Zulay moves to restrict foreign music on local radio

When Canada passed a 30% Canadian content law for its music radio stations, perhaps the most noteworthy casualty was CKLW, the powerhouse station in Windsor, Ontario that would bounce its signal off of the Detroit River and reach much of the US Great Lakes region. Another casualty was racially integrated culture across the river in the Detroit area. Windsor and environs had and has a small and relatively prosperous black community, going back to the days of escaped slaves crossing the border with the help of the Underground Railroad and setting up farms in Southern Ontario. But Windsor’s a mainly white city, across from mainly black Detroit albeit a mostly white metro area. CKLW, rejecting US segregation, would play both rock and roll and soul music. It led other stations in the Detroit area to do likewise. After CKLW’s demise, Detroit area radio soon broke down into black stations and white stations, with few crossings of the color line. Also destroyed with CKLW was the career of one of North America’s few female music station program directors, renowned hitmaker Rosalie Trombley.

Move to make Panamanian music radio 75% Panamanian content

by Eric Jackson

Get rid of those scruffy Mexicans and Colombians and Jamaicans and Brits. Don’t want to hear stuff live from Latin America’s great music festivals, let along Glastonbury. The saxophone sounds of Danilo Pérez’s Chilean-born American wife Patricia Zarate de Pérez would not be very welcome on the radio here. Cumbia, tamborito and decima stations would survive, perhaps. Under Zulay Rodríguez’s proposed law 32, three-quarters of all songs aired on Panamanian radio would have to be by Panamanians. Gerry D. would have to revise his talk show’s musical interludes.

The Nazis tried something like that, with some success within Germany. Gustav Mahler’s stuff disappeared from the German classical scene during the Third Reich. No music by Jews or other denigrated races allowed. In occupied Europe there was less success. In Paris they never quite wiped out jazz, although they did send the cops out to enforce rules against sax players swaying while they played. The Gestapo never got around to sending Django Reinhardt, that Roma jazz composer and guitarist with a injured hand, to the death camps. Ernest Hemingway liberated the Ritz before that task was completed. One more bit of inefficiency to infuriate Der Fuhrer.

Nazi Germany’s BIG defeat on the musical front was that, while their radio had some quality classical stuff and Lane Andersen’s big hit Lili Marleen, it was boring and when sure they were out of stormtroopers’ earshot millions of Europeans would tune into BBC. The music is better when there is freedom and there aren’t racist / xenophobic / nationalistic bans and quotas. Part of The Resistance was music.

The deputy promises that Panamanian musicians will get more work under her proposed quota. Probably the reverse is true. There would be much less cultural tourism and as international bands steered clear of a hateful little musical backwater there would be fewer gigs for Panamanian warm-up acts, too.

Of course, Panama’s radio station owners are already coordinating their opposition to Zulay’s proposal. Were it not largely sold to foreigners now, the once more powerful ad agency cartel would be flexing its muscles against proposal 32 as well. Even as branches of foreign companies, look for these businesses to complain as best they can.

Zulay screeches against foreigners. Adapted from a National Assembly image.

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