MARPIN Telecoms on Right Track
I must compliment the board and management of MARPIN TV, in its effort to add more local content for its customers. While I cannot express any informed opinion on the absence of Collywood TV entertainment, which I must say entertained me for a brief period, I do miss the host of From All Angles programme Mr Atherton Martin because of his insight and knowledge of the subjects he discussed. I understand management's reasons- cutting cost and restructuring which normally means firing. Julian Morris, the replacement, though is doing a reasonable job thus far in the chair.
In an effort, I am sure, to boost revenue MARPIN has introduced pay-per-view for major boxing matches, wrestling and now for World Cup football events; that is understandable. Still I am thrilled, as many are, with the game show channels, Court cases with Judge Judy which go on into the evenings. The soaps particularly, for the ladies, seem to be a favorite for those who have the time on a daily basis. As for me and many others, I love Jamaica's Sports Max and the views of Simon, Wavell and Alexis on world sports. Of course MARPIN has not disappointed with the various forms of cricket brought into our living rooms from across the world. Now many await World Cup football!
The added feature of Aljazeera News channel really adds a balance to western programming even to a greater extent than the BBC Network on which I really enjoy the "Straight Talk" interviews. Now, with a fresh and an alternative view of the Middle East and of Africa, inquiring minds can now make their own assessment instead of relying on the Pro-American Western bias of FOX or CNN.I am sure we enjoy it, so why can't we have the same here where views converge on both Q95 and Kairi and really give meaning to Fox's slogan of "Fair and Balance "or "We report, you decide" instead of holding onto our own corner.
I await the day when our society will be mature enough to have series of debates on pertinent developmental issues as Mr Edison James has called for on numerous occasions, as opposed to platform theatrics and castigations before elections.
Television is a powerful medium not only for its advertising or commercial value but in shaping minds, values and opinions. Case in point: a few years ago Africa, our motherland, represented by the West was all about children with extended bellies, rib cages exposed, fly-infested mouth, victims of AIDS and civil war while citizens rush on dusty unpaved streets for "Manna" from the skies dropped by American helicopters, the saviours.
Praise God for Aljazeera, we now are presented with a different view of Africans regally attired, where donkeys are converted to expensive vehicles, mud huts and tents in refugee camps are transformed to quality housing and highways, intricate architecture, advances in science, arts, technology, medicine, industry and, of course, performing arts.
For those who thought it was all gloom and doom in Africa, this channel is a welcomed attempt to bring a more balanced perspective away from the negative images which MARPIN must take some responsibility for in the first place.
While I give commendations to a greater thrust on local programming and an obvious shift in policy focus, I must pause to lament the frequency of repetitions of old school music videos and concerts, or even fashion shows, as the 1985 Jeff and Grammax in concert, Midnite Groovers in the neighbouring French Islands or Triple Kay in concert in Holland.
Right now there is an influx of music videos by locals as well as those artists in the Diaspora because CD production is on the decrease and no longer profitable for many artists. There are also numerous plays by NDT and Teyat Pawol, Gizelle Pierre , Caribbean Theatre Network,Q95 talent shows etc. Having said this, artistes, some of whom can be difficult to work with, must make their works available so that they can be played and do not wait on MARPIN to call on them, while the latter must be reasonable with requirements for airing. A local music video countdown is probably due as is done on RE TV.
Nonetheless, of all MARPIN's programmes the "Power of Numbers "must be singled out as a great innovation. Garmon Graham and co-host Andy Joseph, to a lesser extent, is really doing a marvelous job as two young teachers to demystify and simplify mathematics via their TV programme every Monday night after the news.
Students as well as adults are taken into the world of maths where Garmon articulates processes involved in subtractions, addition, multiplication, percentages, positive and negative numbers and number lines, decimals and the appetizing and intriguing brain-teasers. All student should watch and I dare say this programme has the potential for export and definitely should be re-broadcasted on weekends. Sponsors should come on board as this will reap future benefits for our children in keeping government's emphasis on numeracy.
Nonetheless, MARPIN has to improve on quality on certain channels and more so in certain locations island wide just as the Nation's Station must improve on their link personnel and news inserts which are frequently incorrect despite the efforts of the talented, youthful Terella Alexander's effort. "Sorry, we will get back to this insert later" occurs too often!