BY SIMONE MORGAN ——–
CORDEL Green, executive director of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ), says that organisation has made recommendations to the Government to limit, where necessary, the number of songs produced by disc jockeys on local radio.
Green told Splash that although he is not certain if the practice is a breach of contract with radio stations, it is a concern for the BCJ which monitors local broadcasting standards.
(L-R) ZJ Liquid, DJ Sunshine and ZJ Bambino
Bottom: Cordel Green
“We are not against a radio or television personality who acts upon their talents,” Green said. “What we are concerned about is the amount of control that they have over what is being played.”
“Too often we see where a disc jock/artiste plays their songs numerous times for the day on their programme, then pass it on to their friend (another disc jockey) to play,” he said.
Green said the BCJ has requested that the Government legislate a Connected Content regulation. This means that if content played on radio or television involves an employee, it has to be monitored by the station manager.
Jamaican radio and television personalities have doubled as artistes and producers for years. In the 1960s, Radio Jamaica disc jockey Allan ‘Teddy’ Magnus recorded the hit song Flying Machine, while his colleague Neville Willoughby did I Love Jamaica and Christmas JA.
Disc jocks have moved into production in recent years. Ron Muchette (Irie FM), Michael ‘ZJ Liquid’ Brissett (Zip FM), Katrina ‘DJ Sunshine’ Irons (Irie FM), and Orett ‘Trevor Offkey’ Hart Jr/ZJ Bambino (Zip FM) have songs that dominate the airwaves.
Some of these singles include Liquid’s Wifie Walk Out, Party Mi Say and the Matrimonial medley that features dancehall acts like Fambo, Lady Saw and Tifa.
Trevor Offkey is best known for his collaboration with Chedda called Fake Jeans, Admit it and Blame It. Irie FM’s DJ Sunshine has also stepped into the recording booth, dropping the track I Doh Care Anymore.
Some critics see this as a conflict of interest.
Green stated that the connected content is related to another provision recommended by the BCJ for dealing with payola.
“The aim is to really put pressure on station managers in order for them to control the output of materials from the station,” he explained. “Also, as it relates to payola the BCJ wants it to be treated as a criminal matter.”
The matter of pay-for-play on local radio has been a sore point for the BCJ for some time. Green said in order to achieve public awareness the BCJ will be staging a public media literacy programme to educate persons about the implications of payola.
“We also want to educate children about this practice by the way of school outreach programmes,” Green said. “Unfortunately, some of our children are led to believe that once a song is repeatedly played on the radio it may be the best quality available and this may not be the case.”
The BCJ’s Media Literacy Project is expected to be part of the school curriculum. To date, it has trained teachers at two teachers’ colleges and has been to several primary and high schools.