On March 28 I received a press release from online music station Bang Radio 103.6 FM , announcing the exciting news that they were about to officially launch Riddim Radio FM across London and online via www.weareriddim.com, becoming the ‘first legal reggae and dancehall music station in the capital’. (Click here to read the entire press release).
The press release also stated that the news was embargoed until Monday March 31. I posted the news on Monday morning and within an hour the post attracted hundreds of readers from around the world, many of whom were genuinely excited at the prospect of London’s first ever legal reggae and dancehall music station hitting the airwaves.
Then on the following evening this ridiculously confusing press release from Bang popped up in my inbox:
Yesterday, 1st April 2014, BANG Radio broadcasted as Riddim Radio on 103.6FM in London. We can now confirm this was an April Fools prank but, used to highlight an important message; reggae and dancehall can no longer be ignored or pigeon-holed to past eras by British radio.
The team behind leading British music and youth culture brand, BANG Radio pulled off the 18 hour on-air prank by completely changing their imaging, schedule and website to become sister station Riddim Radio, supported by renowned label VP Records and leading reggae and dancehall talents including English Fire, Silver Star, Jamie Rodigan. Not only fooling the industry into reporting about the significant Ofcom license change, but also keeping the joke from BANG presenters who only found out live on air!
Jennifer Ogole (founder and CEO of BANG Radio) and Zak Esau founded online radio station Riddim Radio in April 2013. Operating from three locations in London, Trinidad and Jamaica, Riddim Radio broadcasts across the globe 24 hours a day, bringing roots, culture, reggae and dancehall to the masses!
The sister stations collaborated to make noise about both BANG Radio and Riddim Radio; specifically, to bring to the media and listeners’ attention that reggae and dancehall can no longer be ignored or pigeon-holed to past eras, as the rising popularity of young reggae talent including Chronixx and Stylo G confirm.
“Although it may appear that changing BANG Radio to Riddim Radio was an April Fools prank, there is a serious statement behind BANG’s actions yesterday. It is both tragic and unacceptable that Caribbean music and culture, which is a massive contributor and influencer of urban and mainstream culture, has no significant presence on legal radio in the UK.
The culture is not given the due recognition, platforms or support to make the industry viable and sustainable.
BANG will increase its exposure of this genre by making reggae the cultural focus of the organisation. This will result in more reggae and dancehall on BANG Radio channels, both FM and online.
Riddim Radio exists and was created to offer a platform completely dedicated to Caribbean music and culture with the focus being reggae music.
We are calling on the UK public and relevant companies to support us and those who are championing Caribbean culture; by listening, interacting, attending events and buying products such as music.”
– Jennifer Ogole
What peaked my interest in the first press release (announced the DAY BEFORE April Fool’s day) was the claim that Riddim Radio was going to become ‘the first legal reggae and dancehall music station in the capital’and that broadcast regulator OFCOM had amended their remit to champion reggae and dancehall .
Since the shock rebranding of the once black owned Choice FM (now Capital Xtra) in October 2013 and the shelving of their reggae programming, I have been saying that the focus should be on moving forward by creating and nurturing our OWN platforms. That way protests outside of major media corporations (that the original owners SOLD out to over ten years ago), can be avoided in future.
When I read that Bang Radio founder/CEO Jennifer Ogole, a black business woman, was about to launch London’s first legal reggae station I was excited and stood up and applauded her for this major power move. That however was short-lived.
When the second press release popped up in my inbox announcing that it was all a joke a feeling of utter disappointment washed over me. What a let down.
Who the hell came up with this idea?
I have a sense of humour and love a good April Fool prank but this ‘prank’ rattled me to the core. As far as I am concerned the current state of play when it comes to the business of black music in this country is no laughing matter. This prank FAILED in its mission to raise a smile and FAILED to highlight reggae’s current situation on legal radio. Who will take our concerns on this subject matter seriously now?
I cannot quite figure out what this ‘HA HA April Fools!!!!’ moment was supposed to achieve. I am still confused by it all.
Bang succeeded in fooling many with this prank including Radio Today and generated a day’s publicity for themselves. Okay… so now what?
Perhaps it would now be a good idea to work towards turning what was an ill-conceived ‘prank’ in to a reality, and actually launch London’s first legal reggae and dancehall music station.
UK RADIO NEWS: REGGAE DJ NATTY B AND DADDY ERNIE, DAVE P AND MARTIN JAY AXED IN CAPITAL XTRA TAKEOVER
It was officially announced today that Choice FM is now to be known as Capital XTRA and as expected there are casualties and will probably be more.
The Voice reports that Choice FM veteran Reggae DJ Natty B has been axed by the station.
“It is with deep regret that last Sunday…was my final show on Choice FM. This has come as an unexpected surprise as has the news that the station will be now known as Capital Extra & will no longer [offer] reggae programming.
“I started at Choice FM in 2000 and enjoyed my time broadcasting the music that I love on (then) London’s only Black owned urban station. I would like to thank everyone that has been a part of my journey and hope to be back on the airwaves very soon. Peace!”
CLICK HERE to read the full article.
DJ’s Daddy Ernie, Martin Jay and Dave P have also been axed by the station.
CLICK HERE to read their tweets announcing the news.
As long as we have good presenters presenting good music and supporting our artists, call it what you want. I'm good with it.—
Chuckie Lothian (@ChuckieOnline) October 03, 2013
I just hope others are paying close attention to what is taking place over at Global Towers.
Anyway I wish Ernie, Martin, Natty and Dave all the best with their future endeavours. Onwards and upwards!
Lord have mercy Shabba Ranks has given me LIFE on this wet and gloomy Thursday morning.
In the interview below Shabba talks about the recent BET Awards Reggae/Dancehall tribute performance featuring, Beanie Man, Elephant Man, Dawn Penn, Chaka Demus and Pliers, and why he declined their offer to appear also.
TELL DEM SHABBA!!!
Over to you BET. *Looks over at Stephen Hill and Debra Lee – sips tea*
Reggae DJ David Rodigan MBE has announced via Twitter that he has joined BBC 1xtra.
In November 2012 Rodigan resigned as KISS FM after 22 years of service at the station.
After handing in his resignation Rodigan said in a statement:
Due to their continued marginalisation of reggae music into the twilight zone of radio scheduling, it has left me no option but to make a stand for my passion and the music I love so dearly.”
Well.. well… it didn’t take Rodigan long to find a new home on the airwaves did it?
DJ Robbo Ranx better watch his back (hahaha) #Justsaying
Usually when a DJ leaves a radio station or is kicked to the curb like a dusty old rag doll, it takes up to 3 years before BBC 1xtra’s competitor Choice FM comes to their rescue with a mysteriously vacated time slot.
The Independant reports that one of Britain’s best known Reggae deejay’s David Rodigan has resigned from Kiss FM, after 22 years of service at the station.
In a statement Rodigan said:
“I’ve been with the station for 22 years, shared some wonderful times with many fantastic artists and members of staff and it’s with great sadness that I’ve come to this decision. Due to their continued marginalisation of reggae music into the twilight zone of radio scheduling, it has left me no option but to make a stand for my passion and the music I love so dearly.”
As Bob Marley famously said “the stone that the builder refused will be the head corner stone.” Reggae was originally played on the streets, not on radio, and Kiss’ refusal to schedule the only reggae show on their network to a socially accessible time has resulted in this decision. Reggae is worthy of more respect and so are the fans and lovers of this music.
According to The Independent Rodigan was moved to a midnight slot on the Bauer Media-owned station, in order to accommodate a show hosted by the singer Craig David.
A Kiss FM spokesperson said:
“We are very sad and disappointed to confirm that David Rodigan has left Kiss after 22 years. We have the utmost love and respect for David both personally and professionally – he leaves with our sincere appreciation and gratitude for all that he has achieved with Kiss. Kiss remains passionate about broadcasting a brilliant cross section of music genres, including reggae, to our audiences across multiple platforms and devices.”
CLICK HERE to read more.
KISS FM deejay Shortee Blitz tweeted:
So they moved Rodigan’s popular Reggae show to accommodate Craig David’s weekly broadcasts from his Miami penthouse in the sky?
I have fond memories of Rodigan. My mum used to always have his radio show on at full blast every Sunday at 2pm, while getting me ready for Sunday School. This was back when he was on Capital FM.
This is sad news especially for Reggae fans but I have a feeling that Rodigan will be back on the airwaves soon.
BBC 1xtra DJ Robbo Ranx presents a special documentary on Tuff Gong Studios in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th independence. With exclusive performances from, Beenie Man, Capleton, Elephant Man, TOK, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Agent Sasco, Christopher Martin, Mr Vegas, Khago and ‘Gyptian.
The Jamaica Observer reports that controversial reggae star Vybz Kartel has been charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and illegal possession of a firearm.
Police issued the following statement,
“The allegation is that on Monday, July 11, 2011, Palmer, along with other men, conspired to murder Barrington Burton o/c ‘Bossie’, a 27-year-old businessman/promoter of a Gregory Park address in St Catherine. Burton was murdered while he was standing with friends along Walkers Avenue in Gregory Park,”
The Jamaica Observer also goes on to report that the preliminary hearing will take place tomorrow (5th October) at the Half-Way-Tree Resident Magistrate’s Court.
Oh dear. I wonder if this news will affect the sales of his skin bleaching range.
Rest In Peace Barrington Burton.
Reggae star Buju Banton (real name Mark Myrie) has been found guilty of three cocaine related charges in Florida.
Click HERE to read more.
This news has ruined my appetite.
“This is my new image,” Kartel said in the interview. “You can expect the unexpected. I feel comfortable with black people lightening their skin. They want a different look. It’s tantamount to white people getting a sun tan.
[Reggae star Vybz Kartel talks about his ridiculous skin bleaching antics in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine]
Check out lost soul Vybz below.
Rapper Rick Ross has joined forces with Jamaican reggae artists Jah Cure and Mavado on the new track Like I See It.
When I first heard about this collaboration I was far from happy. I have never really liked the outcome when reggae artists mix it up with rap artists - especially when they mix it up with rap mainstream mediocrity like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake to name but a few. I am very protective of my beloved reggae music. The genre has still managed to preserve it’s purity somewhat and I want it to stay like that.
But in the case of Jah, Mavado and Rick, Like I See It is a HIT, HIT, HIT! I love it and love Jah Cure.
Via Pinboard Blog
Your thoughts please. Hit or Miss?