A threat by some entertainers to boycott radio stations that fail to play at least 50 per cent local music is gaining momentum, with some supporting the call and even calling for a 100 per cent local music station.
Veteran entertainer Richard Stoute is encouraging the group of entertainers in the Fight For Fair Play: F3P initiative, launched on Facebook last week by soca artiste David D2 Davis, to stay committed to the cause.
“I think that entertainers here need to look after themselves, get serious and investigate what is being done to their work and what they can do to make sure they can get paid for what they did. The entertainers are an important aspect of our lives. We must have a vital entertainment industry,” he said.
Saying that Bajans were suffering from “foreigngitis”, Stoute insisted that home drums should beat first.
“If you have an entertainment industry with so many entertainers in Barbados, obviously they are going to want their music played,” he said.
Lobbying for a 100 per cent local music station to be created, Stoute said it was not only possible but desireable.
“There is no reason why they can’t play 100 per cent local music. You’re not going to go Jamaica and hear spouge, you’re not even going to hear ten Bajan songs, but you hear thousands of Jamaican songs in Barbados . . . We need to stop giving precedence to people from all over the world.”
Ronald Clarke, programme manager at Starcom Network, agreed there is room for a station dedicated to local music.
“Without a doubt it can happen . . . In my opinion, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation should have a 100 per cent Bajan station. One of those outlets should be dedicated to 100 per cent Bajan music,” he said. “For a Government entity to have the position it currently has, and not have a 100 per cent Bajan station, is unfortunate.”
Musician and producer at Quantum Studios, Randy Eastmond, was also in support of the cause.
“I think it is right that they ask for 50 per cent local music to be played because there is so much music being produced in Barbados and so much not being heard. We understand that the radio has their format and they set their programming to suit what target audience they have. However I believe that we deserve the right to be heard, and if it requires having a 100 per cent Bajan station then that is the way we need to go. If not, the legislation needs to be shifted to accommodate more local music being played . . . .”
“Local music doesn’t only refer to Crop Over time where we play 100 per cent soca at that time. What happens for the rest of the year? There are pop artistes, there are reggae artistes and country artistes here in Barbados who are recording original music but they are not being heard. Some sort of facility has to be provided for the music to be heard, so I am definitely in agreement of the cause,” Eastmond said.
Artist Maureen Tracey from Ottawa, Canada also reached out to Bajan Vibes by email, expressing the view that the Fight For Fair Play: F3P proposal could work.
She said it was successful in Canada 50 years ago.
“The head of the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission), Mr Pierre Juneau, after whom the Canadian Music Awards are named, had a law passed in Canada that required a majority of Canadian content in music broadcast across Canada. Did it work? Has anyone ever heard of all the Canadian music greats in every genre who lead the world in music? Jazz, Diane Krall; country, Shania Twain; pop, Celine Dion; rock, Brian Adams, Arcade Fire; and hiphop, Drake, and these are just the old-timers. There’s a whole new breed on the way up! It works,” she said.
However, programme manager at Y103 FM Gaynelle Marshall warned the entertainers to think very carefully about their position.
“If the entertainers feel strongly about it and their goal is to get more recognition, which anyone could understand, I would encourage them to think very carefully about the stance that they are looking to take because it could be one that would be deemed irreversible. What cards do they hold? Because radio will always survive. It will not work in their favour,” she cautioned.
The Fight For Fair Play: F3P Facebook page now has 213 members who have regular discussions about the cause and why it should be supported.