Happenings On The Edge

NYC Reggae Forum Talks Radio

Left to right: Ed Robinson, Mikey Sterling, DJ Roy, Spreadlove Bobby, Avril Francis, Francine Chin, Dahved Levy, Richie Poo, Sharon Gordon and Carter Van Pelt.

On Thursday, April 16th, the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR) in association with People of Black Heritage and ZYNC TV hosted another in its forum series this time addressing the question “Do radio deejays contribute to the state of popular Jamaican music?”

The high energy exchange between the panelists, commentators and the community who attended was moderated by Sharon Gordon, chairperson and co-founder of CPR. The official commentators for the evening, radio host, Jeff Barnes, singer/drummer/producer Ed Robinson, radio host, Francine Chin, and the well known DJ Prentice all offered unique perspectives on the issue.

Many on the panel thanked CPR for the opportunity to hear how the people in the community feel and think, while many in the audience expressed gratitude to CPR for giving them a place for their voice to be heard.

In her role as commentator, long time broadcaster, Francine Chin, admonished the panel collectively, “Everyone needs to operate according to set standards…we have to raise the bar not only in being creative in music and radio but the entire industry.” Chin continued, “Broadcasting has aspects where there is a universal language, a universal code…it’s up to the broadcasters and the community to enforce this.”

With many on the panel being on brokered radio, a good portion of the evening was spent discussing the challenges of brokered radio on which the community relies heavily to hear music and obtain information. The exorbitant costs of maintaining brokered air time was passionately discussed.

According to DJ Roy, all brokered radio jocks have another job because they have to pay for their time on the radio. “Being on brokered radio is no joke,” he chuckled. “It’s not easy coming up with the $12,000 per week to pay for Irie Jam’s airtime,” he shared, “that’s before the staff or any other operating expense is paid.”

Bobby Clarke and Louie Grant owners of Irie Jam Media group could be seen in the audience, nodding their heads in agreement. Dahved Levy the only, radio jock on a mainstream station, unapologetically, expressed that, “I have to do what it takes to keep my number one spot, of course I played Dutty Wine but I played it later on in my show, after I had already played the vintage reggae tunes in the opening and lead up to the current tunes.”

About CPR: The Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR) is a charitable organization working to raise the bar in the creation, development, promotion and presentation of reggae music. CPR conducts educational forums and presents music events to raise funds to research, codify, curate and disseminate literature regarding the music.

About ZYNC TV: ZYNC TV, a Brooklyn-based information and entertainment show, is a conduit for the exchange of cultural ideas and events from areas in the world that are influenced by the Afro-Caribbean culture. ZYNC broadcasts on C.I.N. (Ch. 73: Sun., 12:30pm) and on BCAT (Cablevision Ch. 69/Time Warner Ch. 56. Sat., 11:30pm.)

About POBH: People of Black Heritage (POBH) is a 501(c) (3) Not-for-Profit Organization formed in 2007 with the exclusive intent of serving as a charitable and educational organization. Its mission is to provide community based support services that will empower and enhance the quality of life of underrepresented inner-city residents.

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