Mon | Jun 14, 2021

Local radio stations shun Jamaican music

Published:Friday | August 14, 2015 | 6:05 PM


The other day I was visiting a resort in Jamaica. On the way to the airport on the hotel shuttle, an American couple requested to listen to reggae music. The driver replied, "All of the stations play the same thing now."

He had no idea which radio station actually played local music. It was at that time I shouted out a station I knew always played local music. The American tourists looked puzzled, but they got their reggae music.

However, the driver's statement is telling about the situation of Jamaican radio at the moment. It is a trend I have noticed growing like fungus over the last few years. There are stations I used to listen to that I now rarely turn to because the percentage of Jamaican music has dropped from about 50 per cent to 10 per cent.

Almost every time I turn to these stations during business hours, they are playing various types of American music. It seems some of their DJs play local music begrudgingly, "You know we HAVE TO play some local music for you now ... ."

So, while people are trying to sniff out payola in the business, I am beginning to wonder if there is a more sinister, international payola at work here. After 53 years of Independence, are international forces changing Jamaican taste, or are the words of Marcus Garvey still ringing true? "Jamaicans ... worship too much that which comes from abroad ... . Jamaicans want to have more confidence in self."

Whatever the case may be, foreigners don't come to Jamaica to find that we have become 'farrin'.