Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the poverty of the airwaves

There is much talk about 5FM deejay Gareth Cliff these days and his rantings about failings of government, a black government that is. Now, judging from my listening to South African radio, deejays are being paid for ranting. Lets face it. Commercialisation was very bad for the airwaves in this country. The intelligence of deejays and what they say is simply appaling. It does not matter which radio station you tune in, the stupidity of them all hits you right in they eye. At least that is what I hear on English language radio, I only hope is that it is better on African language and Afrikaans radio; please let me know about it.

Cliff makes stupid jokes at the expense of others. This is what his listeners like. Just rant on about this ugly man or that stupid woman or whatever - this is what his listeners like, black and white. Another DJ on the same station whose name eludes me talked about girlie men having the same interest as women in a music band. Another jabb at some people, here gays and lesbians, just for fun. Ha, ha, very funny,

So in my view, it is not so much about Cliff being racist by ranting on about the government. If all ranting white South Africans were doing it because they were racist, then there would indeed be no hope for the country: all whites would then appear to be racist.

I do think however that many racists will find confirmation of their views about black incompetence and black and African failure in his rantings. But what about the black people who like his stuff - his rantings about the government and his gutter humour? Self-hating blacks?

No, the rampant commercialisation of public life seems to me the better explanation for the poverty of the airwaves. Or perhaps political interference and expediency. When I first came to South Africa, I listened a few hours daily to SAFM - it had high calibre hosts, and broadcast intelligent, challenging and smart shows. Now, there is not one station I am listening to. Radio is no longer a medium for news and information. I tried to switch to 702, but please, if Redi Direko and John Robbie are considered the intellectuls of the airwaves, then you know that radio has ceased to exist as a medium for intelligent conversation.

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