Won’t sign music MOU
Cabinet Ministers Alden McLaughlin and Arden McLean both expressed disappointment that dms Broadcasting did not sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the Cayman Musicians and Entertainers Association on 8 September.
In the MOU that was signed by representatives of all of the other radio stations in the Cayman Islands, the broadcasters agreed to play an average of at least one locally produced song per hour between the hours of 6am and 12am.
dms Broadcasting, which owns four Cayman Islands’ radio stations, declined to sign the MOU.
Mr. McLaughlin praised the agreement by the other broadcasters.
‘I think it’s a huge step forward,’ he said. ‘It is disappointing dms didn’t come on board, but that was in the cards from the beginning.’
Mr. McLean, under whose ministerial responsibilities radio broadcasting falls, said he had sent an e-mail to CMEA Broadcasting Committee Chairman George ‘Barefoot Man’ Nowak about the signing of the MOU.
‘Unfortunately, I could not be [at the signing] because I had prior arrangements.’
Mr. McLean said it was unfortunate that dms Broadcasting did not join in the signing of the MOU.
‘I certainly will discuss with [dms owner Don] Seymour… about changing his mind.’
Mr. McLean indicated the decision not to sign could affect dms.
‘Certainly, the public will decide who they will do business with.’
Although he said he was glad the MOU deal was reached without the government stepping in so far, Mr. McLean hinted that it might become involved in the future.
‘As a legislator, I have responsibility to the public,’ he said. ‘Certainly, I would not want to pull that out of the hat, but if it becomes necessary, I have no fear; I will do it.’
Should dms maintain its stance not to sign the MOU, Mr. McLean said the government will then make a decision of how to go forward.
‘We’ll consider our options,’ he said.
Mr. Seymour maintains dms has nothing against good local music.
‘We have always supported local music and we will continue to support local music, MOU or no MOU,’ he said Monday.
When sent the original MOU, dms offered to sign a revised version. It agreed to the requested stipulation of playing an average of one local song per hour during the specified hour for its station Hot 104.1, but it would only agree ‘to strive to play more local music whenever possible, according to format’ with respect to its other three radio stations.
dms station manager Steve Jones explained the reasoning for wanting to change the wording of the MOU with respect to the other three radio stations.
‘There is a lack of consistent, quality material to fulfil a one-per-hour mandate without repeating the same songs over and over, which would do no one – our listeners or CMEA – any favour,’ he said.
CMEA has recognised that there is a scarcity of local music in certain formats, such as hard/classic rock, which dms station Cayrock plays, and is encouraging its members to produce more music.
Mr. Nowak, who has fought for an agreement from broadcasters to play local music for years, was asked by CMEA president Clive Rosteing to hold off on his lobbying efforts over the past few months while the MOU was finalised.
Now that the other broadcasters have signed, Mr. Rosteing has agreed to let Mr. Nowak ‘out of his cage’ with respect to renewing pressure on dms. At the MOU signing, Mr. Nowak vowed to not quit his efforts until every radio station had agreed to play local music.
After the MOU signing, Randy Merren, managing director of Hurley’s Entertainment, urged CMEA not to allow dms to sign a different version of the agreement because he said it would not be fair to those who had signed the original agreement.
Since the signing of the MOU, Mr. Jones said dms had rotated 15 local songs into the play-list on 106.1 KISS.