I got 90% problems…

…and the SABC is behind all of them.

SABC COO, Zuma stooge and media clown Hlaudi Motsoeneng recently decreed that all SABC radio stations would now have to abide by a new local music quota. This populist move brought SA into line with other international broadcasting behemoths like Canada, Mexico, the Philippines and Jamaica. The only difference is that those national broadcasters chose what many considered to be reasonable quotas – maybe between 30% and 60%. But Hlaudi almost went full North Korea, insisting that 90% of the music played on SABC radio stations would have to be locally produced.

Don’t get me wrong. I do understand the reasoning behind a) The local content rule and b) The ridiculously high percentage Hlaudi chose. (It’s ‘trying to assist the local music business’ and ‘because he’s a desperate, populist goon who hasn’t got a sodding clue what he’s doing, save for serving his allegedly (but almost certainly) corrupt boss like the pathetically weak, pointless, trivial, obsequious lickspittle that he is’, for those of you at the back who are struggling to keep up.)
There’s even a pisspoor song with a cringeworthy video thanking the SABC and all-round professional brown-noser Motsoeneng for the wonderful new quota:

Sweet baby cheeses.

The choice of radio station in the laboratory is 5fm – a national popular music station run by the SABC. It’s generally middle of the road stuff, fairly meh, but equally fairly inoffensive. There’s no Afrikaans, not too much talk, and it’s neither Death Metal, nor RnB-orientated. It’s not full of god-botherers. It’s a decent compromise. Or rather, it was.

Previously, 5fm used to play a mix of local and international music. It wasn’t something I’d particularly concentrated on back then, because it just worked. I’m recalling that it probably looked (sounded?) something like this:

  • Best of Local Music
    Best of International Music

But then, in May, in came Hlaudi’s ridiculous 90% rule, and now the playlist is formulated more like this:

  • Best of Local Music
    Rest of Local Music

If Hlaudi wanted to introduce us to more local stuff, then well done, he did. If he wanted to increase sales, that’s failed badly. I’m now more convinced than ever that a lot of local music is actually dreadful. And in order to make sure that the best stuff is played, it’s played in every show. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that there was always a pool of songs which was played in every show, but this pool now seems to be smaller, and the extra space is filled up with local crap.

I do get that musical taste is subjective, but the reaction to this 90% change has been generally negative, and it’s widely expected that listenership figures will drop. Anywhere else, this would be an issue, but that’s not how Hlaudi works – he just gets more money from government, who get more money from taxpayers. Insult to injury, anyone?

And yes, we could look (listen?) elsewhere, but there’s nothing that works quite as well as the old 5fm did, otherwise we’d have been listening there instead. There was a niche that it occupied, which was why we went there. It’s gone.

I wonder what the DJs think about this. Obviously, those who have commented on it have commented positively. Given the way Hlaudi operates, you can understand why you might not want to publicly express dissent at any part of his Glorious Masterplan.

I’m not employed by Hlaudi’s organisation though, so I can tell you that it’s shit.

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