Time To Go 95% LOCAL Music!

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

A few weeks ago while listening to the highly entertaining and informative Fireworks Show on VOB radio, kudos to Dennis Johnson and Carol Roberts (in the PM), Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley called the program.  During his contribution he voiced his displeasure at the low level of local music being played by local radio stations. BU is onside with the minister, we definitely need to make some ‘earth moving’ decisions about how we leverage the power of the airwaves to kickstart a revolution in local music which continues to endure labour pains.

It boggles the mind why a minister of government in 2012 should have to plead for Disc Jocks et al to play more local music for several reasons. The two reasons at the top of the BU pile:

It is approaching near 40 years since Crop Over was restarted and synonymous with the festival is the making of music, usually calypso. Through the years local entertainers have produced some wonderful music which to this day continues to thrill the locals and others abroad. BU conservatively estimate if we have produced 250 songs in the near 40 year period there is a calypso/soca repository of songs of about 9000+. Perhaps Dennis Johnson can tell us if this is not sufficient music to adequately fill  the airwaves should we decide to make the push to GO 95% LOCAL. Imagine our horror to listen to the government owned station pushing hip hop two weeks ago by none other than Admiral who should know better!

Does any one remember a few years ago we had local entertainers in great demand in the land of calypso? It was so noticeable it was dubbed the ‘Bajan Invasion’. Of late we get a few acts invited to the land of the Humming Bird and the music is hardly played on radio. This is especially so during Carnival. Interesting to read about Socafest scheduled for Barbados during the climax of Crop Over 2012 with Baron and David Rudder invited. Does any believe Bajan acts and music dropped of the radar by accident in T&T? Does anyone believe Bajan music would ever get priority play on Jamaican radio? Right!

Why is it Trinidad, Jamaica and many of the other islands see the need to defend indigenous stuff. Barbadians on the other hand are always willing to compromise this position. All it should take is for the Minister to facilitate a meeting between Starcom, CBC who represent the significant marketshare and agree to an MOU to GO LOCAL 95% of the time.  By playing more local music it should fuel local demand, create more awareness and taste for local music at home and abroad; local radio has an Internet presence.

By turning up the dial for local music this is a necessary component to interact with government’s thrust to rollout the Cultural Industries Bill (CIB). Despite the dithering and the politics so far BU remains hopeful that a relevant CIB will be proclaimed in our lifetime..

Come on people, we can do this if stakeholders understand there is the urgency of now. The building out of new industries will threaten the power structures of the establishment, the only way to force a seat at the table is to to rally as one. Be united.

It is time to GO LOCAL!


























































What is this nonsense comparing countries that export commodities to Barbados? Let us pick Guyana for example. Do you know Guyana’s debt





































































































































































0 thoughts on “Time To Go 95% LOCAL Music!

  1. Have we considered that cost might be a factor. Do the radio stations have to play royalty each time a sound is played and does it cost more in royalties for local sound as apposed to over and aways songs, among other things? Just thinking out loud.

  2. the only problem is this raga raga stuff and this soya music is garbage
    in my opinion and gives me and probably many with any kind of ear for musical
    taste a big headache.
    the majority seem to like it though but we that dislike it will be out of luck i guess and have to record our own and listen to our own civilized music.
    apparent i been out the jungle too long for this.

    • @to the point

      What ever the problem it can be resolved with collaboration between stakeholders. Have you considered the prize if the market for local artistes is expanded say by 30/40%?

    • @Onions

      Don’t trivialize the conversation with red herring. She fits nicely in the 5%. We have been bred to value foreign most.

  3. David
    You kiddin right……I love Celine Dion….ya mean is only CD’s fa me?
    So my radio go be off.. What about the radio stations bread n butter if people keep theirs off too ?

  4. @ David | July 16, 2012 at 6:58 AM |

    David, aren’t being rather overly optimistic here?
    Why not be a more realistic and expect a gradual transition? Let us first start with the 80:20 ratio “rule”. And then with the impact of the CIB some time in the future this ratio can be adjusted-based on market forces- more in favour of the local music industry.
    Just tempering your enthusiasm with a dose of reality (LOL!!)

  5. @Miller

    Only in Barbados we have to manage a transition to appreciate our own. You know why? Our taste has been conditioned by empty headed DJs who you would not allow to court your sons and daughters. In Trinidad and Jamaica this conversation is a non starter.

  6. While I agree with the sentiment, it is the excution that fails. Human nature is such that if you try to jam change down their throat, they will rebel, every time. See the demise of CBC TV audience level since they forced the local content on viewers. not to mention that the local TV industry was not ready for this move creatively.
    Another reason why this excution won’t work is that, at this time, Barbados music is too one dimentential, great for a specifcly focused season but not ideal of every second of every day! Oh I admit we have artist doing other stlyes but certainly not enough for 95% local. And no matter how much I love Rihanna, listening to her music, no matter how great it is, all the time would become monotonous.
    My last reason for the error of this excution is that this is a myopic world view, as our planet is becoming more global in nature, limiting choice in anyway is self defeating. This excution, taken to its logical conclusion, will deny our artist the exposure to new creative material that in itself will develope our local talent.

  7. Not a subject that I know a lot about, but Antonio Rodriguez | July 16, 2012 at 9:59 AM makes sense to me.

  8. @Antonio

    Barbadians are good at finding excuses. What if T&T anticipated they would be tired of soca? What about Jamaica and reggae? We have to become more urgent in pushing local. It will not happen unless we try things. If it doesn’t work as originally envisage we can make changes as necessary. As it stands now we are not doing one damn thing.

  9. I agree we must do something, and there is a simple solution but the results will take longer to achieve…longer than the overnight solution that most perople seem to want.

  10. Went to Trinidad Carnival this year and Gabby, Ruppy, Lil Rick and Iley are still kicking dust as Classics. Shite, the Republic Bank steel band yesterday dropped some of these classics for the crowd and would drop exactly the same tunes had they been performing in front of Trinidadian audiences.

    Montana won every competition under the sun this year because the quality of music from the rest was so blasted poor that they had to fill a lot of the offering on the road with stuff from the region. Scouts from Trinidad came to Barbados last year and said that the offering here too was shite. Sorry, but if there is to be a market for stuff there needs to be a quality element involved with whats on display.

    And yes, about Starcom, the people that refused to play any local current stuff at Crop Over about six years ago because the artistes were seeking Copyright compensation. Now these people are asking the same artistes to volunteer their videos to contribute to the establishing of their online streaming site, for free. The Artistes hands are being forced by ruthless exploitative people whose only contribution to any form of national development is via self serving lip service.

  11. @Antonio

    This is why we need a more urgent conversation to begin. We can argue whether 95% or 60% but this is why we need to keep sight of the prize. Starting the collaboration to fuel the movement must begin. We have been talking for too long. A good start will be for the many interest groups to come together and hammer a common position.

  12. David

    Let’s face it, every year there is only a handful of good music coming out of Crop Over, the rest is plain garbage. I love calypso, by that I mean good calypso. You are pretending that if it is produce in Barbados it has to be good. I think it is time we call a spade exactly what it is – a spade. I am no musician but I know what I like and I find it hard to like some of the noise coming out of Crop Over. I can’t imagine having to endure 95% of this stuff, much of which can only be consumed in the Barbados market.

    Local music will not take off until we reject the mediocrity that is produced each day. When little children come home from kindergarten with piece of paper with scrawls all over it, we encourage them by saying that their art work is pretty, but these calypsonians are far from kindergarten and should be told the truth.

    • @Caswell

      You can only like what you have heard.

      Do you know how many songs are not played?

      Do you understand how songs make the rotation in Barbados?

    • @Hants

      Commenting subject to correction but believe the split is suppose to be 60:40 in favour of local.

  13. @ David.. This piece resonates with me because I actually wrote a similar one about three weeks ago,but chose not to submit it,for fear of people thinking that I was trying to hog the site.It all started one night when my job took me from Saint James New York to Nashua New Hampshire,a distance of app.235 miles.The duration of this trip is four and a half hours,and for its entirety I listened to the flag ship station of the Government owned entity called the CBC.Let me say that I made that choice for heathens such as myself no longer tune in to VOB at night.For those four and one half hours not one calypso,on a day that it was announced on Fireworks that so far for the season there were 250 new calypsos.Thats where the minister needs to start.

  14. Do we have enough local music to last 365 days, without repeats and boredom ? Time we get real in here…….

    • @Onions

      Have you ever been apprised of the songs rotated at a radio station, repetition, repetition.

      The other point you are missing is that by enabling the environment musicians will be encouraged to produce, people will be encouraged to listen, more exposure for local talent etc.

      It is the domino effect Onions. You need to remove yourself from the comfort zone i.e in a box.


    You again …? You like you trying to hog the show. HA HA HA … You have exposed VOB for what it is worth. All talk and no show, particularly if there is a cost element involved …! Could you really imagine a company like this owning a TV station? Granted CBC is the pits, no tallent, but VOB will import every shite, every shite, including the Shouth bound portion of North bound cows (ha ha ha .. I luvs that phrase). I be no big fan of Tony Marshall but I will admire him for one thing in recent times and that is that he stood up to the VOB seniors and demanded a remuneration that better reflects his popularity on the airwaves. That is what truly talented people do. He was dropped from hero to zero in seconds. A similar thing happened to Lil’ Rick … man they tried to drag his name through the mud.

  16. I hesitated; then decided to take you up on the challenge, David.
    There is enough local muisc – all genres – to fill 24 hours, over 365 days. There are, however, a few things we need to decide:
    1. What is “local” music? Does Rihanna – born in Barbados, but recording and producing music overseas – qualify as “local”? [Her royalties are sent overseas to the producers and writers of her music]
    2. If what we want to do – by going 95% local – is to increase the royalties that remain in Barbados, then we need to get all local artistes to register with COSCAP [many are not so registered], and to have proper labelling of material sent to radio stations [many cd’s – especially those rushed for crop Over – are not].
    3. What – if anything – will be the penalty for non-compliance? If the penalty is small [$500.00 or even $1,000.00], so people will pay the penalty and do whatever they feel like [this happens in some places where there is a quota].
    4. Does the 95% relate to music alone? Or will it include radio dramas or spoken-word recordings?

    There are some Barbadians who do not recognise local talent who produce music other than kaiso/soca. In Gospel, for example; or even jazz or rock.
    Another challenge – although not a very difficult one – is the sourcing of music produced in the pre-1980’s that may have been on 45 rpm records, cassettes or reel-to-reel tapes. I add this because there are radio stations that operate today without turn-tables, cassette players and even cd players [because of the current use of computers]. If those stations did not transfer such songs to their computer files, and are unable to source that material – in a quality suitable for broadcast on today’s high-quality stereos – they will find themselves at a disadvantage, and decalre that they are unable to fulfill the 95% quota.

    Just my 2 cents.

  17. No problem David.

    And , if I may add this as well, some of the newer artistes seem to prefer to use the internet to promote their muisc. This means that the quality of production – although suitable for on-line play – may be of a lesser quality than a made-for-radio production, and that difference will be heard when played alongside each other.

  18. There is enough local music to satisfy the rotation of any station in Barbados.Problem is will it satisfy the local audience?We were always lovers of anything foreign.I still remember that afternoon in Queen’s Park when as a youth I listened to hard back bajan men trying to convince others that Bernard Julien was better than Garry sobers.To this day that troubles me,but that’s who we are.

  19. Look you can have a local station with 100% Bajan music for all I care. But there still must be choice. Sorry but given the choice between Gabby and Earth Wind and Fire, or Jackie Opel and Stevie Wonder or Ambrosia or Elton or Johnnie Mathis lemme tell you I might shame alotta true blue Bajans ’bout hey

  20. David

    Why you always come across as brown nosing these celebrities when they happen to pass through …? Why you don’ try brown nosing me fah a change … Ha ha ha .. listen don’ tek me serious yah …!

  21. @David

    I am saying to you that cost would have to be taken into the equation. I am all for supporting local and i will demonstrate it as well. quite recently i visited one of the traditional shops and saw some of my schoolmates from many moons ago, i offered to buy them a round of banks, one was insistent hat a fx one be bought, guess what i did , everybody got banks and the other person ended up with no beer. Thats my reaction to Trindad giving our Banks products so much trouble. I am looking to take my savings from the Trinidad bank, but having difficulty in where to place it. What a shame Owen got rid of our national bank, an institution that was profitable.

  22. We determine what is local music and we play local music
    Radio stations people are unpatriotic and always look for excuses
    Radio Station people are anti Barbadian
    They understand Tokenism and play music at Crop Over like you take medicine–endure it and rejoice when its over

    Radio STATIONS in Barbados ?
    For years I have recommended one thing for them: it would make Guy Fawkes very happy.

    Radio Stations on- Air people promote themselves and their music
    Who aint producing and recording local music putting on shows and only playing the music they and their friends produced and record or the music they play at shows
    Larry Mayers
    Admiral Nelson
    Versee-Wild–(He is the worse)
    Bubbles and the rest of them
    Frigging UNDESIRABLES !

    Peter Coppin is the only one who has any credibility as a Producer and a Radio Jock.

    Payola is a Big thing Now
    You have fe pay if yuh want play

    Tell Dennis Johnson to talk about that

  23. @Professor:
    I have worked in radio since December 1994. I have heard the accusations of payola ever since then. I have never been paid; approached; or offered any payment or inducement in all those years. I have asked [when I was a Programme Director] to be provided with any proof or evidence to convict those so accused; and no one came forward.

    So, what would you like me to “talk ’bout” Prof?

  24. Funny how we want to push Bajan music on the people. How come that across the length and breadth of Barbados at the many Karaoke sessions the same Bajan people prefer to sing 99.9% non- Bajan songs?.

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