Thursday, February 16, 2006

Payola in Columbus?

You ever get sick of hearing the same Black Eyed Peas/Young Jeezy/Nelly rotation on your favorite radio station? Ever get the feeling that there’s nobody in the studio, just a machine playing the same 106 & Park fodder? Well you could be right, and a lot of the times this is illegal.

Payola is a word that’s been getting mad press in Hip Hop since Funkmaster Flex has been accused of excepting doe and other perks for playing certain artists. But the practice has been going on for years. Even in Columbus, WCKX (107.5) and WNCI (97.9) have been accused of being bribed for radio time.

I stopped listening to the radio after noticing I could hear the same songs at the same time of the day, everyday. I timed it. Of course, anyone who listens to the radio knows something is up. But what are the effects?

A wise man once told me (shout outs to Krate Digga) that deejays show people how to listen to music. They correct bad sequencing on CDs, they adhere to the “flow” of music. So the radio has a very important job with letting people know what’s hot and what’s not. In Columbus, we have “kiss it or diss it.” Are certain artists paying to be kissed?

Independent and new artists have absolutely no love from radio now. It is virtually impossible for a local deejay to push for and play a local favorite that they really believe in. Radio used to be the only way for new artists to get local love. After doing PR work with some people in Columbus, we have virtually eliminated the possibility of blowing up via any radio market. Besides hearing Middle Child on 107.5 a couple times, who is the last local artist you’ve heard on Columbus radio? And would Middle ever be in heavy rotation? (I’m not even going to talk about neo-soul and urban contemporary music in this city…and no, 98.9 doesn’t count).

You don’t have to take my word on this…check out this website to check the facts for yourself and see what Columbus stations, and stations nationwide, are possibly pay for play.


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