Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hlaudi With A Chance Of Meatballs

My latest article published in +News24.com

Sometimes a story is so far-fetched and beyond belief, you’re left wondering if it’s simply satire or just a slow booze-induced week at the local papers. Unfortunately this story about SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng is neither satire nor some drunken fabrication for laughs. It seems that management at our public broadcaster really have gone off the rails, and things at Auckland Park really are Hlaudi with a chance of meatballs.

The debate still rages on regarding the SABC’s recent fatwa to all their stations demanding 90% of local music content to be aired across the airwaves.
There are two sides to this argument and objectively one can easily understand both. Understanding doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with. While I understand the need to increase local content exposure, I quite frankly don’t agree with the manner in which the SABC has gone about it.

I think the SABC bit off more than they could chew with this 90% local content decree, and I think Hlaudi’s choir is going to be singing a different tune in the not too distant future.

I’m not a huge fan of Lotus FM simply because I find the content on Highveld Stereo more appealing to my taste in music. However, one can safely assume the demographic and target market of Lotus FM to be Indian. The station is one of only a handful which caters to the Bollywood-loving Indian community, and keeps its tiny audience of listeners tuned in by playing the very latest hits from the Bollywood circuit. Advertising revenue to the station is the grease which keeps the cogs turning, and advertisers target this niche audience with ads tailor-made for the Indian community.
Asking this microcosm of minorities with it’s own unique language and culture to suddenly embrace a 90% influx of local content to their radio station would be akin to having The Natal Sharks Board call you up and inform you that they need to house 20 species of shark in your goldfish bowl or else you don’t deserve goldfish.

Someone called in to a radio station the other day and said the problem can easily be rectified by simply increasing local content providers or getting more Indian musicians to submit their material to Lotus FM.
I can only imagine the caller had never heard local Indian music.
I have.
That’s why I listen to Highveld.
Take nothing away from the talented local Indian musicians out there, and I’m pretty sure this new decree will benefit them. But can they make up 90% of local content? The good one’s at least? I have my reservations about this.

I think Hlaudi is going to need his choir.
He’ll certainly need them to drown out the sound of dissent coming from the smaller radio stations who simply can’t fulfill this 90% local content quota.
I hope I’m wrong.
I hope that within a year our airwaves are bustling to the sound of local music.
I hope the SABC is lauded for making our radio stations proudly South African.
I hope the choir at the SABC know the words to “Hlaudi With A Chance Of Meatballs.”
For in this wonderful nation of ours where leadership make hasty decisions, costing taxpayers millions and doing no favors to Brand South Africa, one can only hope.

Hlaudi is doing to the SABC what Malusi has done to tourism and what Dudu continues to do to SAA. Where there is a lack of accountability and no regard for consequence, the words “Corporate Governance” are simply big phrases found in useless textbooks.