Deejay’s climb up ZIP FM tower sparks radio play debate
BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON AND RICHARD JOHNSON Observer staff reporters
POPULAR dancehall figure Emcee Nuffy is urging radio disc jocks to give up-and-coming artistes a break.
Nuffy, whose given name is Andrew Nelson, made the suggestion against the background of this week's stunt by deejay I Kon D Link, who climbed up ZIP FM's tower in St Andrew and threatened to jump if his songs were not played.
"They claim that you should submit your songs to the library... I did that. I have given it to other jocks and still nothing," said Nuffy, who has also tried his hand at producing.
"As someone in the music business, I feel that kind of frustration. Unless you have money nothing gets played. Me haffi tek a stance against it," he said.
The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, the regulatory body for the electronic media, recently recommended that payola be made a criminal act with harsh penalties for offenders.
Payola is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement for the broadcast of recordings on music radio.
"They can't just look at the artistes that can spend a money and those on top, or else it will always be this way. It's stressful," he said.
"I'm not bashing disc jocks, but they need to know that when they play a struggling artiste's song, someone may like it and they could get to do a dub plate or jingle," he continued.
Emcee Nuffy said I Kon D Link acted out of frustration, which many persons like himself can relate to.
"The greatest thing is that he didn't jump," he said.
FAME FM's Colin Hines said resorting to disruptive behaviour isn't the solution. He said up-and-coming artistes must be armed with what he termed the "basic elements".
"The basic elements to a great song are lyrics -- which must be funny, sensible or smart. A catchy melody and an infectious beat along with God-given vocal talents and quality production go a far way in getting music on air," said Hines.
The radio jock further noted that if all radio stations are circumventing the work of an artiste, then chances are one or a few of these required elements were missing.
"There a lot of honest and sensible disc jocks around who are drawn to great music like a moth to a flame, so if it's not happening for you, then something is wrong," he said.
The point of having great music to start with was echoed by artiste Nadine Sutherland.
She noted that there are many acts who, once heard for the first time, you knew they were something special.
"I remember hearing Chronixx for the first time and was blown away by his obvious talent. Etana, too... when I first heard her at a Rebel Salute launch, I just knew there was a special quality to her material," Sutherland said.
"You must have good material, it's a no-brainer. If you have good material radio stations will play. You must be responsible and professional. Packaging has to be right, your CD has to be labelled correctly -- no bad handwriting with a [marker] -- it is an indicator of who you are. There is no room for mediocrity when you are trying to get out there," she said.