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Soca icon Machel Montano

The reality of no Carnival 2021 is still proving to be a bitter pill to swallow for many, within and outside the industry.

The decision was made by the Government amid the COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting the world.

As it relates to the musical aspects of things Urban radio frequencies usually do a switch over to 100 per cent soca on January 1.

This is a tradition SLAM 100.5 FM intends to carry on.

“We intend to continue to represent the music as though the season still existed. We welcome any artiste to release their music and once it passes our programming criteria we will play the music.

“100 per cent soca in 2021 for us means if there is not enough 2021 soca then we will represent Soca in general with a very unique and interesting format,” Joel ‘Signal to noise’ Morris, Manager of content, programming and promotions (radio), Guardian Media Limited (GML).

He said there are two stations under the GML umbrella that will represent 100 per cent Soca, SLAM 100.5 and Vice CT 105.1 FM.

“At GML, we believe it’s important to keep the spirit of Carnival alive and continue to demonstrate to the world that T&T is the mecca of Carnival,” Morris said.

In terms of whether new content will be available, Morris said currently: “The ratio is probably at 20 per cent of what is normally released. Although we are seeing the top artistes still contributing music for 2021, they are releasing less than the usual quota.

“What is also missing is the new releases from the upcoming artistes…We have spoken to various artistes and we expect a lot more songs to be released in early January 2021.”

This is an area of concern for Anthony Lee Aping, the president of the radio network at RED 96.7 FM, I95.5 FM and 107.1 FM.

He said he is not sure what to expect when it comes to the amount of content usually produced for a Carnival season.

However, he said “We will continue to do what we normally do. We will continue to provide the music.”

Lee Aping said 2021 will be a “different experience” compared to the previous years because “this is not something we have ever experienced in our history.”

“We will just have to manage,” Lee Aping added.

More optimism came from Radio Vision Limited’s Paul Richards.

Radio Vision Limited is the parent company of Boom Champions 94.1 FM and Power 102.1 FM.

Richards said the radio stations have already been playing Soca and supporting the artistes who have been critical to their many successes.

“I don’t know that there are less Soca releases and artistes continue to release music and we continue to support them as we always have supported them.”

As for the January 1st timeline, he said the station’s programming “will continue to provide support to soca, calypso, chutney, pan and all artists of Carnival as we have come to know it or even virtual versions amid Covid-19 restrictions.”

He said it is more important than ever to support artistes and maintain Trinidad and Tobago’s positioning in the global carnival and creatives space.

In recent weeks there have been new songs released from some of the more recognisable names in the Soca industry, among them, Lil Bitts, Farmer Nappy, Shal Marshall, Bunji Garlin, Blaxx and Machel Montano.

But new music or not it seems urban radio stations say they are ready to go full Soca from January 1, 2021.