Earlier on today, King Kaka was trending on Twitter, thanks to a comment he made at an interview at a local station, claiming that Kenyan artists do not get enough airplay. I’m sorry, this will sound rude and I’m a huge King Kaka fan (just in case you are wondering), but this is such a tired conversation. But for the sake of it, let’s get into it one last time and shut it down once and for all.
Are Kenyan artists getting enough airplay on local media as compared to their U.S/ Nigerian or even Tanzanian counterparts? Absolutely not. Do they deserve more airplay on local stations in their own country? Hell YES!
However, here’s what I think. Perhaps I am wrong, (which is unlikely) but I highly doubt that those in charge of selecting music to be played on local media do so on the basis of the artist’s country of origin. Whether it’s from Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa or Uganda, as long as it’s good music, guess what? It’s getting airplay and not just off programmers that select it to be on playlists, but also from the audience that will go out of their way to request for it.
Have you recently tuned into a local TV or radio station and counted the number of times you will hear a Nyashinski, Naiboi, Sauti Sol, Arrow Bwoy or Khaligraph Jones‘ song? Dawg! You’d run out of fingers counting. Aren’t they Kenyan artists?
It’s about time we shift the conversation from “Kenyan artists aren’t getting enough airplay” to exploring why music from abroad, Nigeria or Tanzania is flooding our media. What are they doing that we aren’t for them to dominate in our own country? That’s how we are able to re- strategize and regain control. Anything else is a tired and meaningless talk.
A local media station may not be playing a local artist’s music but if it’s good, people are going to request for it and the station will have no choice but to comply. It’s that simple.
How about you, what do you think? Do Kenyan artists deserve more airplay? Let me know via the comments section below.