dms Broadcasting Managing Director Don Seymour signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday with the Cayman Musicians and Entertainers Association regarding a minimum airplay quota for locally produced music.
No representative from the CMEA was present at the signing, but Minister of Communications Arden McLean said the signed MOU would be forwarded on to the group.
‘It is no slight on the CMEA because they are not here,’ Mr. McLean said. ‘We thought it was in the best interest of everyone to do it this way.’
CMEA President Clive Rosteing was perplexed at not being at the signing of an agreement to which the association is a party.
‘CMEA was not invited to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between dms Broadcasting and the CMEA,’ he said. ‘I have no explanation why we have been excluded.’
The MOU calls for two dms radio stations – Hot 104.1 and Kiss 106.1 – to play at least one locally produced song per hour.
Two other dms stations are exempted from the agreement because there currently is not enough locally produced songs in the format of those stations.
All of Cayman’s other radio broadcasters signed the agreement on 8 September, but dms refused, mainly because it did not feel there was enough local material to play one song per hour on Kiss 106.1.
Mr. McLean subsequently met with Mr. Seymour on 11 October and asked him to sign the agreement.
Because of the vitriolic disagreement between Mr. Seymour and the CMEA on the issue of playing local music on the air, Mr. McLean said he thought it was better just to have Mr. Seymour sign the agreement first and then forward it to the CMEA.
‘[The situation] needs to heal a little bit,’ he said. ‘We have achieved our ultimate goal.’
CMEA’s Mr. Rosteing disagreed with the Minister’s assessment of the situation.
‘I understand that Mr. McLean at the signing indicated that CMEA was not invited because of what amounts to bitterness between CMEA and dms,’ he said. ‘CMEA certainly holds no bitterness to dms and we have had no reason to believe that dms holds any bitterness towards us.
‘To allude to any sort of enmity between us is puzzling.’
Mr. Rosteing said it would have been polite and reasonable to have told CMEA in advance why it had not been invited to the signing.
‘To exclude us from such an occasion shows a lack of courtesy,’ he said.
Mr. McLean said it was very satisfying to have sat down, discussed the points, and reached a result both sides were satisfied with.
‘I was pleased with Mr. Seymour’s prompt and positive response to our request for a meeting and believe that going forward, we can expect his continued cooperation and assistance, assuring a high standard of broadcast programming for the country.’
In addition to agreeing to play at least one local song per hour on the air, dms has agreed to support cultural orientation of radio personalities; to air parental responsibility messages concerning parents roles in monitoring what their children listen to; and to purchase additional equipment and relocate their radio antenna to help resolve the issue of blanketing interference on other radio stations.
Mr. Seymour praised the efforts of Mr. McLean.
‘We are truly fortunate to have a leader in Minister McLean that understands so well the role of government as a partner in every business in the Cayman Islands and the importance of market-driven policies.’
The MOU will not compromise the quality of dms Broadcasting, Mr. Seymour said.
‘If anything, it may enhance the quality of our products and services.’