An Open Letter To PLANET RADIO UYO 101.1 FM By #AkwaIbomArtiste | @PlanetRadio_Uyo

It was a glimmer of hope, a thing of joy and gladness when word got out of your soon-to-be established private radio station in Akwa Ibom to enhance access to information and propel media diversity by complementing the services of AKBC FM (aka the Voice of Promise) owned by the Akwa Ibom State government and the Atlantic FM, a subsidiary of the Federal government-owned Radio Nigeria.

Before it really dawned on your listening public, on 9th June, 2013 you, Planet Radio 101.1 FM, Uyo posted an affirmation of your commencement of commercial broadcast on its Facebook page. This re-kindled hope and elicited so much buzz and excitement within Uyo the State capital and beyond the State.

The general reasoning, especially from we, The #AkwaIbomArtiste was that the coming of a new radio station in Uyo would automatically translate firstly to an increase from a two to a three-pronged radio competition, job opportunities for some unemployed Akwa Ibom graduates, another medium/platform for advertisement of goods/brands/services (in this case, music) etc such that when it started broadcasting, it didn’t disappoint the anticipation and expectation of its listening public, on the one hand in terms of broadcast of programs, news, music, etc. 

You have, on the other hand, failed to meet up expectations from the State-based music artistes (our immediate constituency, The #AkwaIbomArtiste). We had enjoyed massive airplay from Atlantic FM and AKBC FM ab initio, and now have to contend with using certain unsavoury and unlawful techniques, mostly paying for airplay (aka bribe) to your staff at any level, so as to put our music, our art on your platform for our fans to enjoy. That is unacceptable and I will explain. 

Call it whatever you want: tip or token of appreciation. At the end of the day, it is payola, [bribing of an influential person in exchange for the promotion of a product or service] which, exemplified in this letter, such ‘exchange’ from artiste/artiste management to Music Schedulers, Disc Jockeys, On Air Personalities (OAPs), etc for the airplay and promotion of music tracks, collaborations, mix and records of music artistes on your platform – Planet Radio 101.1 FM.

Planet Radio 101.1 FM’s Music Schedulers, DJ’s, OAPs, Producers and staff now extort money, ranging from between N10,000 to N100,000 per month, from artistes [depending on which ‘range’ they place your art] to play our music on radio – many artistes have confessed and plead anonymity. Whereas artistes hitherto seemed comfortable with the system, they had no choice but to pay some money [N5,000 at inception of broadcast] to get airplay on Planet Radio 101.1 FM. Usually the money is paid to any of the Music Schedulers, OAPs and the DJs of the music artiste’s choice (based on differing pricing systems of these mentioned radio station personnels) so that they speak well of an artiste while playing his or her songs during their shift. 

It is commonsensical to note that artistes like Jay Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Lil’ Wayne, Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, etc have (and will not, because they don’t know you) paid a dime for airplay at Planet Radio 101 FM. Why should we pay for airplay on a platform that is supposed to be nationalistic in ideology, especially as it is meant to have a degree of Local Content Accommodation in its media dealings?  

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