It appears the euphoria that traditionally characterised the end of year “shutdown” radio charts is slowly dying as evidenced by the lack of the “Wow” factor in last year’s shows across all local radio and television stations.
In previous years, such shows were much anticipated and participation by listeners would be “above the rim”.
Corporates would literally fall over each other to sponsor cash prizes and packages for winners, but things have changed.
Could this be owing to the effects of Covid-19 on companies’ productivity and income or the general realisation by the corporate world that the numbers of listeners have dwindled?
It’s just over a week after the shutdown chart show, but there has been deafening silence and virtually no reaction from music critics, listeners and all stakeholders in sharp contrast to debates that characterised the aftermath of these chart shows in years gone by.
In previous years, fans and musicians would still be debating the results up to now, but this is no longer the case.
But how can Covid-19 impact on chart shows?
Radio producers, librarians and back-end personnel from most stations confided in this reporter that there was a significant drop in listenership and participation in chart shows.
“Honestly, this year the listeners did not respond like they did in previous years. Our voting platforms were not as busy as they used to be.
“There is a combination of factors. Most listeners find it as a luxury to buy data or airtime to recharge for voting.
“They will rather buy bread or Zumbani in these tough Covid-19 days,” said one producer with a popular radio station who commented on condition of anonymity.
However, a source at National FM had a different story to tell.
“My brother, our voting platforms were saturated and our phone lines were inundated with calls from listeners wanting to participate in the chart show where Prophet T Freddy amassed most votes,” he said, declining to be named as he had no clearance to speak to the Press. Interestingly, man-of-the-moment Mark Ngwazi was nowhere near the top 10 most voted for artistes on this chart show.
He was in 16th position and garnered 3 446 votes against T Freddy’s 7 421 votes.
In the same chart show, Jah Prayzah, Winky D, Freeman and Mambo Dhuterere proved their mettle and bulldozed their way into the top five.
National FM is known as the forte for sungura music but three Zim dancehall artistes made it into the top 10, eclipsing the new sungura poster boy Mark Ngwazi.
These were Freeman (position 2), Winky D (position 4) and Killer T in seventh position with 5 521 votes.
Star FM proved to be a favourite for the urbanites as the majority of the songs on the hit list were Zimdancehall, South African house and Amapiano.
Zimdancehall duo Poptain and Allanah topped the hit list with their song “Fadza Mutengi” which dominated on all radio stations including those perceived as ‘reserved’ for sungura.
After all the noise and praises throughout the year, Mark Ngwazi occupied the pole position on Radio Zimbabwe with his hit song “Taurai Madzoka” ahead of Mambo Dhuterere’s “Kubata basa” and Jah Prayzah and Jah Master who followed with “Donhodzo” and “Hello Mwari” respectively.
Notably, Jah Prayzah’ song Donhodzo appears to have been one of the most popular songs as it appeared in the top 10 of almost every radio station.
Sulumani Chimbetu pulled a shocker when his recently released jam “Bvuma Kusara”, performed extremely well to snatch fourth position on ZBCTV’s Top 50 videos, trailing only Jah Prayzah’s “Munyaradzi”, Winky D’s new release “Reply” and Mathias Mhere’s “Nhoroondo”.
Gospel diva Janet Manyowa was the most consistent gospel artiste as she maintained decent positions on all charts competing with secular musicians.
Local listeners however showed no love for Nox Guni’s sizzling collaboration with Master KG titled My Melody.
The song is one of the most sought after hits across the Limpopo but its best position on local charts was 20th on Radio Zimbabwe.
On ZBC TV Top 50, it was in 33rd position while on Star FM it stood on number 46.
The chart shows should be respected and appreciated as they give artistes the morale booster to work harder.