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Industry Loop - NBC’s vernacular radio stations

2021-09-17  Staff Reporter

Industry Loop - NBC’s vernacular radio stations
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I am going to touch on a subject matter that I know many have chosen to ignore. A subject matter so sensitive that people who sit in these positions...who for years have felt untouchable will apparently “come for me”. Honestly, at this I’ve said quite a number of times on this platform, the time to be nice and diplomatic about obvious issues that are affecting the entertainment and media industries are long gone!

I’d really like to know what the mandate of NBC’s vernacular radio stations in Namibia are. I ask because, for the longest time that I’ve been listening to these radio platforms, religion was always until this very day been the focal point. Growing up in a Damara household, Damara/Nama service was the station we grew up listening to. I remember very well that religion (Christianity) was the content 90% of the time. Obviously, as a kid, you think that’s what radio is and that’s that.

No one dares to question it because your parents will give you a moerse hiding. Today, I tune in to Tirelo se Sechaba and 95% of the content on the morning show is religious and constant worship! Again I ask...what is the mandate of NBC’s vernacular radio stations? Namibia is a secular A secular state is an idea pertaining to secularity, whereby a state is or purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion.

Yes, 90% of the population are Christians but does that mean we should approve of a morning show whose content is 95% Christian and constant worship? Monday to Friday?

Is a vernacular radio station’s job not to keep communities up to date with matters of the country and the world? Entertainment, sports, weather, announcements, traffic...etc. do we have a morning show on a public vernacular radio platform whose content is 95% religious and worship?

I think content that will beam a very bright light on what is happening in the geographical stronghold of that tribe. I think content that will acknowledge a new generation of independent thinkers and technocrats that were raised and identify themselves with that specific tribe will inspire. I think content that will advance the needs and agenda of that tribe and content that will instil a sense of belonging.

This...95% of religious content on vernacular public radio platforms is the result of not giving way to new blood. It’s the result of not welcoming new ideas and new technology. It’s the result of not acknowledging that the world has changed. Perhaps also one of the reasons why the public broadcaster is running on a loss. Because station managers (the buck does stop with them... I will not castrate the presenters) are hell-bent on making sure it stays 95% religious instead of focusing on the potential commerciality of it all. I hardly hear adverts to be honest on these vernacular public radio platforms on NBC. If I do hear them, they sound like an afterthought. “Oh jah...etse we need to play this advert”. It’s downright terrible radio.

Whoever is in charge of these vernacular radio platforms at NBC needs to understand that this is not an act of war. We love the NBC and we all need it to start functioning the way it was intended to. We cannot have another Air Namibia situation with the NBC. Start with the programming and fix it. Fix it today!

The curious case of NBC radio stations

Until the next Loop, we say #GMTM                       

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@naobebsekind (Twitter)

2021-09-17  Staff Reporter

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