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THE PEOPLE

RADIO:  ANOTHER MONOPOLY?

Jamaica wants a first-rate radio station.  State-owned ZQI, 1932 gift of the late radio enthusiast Francis Grinan, has outlived its wartime propaganda service.  Even with peacetime modifications and improvements, ZQI falls hopelessly short of modern standards.

In a country still largely illiterate, a radio station is good to have.  Even a second-rate one takes plenty of cash to build and run.  Not having the cash, even for more urgent purposes, Jamaica Government invited bids for a franchise.  Five came in:  three foreign, two local.

The Governor handpicked a committee to look them over and report.  The Committee, chaired by Social Services Minister Frank A. Pixley, narrowed them down to two:  by Canadian Roy Thompson and British-backed Jamaica Broadcasting Co.  (SEE BUSINESS), left it open to the Executive Council to say which.  ExCo gave JBC the nod.  This, along with the monopoly involved in the franchise, set off a public controversy.  Some opinions expressed this month:

Stanley Motta, Electrical Supplies Dealer:  "I don't think anybody should get an exclusive franchise.  I'm not in favour of any company, all I want to see is Jamaica get the best service and I don't think a monopoly franchise will give as good a service as can be obtained by competition."

Edward R. Hanna, Drygoods Merchant (in one of his rare interviews):  "I've not given the matter much thought, but I can say this:  The air is a gift of God to his people and I can't see why it should be tied up with any company."

Granville Campbell, Concert & Radio Artist:  "I don't like monopoly.  The Jamaican artist wants an outlet for his ability, and more than one broadcasting station would give him a better chance of getting somewhere."

Mrs. Doris Lea, housewife:  "I believe the new company will give a better service than the Government station, but I also believe two or more stations would be of still better service to the country."

Miss Ruby Radlein, commercial clerk:  "I would like the World Radio Corporation to get the franchise as they would give an up-to-date broadcast service, instead of the loud-speaker system which I understand the other people propose to introduce."

George Bowen, Insuranceman:  "I'm against monopoly."

MORE ROOM FOR INFLATION

In a cynical mood this month, no doubt feeling the effects of the new liquor tax, SPOTLIGHT Artist Joe Lock vented his ire on Prime Minister Bustamante with the caricature below.  The tax balloon has more room for inflation, "Bicycles are not carrying their full tax weight", a businessman pointed out.  News that KSAC could probably up city property taxes in '49 to collect an additional £74,000, was disconcerting even if premature.

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SPOTLIGHT, DECEMBER, 1948.  SEND SPOTLIGHT OVERSEAS  39
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