Radio personality Ronald Clarke wants the competition to dedicate one of its three radio stations to all-local programming, and believes Prime Minister Freundel Stuart can make it happen in a hurry.
Clarke, who works for the private media entity Starcom Network, and performs on stage as calypsonian De Announcer, said it was unacceptable that the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) did not make Barbadian culture the sole focus of one of its stations.
“The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation as the taxpayer-funded media outlet has three radio stations. One of them has to be . . . a 100 per cent Barbadian radio station and at least 50 per cent content Barbadian,” insisted Clarke, who was a panellist at a town hall meeting at the Steel Shed in Queen’s Park on the impact of culture on violence.
The meeting, organized by the Department of Justice of the Attorney General’s Office, was the last of three such gatherings across Barbados designed to get feedback from citizens on what they see as the reasons for escalating crime and violence.
During the discussion some participants suggested that many songs glorifying violence were either foreign in origin or an imported influence on the local music culture.
Noting a recent revelation that CBC was in debt to the tune of over $100 million, Clarke said “if we [are] going to be in debt, we got to be in debt for our people, for their talent and for their opportunities . . . . It’s just a matter of people not having the [will] to do it”.
Without naming Stuart, who has responsibility for information, the radio announcer added: “It starts at the top. Who is the Minister of Information, and who is responsible for getting it done? That can happen before the elections. It should.”
Clarke defended his own entity, stating that with the exception of sponsored broadcasts, Voice of Barbados, which is part of the Starcom Network, plays only Barbadian music during the month of November, when Barbados celebrates its independence.
Nonetheless, he was of the view that his radio station could also go 100 per cent Bajan and “not suffer”.
“The difference with Voice of Barbados and CBC is that Voice of Barbados is a commercial entity, it’s a publicly listed company. It has a shareholder responsibility. [However], in my opinion, if Voice of Barbados decided to go 100 per cent Bajan every day, 365 days a year, we would not suffer,” Clarke said.