Sounds of silence

Radio stations say JCDC slow off the mark

BY BASIL WALTERS Observer writer

Sunday, July 15, 2012

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THOUGH this year's Festival Song Competition winner, Real Born Jamaican by Abbygaye Dallas, was selected on July 7 before one of the largest grand final crowds in years, not much is known about the song.

In fact, the public is unfamiliar with the 10 entries because they were not promoted as previous years.

Interestingly, third placed Tashina McKenzie, won two other prizes for her song Jamaica Beat Dem Bad. One of them was for Facebook Voters' Choice.

Information on the songs seemed to escape the media. According to Jennifer Lyons, programmes manager at the RJR Communication Group, "We at the RJR record library did not get the Festival songs. Individuals (announcers) said they have personal copies, but the record library didn't get. Because normally, when we get them we would listen to them and we would rotate them for the week and each programme would play some. But we never received the Festival Songs this year."

She said that even though the library eventually received copies of the songs, they did not get them from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), the government agency which organises the Festival Song Competition.

"We didn't even know that there was a Festival Song Competition until maybe a week or two ago we heard that there was one," Lyons said.

During last week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, Fae Ellington, acting chairman of the JCDC, dismissed suggestions that the organisation failed to adequately promote the songs.

"When there were only two radio stations, there was a more structured way to air the Festival songs. Somehow, they (radio stations) lost interest and understanding," Ellington said.

She pointed out that music videos by the finalists were regularly shown on television leading up to the grand final. And, as in previous years, the shows were taken across the island.

Also at the Monday Exchange, acting executive director of the JCDC Delroy Gordon, said the agency gave away 500 complimentary Festival Song CDs to radio stations and taximen to play in their cars as part of its promotional process.

He admitted however, that the date of the final show was brought forward so that the winning song would have a longer lifespan. Previousy, the grand final was a week
or two before Independence celebrations in early August.

Responding to claims that radio stations did not get the songs in time, Gordon told the Sunday Observer, "That is something I will have to investigate with my marketing department".

Denise 'Isis' Miller, announcer at Roots FM, said even though she got the Festival Song CD just last week, she will not take the JCDC to task.

"I think what has happened this year, there have been a lot of distractions with the Jamaica 50 songs," she said. "Also, over the years, we have not heard much of the Festival songs on radio."

Miller says since she received the CDs, she plays at least two songs each day on her Rootsology show.

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