Icasa forges ahead with additional quota for local music on public radio stations

In March, Icasa called for new music quotas to be implemented across all radio stations within the next year.

FILE: The SABC said the decision was taken after extensive engagement with music representatives.  Picture: freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) says plans to implement a 60 to 70 percent quota for local music to be played on public radio stations are still in place, despite the latest increase by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Yesterday, the SABC announced the implementation of what it called a "radical" decision to prioritise local music on all its 18 radio stations.

It said the decision was taken after extensive engagement with music representatives.

In March, Icasa issued a gazette calling for new music quotas to be implemented across all radio stations within the next year.

The regulator's Nomvuyiso Batyi says they have given broadcasters 18 months to source the required content.

"It is a commercial decision if you if go above the minimum that is set and we are giving people 18 months so that they play the music [that they have and in the meantime] they are able to go and source the music from communities and other music composers."

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From today 90 percent of the music played by the public broadcaster's 18 stations must be sourced from local artists.

The public broadcaster says it took the decision after extensive consultation with music industry representatives.

Spokesperson Kaiser Kganyago says, "We believe that the SABC is the c ustodian of our culture and heritage and we need to do that."

Kganyago said this will be taking place for the next three months while the SABC assesses the reception by the public and how it's going to move forward in terms of the final percentage.

Jazz musician Don Laka, who has campaigned for the decision, says this will change the landscape of the arts in South Africa.

"It is the duty of Icasa, but what has happened today shows leadership that understands."

The African National Congress (ANC) has welcomed the quota.

Acting spokesperson Khusela Sangoni said, "The decision that 90 percent of the music played on SABC radio stations will be local music will go a long way to empowering South African artists and promoting African culture, locally, and throughout the world."