Expatriate radio disc jockeys will undergo an orientation programme when they come here to work to ensure they understand Cayman’s culture and do not overstep acceptable local decency standards.
The cultural orientation programme was agreed in principal last Thursday by radio station owners at a meeting with the Minister of Communications Arden McLean and other Ministry personnel, George Town MLA Alfonso Wright and representatives of the Information and Communications Technology Authority.
Mr. McLean said there was some concern about the language used by DJs in Cayman.
‘No disrespect to foreign DJs, but they come from countries where they can push the envelope a little with their language,’ Mr. McLean said. ‘You can’t push the envelope here… some people are a little sensitive.’
Radio broadcasters also agreed to screen music selections with foul or explicit language.
Mr. McLean acknowledged that determining what is acceptable is subjective and that legislation was not the answer.
‘We don’t necessarily know what the public wants, so we don’t want to rule with a big stick or anything.
‘I would like to see the broadcasters police themselves.’
Greg van Koughnett, one of the representatives of the ICTA who attended the meeting, noted that the radio station owners agreed to the suggestions.
‘It’s up to the Caymanian (radio station) owners to a significant degree,’ he said. ‘As the Minster said, the first choice is for the stations to police themselves.’
The broadcasters undertook to sign a Memorandum of Understanding among themselves to address the language and decency issues, and to ensure local artists get air play of their original work.
The precise details of the Memorandum of Understanding are to be worked out among the radio broadcasters themselves, Mr. van Koughnett said.
With regard to airplay of local music, Mr. van Koughnett said it was agreed that local music would be defined as any music produced on the island, whether it was produced by a Caymanian or not.
There would be certain quality guidelines for the music that would be played.
‘It was agreed that subscribing to the concept that playing Cayman Islands music is good for public and policy reasons, and should not mean quality is decreased in any way,’ Mr. Koughnett said, noting that the music would also have to conform to the genre format of the station.
Mr. McLean said the meeting with the broadcasters touched on a number of other subjects, including radio interference, the placement of a master transmission tower and the possible need to widen the space between frequencies.
In addition, Mr. McLean recommended the broadcasters form an association so that they could ‘form a single voice to address concerns.’