Each radio station has it’s distinct target audience, which influences the type of air-played music but some local artists lament some local radio stations do not empower all of them equally.
Kosmos Radio, Radio Wave, 99 FM and 1FM (previously known as Kudu FM) are said to play more South African music than Namibian. There are more black than white musicians in this country but since all popular privately owned radio stations have white owners who call the shots, local music producer, Dj K-Boz criticises them for overlooking local music.
“They’d rather play a Kurt Daren song than a local Afrikaans artist’s. I know they play a bit of local Afrikaans music but it’s never on a commercial level and as a result, local artists suffer non-exposure.”
The difference in radio audiences run deeper than just languages and lifestyles and K-Boz believes race plays a part in this.
“The issue of colour will never change, as white Namibians prefer certain type of music while blacks do theirs. My argument, however, is about radio stations empowering local music. The radio stations we are talking about here are arrogant in the sense that they seldom attend music workshops in which they are supposed to interact with local artists, hence do not understand what to offer their various audience classes,” adds K-Boz.
Gerrit Koekemoer from 1FM defends his station, saying it’s never an issue of race but rather target markets. “We all have our set markets. Omulunga Radio plays Oshiwambo songs (no Afrikaans) while Fresh FM plays English songs (no Afrikaans). It has nothing to do with race or colour. If you listened to our air-play right now, you would hear a minimum of two local Afrikaans songs per hour.”
Radio Wave’s Margaret Laubcher argues her station’s genre of choice is hot, adult contemporary and evidently, every black local musician qualifies in this category.
“We have a very strict format, given our genre of choice. So if a local song falls under that category, then we play it. We play Ees’ music because at times, he collaborates with other artists to make a song a Hot AC,” she explains.
NBC’s Boli Mootseng says for local radios to cross borders of lifestyles and race, they will have to fight beyond music studios to local investors and the lawmakers.
“It’s a fight that has to start from the studios, microphones, the CD covers, through unions and lawmakers. We need strong personalities to formally lobby for these interests because local radio stations need to play all sorts of local music,” Mootseng weighs in, adding, this exercise should start from obtaining a broadcasting license with a regulatory body, which should clearly define s set of standards in this regard.