KINGSTON – Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz has welcomed the positive feedback from media houses islandwide, on the new format for Government radio broadcasts.
Speaking to JIS News, Minister Vaz said he was happy that about 80 per cent of the media houses are carrying Government programmes in the new format.
“This is very encouraging for us, because it means that there is an individual acceptance of this (new format) by media houses,” he said.
He noted that the feedback from the listening public on the new format has also been “very encouraging."
The JIS embarked on a new approach to its programming format a year ago as part of a more strategic move to revamp the way in which information about Government’s policies, institutions and projects is disseminated, in order to reach as many listeners as possible.
This new approach, which became effective on March 1, 2010, involves the production of five-minute news and features, which are broadcast at different times throughout the day on radio stations across the island.
Explaining the rationale for the change in approach, Minister Vaz told the House of Representatives in his Sectoral Presentation last year that, “the burden of creativity rests more strenuously on the shoulders of the Government communicators. For communication to be effective it must adapt to the needs of the target audience. This is beyond debate”
He stressed that there had to be a calibration with the changes which had already taken place and had become standardised in media. “We aim, very simply, to break up the time allotted …to make the information more accessible, listener-friendly and more suited to people’s viewing and listening patterns,” the Minister said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Mrs. Donna Marie-Rowe.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the JIS, Donna-Marie Rowe, for her part, expressed satisfaction with the level of acceptance among major radio stations that have effectively managed to rework their programming schedule to accommodate the new format.
“We continue to fulfill our mandate of educating and informing Jamaicans here and abroad about government’s policies, programmes and institutions and thank the radio stations for partnering with us as we disseminate public information,” Mrs. Rowe added.
Commenting on the new approach, General Manager at Power 106, Newton James, said the new format is also well suited for its Music 99 station.
“Rather than dropping out a half-an-hour segment, we can put in these shorter versions, which do not really disturb our listenership patterns,” he reasoned.
Programmes Manager for Nationwide 90 FM, Elizabeth Bennett told JIS News the new format complements the station’s programming very well.
“The GOJ News, for example, is a good complement to our (programming), because some stories that we may not necessarily have in our news package are in the GOJ news package or they may take it from a different angle if we do have it in our news,” she said.
Ms. Bennett noted that Nationwide’s clients and listeners have also been responding positively to the new format, which she said the station airs, for the most part, at peak times.
“The Calling Farmers segment that we carry early mornings is a huge hit…especially for farmers and persons who are agriculturally inclined,” she said, adding that the “JIS is giving a good cross-section of products in terms of interviews and features."
In addition to the radio stations mentioned, persons can tune in to KLAS 89 FM , Hot 102, Kool FM, Mello FM 88, Irie FM, Northern Caribbean University (NCU) radio and Bess FM for the new five-minute news and features, which are aired from as early as 4:55 a.m. and as late as 10:00 p.m.
The full schedule is on the JIS website at: www.jis.gov.jm and listeners can also catch the programmes online.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter