Without stating the obvious, 2020 has been an incredibly testing year for everyone around the world.
One of the industries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic has been the creative sector. From new ways of broadcasting, to the cancellation of the live music market, 2020 has presented a number of challenges for companies like ours.
Firstly we would like to salute our colleagues and friends from across the various areas of work that we inhabit across the world – stay strong, and always look forward.
Secondly (as we always do at this time of year), we would like to reflect on a few of The Playmaker Group’s 2020 work output with our annual Top Five.
In no particular order, here is a few bits that summed up 2020, The PMG style…
SEANI B & BUJU BANTON – FEB 2020
“DESTINY – THE BUJU BANTON STORY” – The Grammy winning artist had been incarcerated in America for ten years, and after a much heralded return to his home he kept a low profile for over a year. In his first major international interview, The Playmaker Group produced a two hour interview and exclusive band session with Buju Banton which looked at his past, his present and his future. Excellently presented by Seani B, this programme was critically received for its level of honesty and journalistic approach coupled with an inclusive outlook which brought the subject to a new and wider audience. As a production and presentation team which knew and understood Buju and the impact of his work over the previous three decades, this was a show that we wanted to ensure we handled correctly for BBC Radio.
We hope you enjoy the end results!
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000grxx – Radio Show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdBEuNoiTXM&t=640s – Live Session
NO BASS LIKE HOME – NOV 2020
“BRENT 2020 BOROUGH OF CULTURE” – In late 2019, we were awarded the Event Production rights for Brent’s “No Bass Like Home” concert – a two day celebration of the work and impact of reggae in the borough as part of its Borough of Culture status for 2020. Our original role was providing event infrastructure and management for the two days in north west London, which included all elements of H&S, design, liaison with outside agencies as well as the physical running of the event on showdays.
Covid put paid to this iteration of “No Bass Like Home”, but it couldn’t stop it all!
The PMG were then tasked with creating an online festival with a difference – seven hours, three venues and with an editorial outlook that still celebrated the original show. Working with show curator Seani B, we set about getting the idea solidified and working within the new Covid guidelines. This presented many new challenges for the team at large, and we are proud to say that these were met head on by everyone involved. With a stellar line up that included Janet Kay, General Levy, Marla Brown, Christopher Ellis, The Cimerons and Sweetie Irie as well as Julian Marley from Miami and the legends Ken Boothe, Horace Andy and Tony Matterhorn from Kingston, this event definitely lived up to it’s billing. A glowing example of a clear creative viewpoint, amazing teamwork and a desire to overcome obstacles thrown in front of us – watch and enjoy!
“KISS FM CARNIVAL TAKEOVER” – Having grown up on a staple of Kiss FM as youngsters, being given the opportunity to work alongside this content powerhouse was definitely a highlight of the year. Anyone who knows Kiss and their range of brands will be aware of the breadth and range of their output – from KISStory which celebrates heritage and history of black and dance music, to KISS Fresh which serves as a flagwaver for the next generation of music styles, DJ’s and genres.
The PMG were tasked with creating a unique approach to Carnival during the pandemic – three stations (KISS FM, KISStory & KISS Fresh), all with their unique audiences and outputs which can intertwine whilst maintaining their uniqueness and individuality.
One of the key elements for us as a team is to have the belief and backing of those you are working with, and the KISS team were amazing from day one. Their willingness and openness to ideas and suggestions away from their day to day norm set them apart and guided us to create a one off line up which mirrored a festival from hour to hour. With something for everyone, and very mindful of respecting the traditions and meanings of Carnival, our programming and production were showcased fully here.
CARNIVAL ON KISS – AUG 2020
“THE STORY OF MARCUS GARVEY ON BBC RADIO 4” – One of our ambitions for 2020 was to widen the scope and range of content we create. Working with a network suck as BBC Radio 4 was high on the agenda, following the shows we had made for BBC World Service in 2019.
“THE BLACK STAR LINE – FROM MARCUS GARVEY TO JAY Z” was the story of the ideology of one of the most important people in black history. Marcus Garvey believed in self-reliance, self-confidence and a black nation. He was spectacularly brought down, but his ideology still lives on. Presented by Maurice Delauney. This was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, on 6th October and was subsequently selected for BBC Radio 4’s “Pick Of The Week” programme.
LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000n5y5
MARCUS GARVEY – BBC RADIO 4 – OCT 2020
“ACE & SEANI B – BLACK LIVES MATTER” – Talent management and development is an area of The PMG’s portfolio that we take a great deal of pride in. Two of our clients showed just what they bring to the table at an unprecedented time for broadcasting.
Summer 2020 was like no other. Not only did the Covid pandemic completely rip up any existing notion of “normal”, but tensions and emotions were at an all-time high in the black community with the unjust killing of George Floyd, which lead many black communities across the world to re-evalute their values, position in society and their need and want to be “heard”.
The young black community in the UK felt no different. As a network, BBC Radio 1Xtra took the mantle upon themselves to produce a special one off programme – “1Xtra Talks” – which looked at the feeling of the black community in the UK. This could not just be an emotive programme, it needed to be something which had more than just journalism. It required honesty, passion, a level-headed overview as well as a clear and concise knowledge and ability to broadcast.
One of the reasons this show is on our list is that two of our talents that we manage – Seani B and Ace demonstrated all of those attributes with style. From the opening lines of the pair of them explaining that today they were “Maurice and Ashley, not Seani and Ace – two black men who are hurt, annoyed, frustrated and upset“, to the level of sensitivity they both demonstrated across what could have been just a rant, Seani and Ace made us all at The PMG very proud by displaying what we know they are capable of. Of course it is a shame that it took these tragic events for them to have created this style of jaw dropping radio, but when the call was made they both proved what incredible broadcasters they are. It went on to become one of the highlights for The Guardian newspaper for 2020, and is definitely one of ours.
ACE & SEANI B – SUMMER 2020