Saturday is the day of the next protest against the changes made to Choice FM. Church congregations are looking forward to the planned appearance at the protest in Leicester Square of gospel choirs, alongside reggae band Musical Youth and the United Kingdom’s (UK) top calypsonian Alexander D Great, among others.
Since Global Radio rebranded Choice FM as Capital Xtra last October, specialist music programmes such as reggae, gospel, soca and calypso have been dropped.
As a result, there is no legal commercial fm station giving dedicated and significant airplay to reggae, gospel, soca and calypso.
Trades Union Congress (TUC) Race Equality Officer Wilf Sullivan told The Voice: “London is a diverse city with a long-standing black population. When fm licences were granted, it was on the basis that they would serve the needs of all the communities in London.
“We now have a situation where music popular with the black community can only be listened to on pirate stations or tiny community stations. It’s time for Ofcom to do its job as a regulator and make sure that the content Global broadcasts on Capital XTRA complies with both the letter and spirit of the licence Choice FM was given.”
As The Voice went to press, campaigners were still awaiting a formal response from Ofcom to the complaints that had flooded in since Choice was renamed. The latest news was that the investigation was still ongoing. Black trade unionists have tabled a motion to the upcoming TUC Black Workers’ Conference in London, which condemns the changes and calls upon the TUC to intervene with both Global and Ofcom.
Film and broadcasting union BECTU is actively supporting the campaign, particularly since this year will see a major campaign on race equality in the creative industries driven by the entertainment unions (see opposite).
BECTU General Secretary Gerry Morrissey commented: “BECTU has consistently campaigned for the broadcasting industry to take diversity far more seriously than it has. The changes made by Global to the black community’s leading commercial radio station appear to show that Global Radio is far more interested in the pursuit of profit than ensuring they carry out their responsibility towards the diversity of British culture.
The Voice newspaper readers, music lovers and BECTU will be converging on Leicester Square on January 25 in a bid to make Global Radio keep its license format promise.
For the original report go to http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140122/ent/ent4.html