RJRGleaner group clears air on policy

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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The RJRGleaner Communications Group has responded to the criticism of its policy regarding dancehall music on one of the stations within its portfolio.

In recent months, there has been a growing critique of the policies as managed by the Head of Radio Services Dr Dennis Howard.

In a statement dated April 16, the board of management of the media entity said it has taken note of the discourse, but is clearly standing by its decisions regarding the direction of the radio station and its manager Dr Howard.

“It should be noted that while Hitz 92Fm has been branded a reggae and sports station for over 10 years, it has not focused on its core of reggae. This was before the current general manager Dr Howard, took up the position. That he has been responding to our mandate to him to make each station service its targeted niche is commendable and will not be halted,” the statement noted.

“This group has a responsibility to serve a wide cross section of interests, and we make decision on how to do this through market research of people's and advertisers' interests and desires, not propaganda.

The RJRGleaner Group also stated that while it was willing to have a sit-down with Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange, as has been suggested, it cautioned efforts to dictate its format.

“We have no difficulty meeting and discussing this and any other issue with anyone... However, both the minister and our group know that it would be unprecedented for one of 30, private, licensed broadcasters in Jamaica to be directed on what content should be offered to listeners.”

The concerns were first raised by deejay Beenie Man in February of this year, who likened the policy to killing the local dancehall industry. Singjay I-Octane, in a social media post, said he has learned that his music has been banned from the station in question, Hitz 92 FM. Two weeks ago, an online petition called on the entertainment and culture minister to intervene in the matter. That petition has so far garnered 70 signatures.

— Richard Johnson




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