio station owners are willing to take that stance. People have so many choices to get their entertainment from so they are in a tight spot because they don’t want listenership to fall. Some advertisers prefer to advertise in certain hype slots so that will also influence the type of music played by the stations.”