My name is Hanan Trendy and I stand by my words. Payola deejays and radio presenters are criminals; extortionists, fraudsters, corrupt individuals, as well as law breakers. Perpetrators must be sanctioned by the various media houses in the country, especially Tamale.
Vex-Mad , Hanan Trendy Rants
I bemoan the adoption of unethical behaviour of those who are supposed to uphold the tenets of journalism, media reportage and the dissemination of entertainment, especially music. Whilst I find it to be somewhat a “morbid” situation, it doubles as a cancerous behaviour. The situation can potentially kill the objectivity deeply enshrined in media practice. The attitude of some radio presenters, and deejays in the Tamale metropolis is a betrayal of the fundamentals of credible media practice in the Ghana. The blatant act of engaging in what amounts to bribery and corruption, otherwise known as Payola is very disgraceful. Especially for a population often perceived to be upright and truthful.
What is Payola
Payola appears to be a global canker, one that cripples true creatives and stifles any opportunities that may arise from the distribution of their works. Payola is basically the exchange of money, gifts, or favours with radio presenters, and compilers of playlists. They in turn, favour, slot, and play certain songs more often than they would have. Though an illegality, it continues to thrive. It appears even worse in growing industries like that of Tamale.
Although there is a clear difference between subscribing to the promotional packages of a radio station, and paying Payola(Bribe) for your music to be aired. The dynamics continue to favour Payola. Whilst the former is legal, formal and public, the latter is enshrined in secrecy with really no traceable agreements. This leaves the average musician at the mercy of the deejay or radio presenter.
Now let me put it on record that paying a radio station to play your song on radio is not payola and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Now, according to U.S law, 47 U.S.C Sec. 317 which gives grounds to Payola, the illegal act of Payola takes place when a radio station plays a specific song in exchange for money, service or other valuable consideration, directly or indirectly and fails to disclose on air as being sponsored airtime – rather, presents the song as being part of the normal day’s broadcast.
What the above means is that a musician can actually walk into the marketing department of a radio station, and buy airtime to make sure their songs are heard. So, stop wasting your investments on these financially distressed fraudsters, corrupt, thieves, and unethical aggrandised egocentric deejays/presenters, parading as the gatekeepers of our music industry; the industry we are so passionate about.
Sadly, there is general knowledge about the practice; its fraudulent nature continues to be a source of worry for many in Tamale.
As media practitioners, and trained ones for that matter; we need to rethink our impact on society, especially upholding objectivity.
I’ve learnt some presenters, and marketers are using their portfolios to dupe our market men and women for no complete work done.
Whilst many reasons account for the inability to access sponsorship and adverts for a show; it is not proper to vent the resulting frustration on individuals through unethical machinations such as Payola. The situation has even contributed to the lies and false misrepresentations that adorn the media landscape in Tamale.
It is general knowledge, suffice to say, basic enough for all to know that Payola, and anything like it is considered a misdemeanour. It doubles as an unfair force-feeding of the radio listening public. Aside that, the practice is a breach of the code of conduct, as well as the guidelines that govern media related work.
Sadly, this act is pursued by practitioners with impunity; any attempt to correct the anomaly is met with vengeance, as colleagues will join in, on a grand scheme to sabotage.
The shameful act affects every department of music-related showbiz; from radio airplay/premiers, interview sessions, and even live-stage performances, these bad nuts exhibit a gross sense of impunity. They have managed to get a good number of people to accept the unfortunate behaviour as the right practice.
Suffice to say, our industry is stuck; on a national scale, we are simply a needle in the hay stack, our relevance continues to suffer, as amazing talents are denied the opportunity to be heard.
Some of the quotes these media practitioners even name as their price tags is damningly hilarious. Considering the nature of our industry, I find it preposterous for these “Fake Media Prostitutes” (who have often jumped from network to network, simply because they can’t adapt to the tenets of the profession) to place price tags on content that enrich their respective shows.
In conclusion, radio is bigger than any of us. It is so big that it can burn down the entire world in minutes. Let us not take it for granted. I would like to call on colleague media advocates to add their voices to this matter as a matter of agency; in order to redeem our beautiful image in the face of these controversies.
I would also want to call on station managers to provide proper guidelines and orientation to their employees. And if any of your workers are ever accused of engaging in acts that seek to tarnish the reputation and credibility of the organisation, bring them to book.
Finally to the musicians in the country, please stop wanting to be overnight stars ok. No shortcut to heaven. If you really want to get your song rotating on a particular network use the appropriate channel to also save your brand.
I also want to encourage the musicians not to engage in payola; and should they encounter such challenges, they should bring it to the attention of the media organisation. The organisation will continue to have zero tolerance to corruption and fraud.
Signed: Hanan Trendy (#TheHipHopSessionBoss)