Umhlobo Wenene FM has promised to investigate complaints by a gospel artist that one of its presenters demanded money to conduct an interview with him on her show.
Mthatha-born singer Yongama Mrwetyana alleged that Nomonde Vakalisa, who presents a weekly gospel show, had asked payment to interview him last year.
Mrwetyana said he had no choice and paid the R2000 to Vakalisa and was subsequently interviewed about his album and a live gospel show he was going to host in Mthatha.
But Vakalisa denied the accusations and said the musician had booked her to host an event. She said the R2000 was a deposit for her work outside of Umhlobo Wenene FM.
“He booked me for an event which I quoted him R6000 but he only paid me R2000 and I recently asked him to pay me my full amount but he keeps making empty promises,” she said.
Mrwetyana confirmed he had booked Vakalisa for a gospel show but later told her they would not be able to afford her.
Vakalisa said she was shocked that Mrwetyana was making the accusations after she publicly defended him when artists were not paid at his 2016 show.
“I have never asked anyone to pay for an interview on my show,” she said.
Umhlobo Wenene FM station manager Phumzile Mnci said interviews on Vakalisa’s show should be conducted free of charge and payment was not required.
“We allocate interviews according to their content. Gospel artists have a platform such as Nomonde’s show,” said Mnci.
However, he said if an artist requested an interview on a particular show then the station would charge them a fee.
“No presenter is allowed to take money from artists,” he said.
Mnci promised the station would investigate the claims.
Even though Vakalisa denied having ever asked for payments on her show, Mrwetyana was adamant she had not only demanded money from him, but other artists too.
“A few artists that I have approached have encountered the same challenges,” he said.
“They refuse to come forward because they are scared that they won’t get any airplay at all. I want to be the voice of these artists.”
Mrwetyana said there was an expectation around the country that musicians had to bribe to get their way to the top. He said this practice needed to come to an end.
Several Eastern Cape musicians contacted by the Daily Dispatch yesterday via social media admitted they were expected to give “something” to music compilers at radio stations to secure interviews or airplay. — firstname.lastname@example.org