Artists baffled and riled by Durban radio station’s decision to pull the plug on their work
Award-winning artists DJ Cleo and maskandi star Phuzekhemisi are hopping mad after their hit song Mbizo Rocker was banned by KwaZulu-Natal’s Gagasi FM.
The station hit mute on the smash hit about two weeks ago – because, according to its managers, the song is “too busy”.
It’s the first single from DJ Cleo’s latest album, Eskhaleni 9, and is a remix of Phuzekhemisi’s hit, Imbizo.
It’s been on heavy rotation on other radio stations countrywide, but Gagasi FM isn’t impressed.
News of the banning was revealed in a series of email exchanges between the station’s music compiler and on-air presenter Zanda Mthembu; DJ Cleo (real name Cleopas Monyepao); and DJ Cleo’s record label, Universal.
DJ Cleo and Universal wanted to know why the song wasn’t being featured on the station’s playlists.
Mthembu responded on August 2, saying she was “currently investigating”.
In an email dated August 5, she broke the bad news.
“They (presumably the station’s management) said it’s too busy,” was her terse response.
DJ Cleo is furious and has accused the station of sabotaging him because of jealousy.
Maskandi master Phuzekhemisi is incensed by a Gagasi FM’s decision against air the track he collaborated on with DJ Cleo. Picture: Robert Tlapu
“What do they mean the song is ‘too busy’? I use the same format used by other artists,” he said.
“I’m so disappointed because as artists we strive to produce the best quality sound our audience can consume but these people keep on pulling us down.
“It’s sad indeed, but I have come this far despite all the resistance and jealousy I have encountered in the past. My real supporters keep me going and I’m grateful to all the compilers and radio stations that support me,” he said.
Phuzekhemisi said he was baffled by the decision.
“Alex Mthiyane, who presents the (station’s) breakfast show, recently played it with other new songs and listeners were asked to vote and it was voted the best,” the maskandi muso said.
“If it was busy as they are now saying, listeners would not have voted for it. Also, what does ‘too busy’ mean?”
Gagasi FM’s programme manager, Vukile Zondi, defended the station’s decision not to include the song on its playlists, and insisted it was not a ban.
“The song in question was submitted for playlisting and, as per procedure, it was reviewed along with other songs. It was rejected by our playlist committee for not being strong enough,” Zondi said.
“The song was described as ‘too busy’ in a conversation between one of our music department personnel and a Universal staff member.
“The official reason was that it was not strong enough. Also, we don’t ban songs as we have no power to do so because we are not a ‘watchdog’ authority.
“I cannot comment on why other stations are playing the song as we differ in many ways including our strategies and target markets to name a few,” Zondi said.
“However, this song has only been submitted once and we allow resubmissions because there are many reasons for a song being rejected on a given week and approved in another.”
Universal’s finance director, Tony da Silva, was hopeful that Imbizo still had a chance to feature on Gagasi FM.
» Hear the “too busy” Mbizo Rocker track for yourself at www.citypress.co.za/entertainment
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