Lo­cal mu­sic quo­tas: A hit and a miss

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Not ev­ery­one is happy with SABC Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng’s de­ci­sion that ra­dio sta­tions must fea­ture 90% lo­cal mu­sic.

A DJ at an SABC ra­dio sta­tion, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, told City Press this week that staff were shocked and sur­prised when they re­ceived an email from their sta­tion man­agers on Wed­nes­day at 4pm, in­form­ing them of the changes.

Me­di­aOn­line re­ported that on Thurs­day, the 5FM DJs didn’t man­age to com­pletely ful­fil their new quo­tas and the staff had to scour the ar­chives to en­sure they had enough ma­te­rial to broad­cast.

The frus­trated DJ to whom City Press spoke says 5FM can now no longer broad­cast its Top 40 in its cur­rent for­mat. The pop­u­lar show will be gone come Satur­day, but other in­sid­ers said the sta­tion was work­ing on a way to re­for­mat the chart show.

Although 5FM DJs have not spo­ken pub­licly about their frus­tra­tions, they are strug­gling. The DJ said they re­ceived the me­dia state­ment like ev­ery­one else. “We didn’t see this com­ing. No one was in­formed or con­sulted, but I

guess we have no choice but to com­ply with the de­ci­sion.”


Jazz leg­end Don Laka (58) is the man hailed for sav­ing the South African mu­sic in­dus­try bil­lions of rands. Af­ter 33 in­ter­views on Thurs­day with lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional me­dia, he’s a happy man. “For the very first time I’m feel­ing like a South African,” he said. The lo­cal mu­sic rights cam­paigner in­de­pen­dently re­searched the is­sue and found that be­tween 1994 and 2010, the SABC spent more than R2 bil­lion on roy­al­ties for in­ter­na­tional mu­sic. Ear­lier this year he claimed that 15 000 lo­cal jobs were lost in the lo­cal mu­sic in­dus­try be­cause lo­cal sta­tions weren’t play­ing the mu­sic of lo­cal mu­si­cians. Many slammed him as a bit­ter old man. “If you don’t get air­play, it af­fects you as an artist,” he said. “You don’t get a show or get booked. It re­sults in lo­cal artists dy­ing as pau­pers. I was not do­ing this for me; I was fight­ing for the youth of South Africa.” He worked full time on the project for four months and com­piled a doc­u­ment for the SABC in which he listed mu­si­cians’ con­cerns and asked for 80% lo­cal air­play. In the same doc­u­ment, he said that SABC ra­dio sta­tions played jazz for just two hours on a Sun­day, or 96 hours a year. De­spite his ef­forts, even he was sur­prised by this week’s events. “When Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng broke the news to me on Wed­nes­day, I al­most had a heart at­tack,” he says. Laka is now urg­ing up-and-com­ing artists to sub­mit their mu­sic to the SABC of­fices ev­ery Tues­day to get their share of the air­waves.


Gilfillan says the UN Con­fer­ence on Trade and Devel­op­ment fig­ures for cre­ative li­cens­ing in 2012 show an “over­whelm­ing dom­i­nance of copy­right ex­port by the UK and the US – a whop­ping $134 bil­lion [R2 tril­lion] be­tween the two of them”.

“South Africa has a neg­a­tive bal­ance of copy­right,” he said, adding it paid $2.1 bil­lion in copy­right each year and “we ex­port R63 mil­lion”.

“We are the largest im­porter of copy­right in Africa and we are ig­nor­ing what we have,” said Gilfillan.

“In short, democ­racy has brought about a cul­tural binge in South Africa to such an ex­tent that it is ex­ces­sive and well in need of be­ing brought to heel.”

Gilfillan said that if South Africa cut its con­sump­tion “of the An­glo-Saxon reper­toire by 90%, the own­ers would not notice”. That’s how much of the global mar­ket they dom­i­nate.



YFM pro­gram­ming man­ager Tshepo Pule says the sta­tion “is not af­fected and has never been af­fected by de­ci­sions made by the SABC, even when they poach our tal­ent”.

“When it comes to mu­sic, we have an amaz­ing team that keeps us at the fore­front of mu­sic. If any­thing, the SABC gen­er­ally fol­lows our lead on what’s hot.” Pule says his sta­tion doesn’t need quo­tas to play South African mu­sic. “YFM has the best lis­ten­ers in South Africa. We have the best young ra­dio tal­ent and mu­sic in South Africa. ‘Los­ing’ is not in our vo­cab.

“The SABC is busy for­ag­ing through their ar­chives to fill their quota.” Kaya FM

Kaya FM man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Greg Maloka says the sta­tion wel­comes the in­crease in lo­cal con­tent by the pub­lic broad­caster.

How­ever, he says “the SABC has gone be­yond what is re­quired of it by the In­de­pen­dent Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­ity of SA”.

TALK TO US What ef­fect do you think Mot­soe­neng’s new 90% rule will have on lo­cal ra­dio?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word SABC and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

Don Laka

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