“The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars…but in de Gayelle!”: Paolo Kernahan

Master control. Cue fade to black. Gayelle is no more

At least that’s what some columnists say as they start counting down Gayelle’s demise.

Gayelle announced recently that it’s cutting staff.

Gayelle’s closure will mean a failure to Errol Fabian’s and his business partner Christopher Laird’s dream to create a local channel based on local content produced in Trinidad.

After all, when it comes to the local television industry in Trinidad, the only thing that is produced, shot and edited on the twin island is the news.

The outsider might think that Trinidadians just don’t like dey self. And, oh, dey won’t give the channel ah chance. (Trini Talk for: Trinidadians prefer to watch foreign TV shows rather than ones produced locally.)

Not so, according to Paolo Kernahan. He gave a great analysis in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian that Gayelle failed because it never developed its advertising revenue seriously.

Companies would send food and drink in an almost endless supply knowing that the presenters, who complained ceaselessly about being “rell hongry,” would gleefully oblige and gobble up their products on air, profusely thanking their benefactors even as the crumbs cascaded from their greasy lips. It is difficult to say though just how much of that orgy of product placement was followed by actual payment for advertising spots on the station.

Much more, Kernahan said, the station lacked leadership to produce sensible and interesting content that Trinidadians wanted to watch.

A week before, Atillah Springer, in the same publication gave her two cents, too.

The solution is not to hire young hotshots whose pants are so tight they don’t have space to grow the testicles necessary to make a difference, if not a change. The solution is not to let it die.

She kind of staggers between blaming the viewers and the business community. But if you unpack what she says, she affirms that Gayelle lacked talent and the leaders to manage that talent to produce high quality productions. She just says this by complaining about men who enjoy wearing pants that squeeze their balls.

Perhaps Gayelle; or should it fail, some other stations can learn from these lessons.

Namely:
– TV needs good leadership
– TV needs talent, dedicated to producing high quality content that Trinidadians will want to watch
– Advertising revenue pays staff and keeps your channel on air

Well at least, as a future media professional myself, that’s what I am learning.

(Includes corrections)

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