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No li’l issue

by Femi Mascoll

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Starcom Network yesterday stoutly rejected charges of practising double standards as it explained its decision to part ways with DJ Ricky (Li’l Rick) Reid.In the popular phone-in programme Down To Brass Tacks, listeners called both to criticise and to congratulate the station over the decision announced on Thursday.Moderator David Ellis said the incident was bigger than Li’l Rick and Starcom. It related to the role of the media in Barbados’ society.The fundamental concern should be the role of the media “in reinforcing positive values and behaviour and how various forces are influencing that role,” Ellis said.Three occasionsIn a statement, Starcom Network Inc said on no fewer than three occasions Li’l Rick breached guidelines to prevent the broadcast of material with sexual crudity, social degradation, or poor taste.Ellis stressed that Li’l Rick’s action last Saturday was the “latest in a string of incidents”. Starcom therefore had taken the “initiative and appropriate action.”Programme manager of Starcom Network, Ronnie Clarke, indicated that Li’l Rick was disciplined over similar incidents a total of four times during his ten-year stint at the network. “This one being the most unfortunate and worst of the breaches relative to content,” said Clarke who outlined the series of events which led to the ultimate termination.“Saturday, June the19th at approximately 12:55 there was a song aired . . . which was the raw, explicit version of one of the songs that is popular by Vybz Kartel. The song was played . . . pulled up. The same version of the song was played. It continued into the second verse. Then the song was stopped.” Only after this, was the edited version of the song played. Reid did not apologise for this mistake until 1:49 p.m. Ellis told one caller who raised the issue of a double standard: “If you’re accusing us of a double standard, you need to tell us who  else associated with this station has had that kind of reprimand on as many occasions.”In response to several callers that Li’l Rick’s termination would have a negative impact on the network’s ratings, Clarke stated the popular Guinness Rush Hour Show and Mackeson Triple Tunes have “enhanced Rick’s popularity and Hott’s popularity”.Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon Slam FM confirmed that Li’l Rick is now part of its team.