July 2, 2010
Lime pulls plug on Hot 97

Telecommunications provider LIME has confirmed that it has pulled all advertising from popular radio station HOT 97.1FM, in the wake of certain comments which are alleged to have been made by radio station announcers.{{more}}

At the same time, LIME has indicated that its ties with organizers of the country’s premier cultural event, the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC), have grown even stronger.

The move to pull the advertisements came following questions asked on one of HOT 97’s more popular shows about whether the judging in last Friday’s ragga soca competition may have favored the LIME sponsored ragga soca monarch, Delroy ‘Fireman’ Hooper.

Questions were asked as to whether the fact that one of the five judges in the competition is an employee of LIME, constituted a conflict of interest, and whether LIME, the platinum sponsor of Vincy Mas, is too deeply involved in the festival.

Marketing Manager of LIME, Fitz Huggins, speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, said that the company had made a business decision to withdraw its ads from Hot 97, saying that LIME did not want to be associated with anyone who was leveling accusations against them.

“We do not want to be a part of any baseless controversy,” Huggins said. “We are not going to fuel the ego of any station that thrives on controversy to boost its listenership.”

Huggins said the accusations leveled against his company were unwarranted, seeing that they (LIME) had no input in the selection of judges for the ragga soca competition or any other show for that matter.

He said that the inclusion of a LIME employee on the panel of judges was a decision of the CDC, and that that particular judge had been used by the Corporation for years.

“He (the Judge in question) is a reputable judge; there is no doubt in his credibility… he had judged in previous competitions in which Fireman had won and lost,” Huggins indicated.

This is not the first time that LIME and Hot 97.1 have been at loggerheads. In 2008, the music of the LIME sponsored Vincy Soca Dans, which includes Hooper, Luta, Jamesy P, Tabia and DJ Taurrus, was banned from the station for two years.

Huggins indicated that even during that time, LIME had paid for advertising on the station.

He said that the situation has changed now that the station is taking personal stabs at LIME.

“That is the only station that does not play calypso and pan music; that is the only station that bans local music,” Hugging said.

Regarding its relationship with the CDC, Huggins said that the ties will grow even stronger despite the allegations.

He said that role of a sponsor is to help with the promotion of an event in order to make the end result better.

This sentiment was echoed by Chief Executive Officer of the CDC, Ashford Wood, who said that more companies should follow the example of LIME.

“The more involved the companies are, the more pressure off us,” Wood noted.

“LIME has been taking up a lot of slack by helping out especially in the rural carnival activities.”

“We need the business sector to become involved and make the Carnival bigger.”

Wood indicated that moving forward, the Corporation will have to make a decision regarding the use of the judge in question, in other events, where there may be a perceived conflict of interest.

He said that the veteran judge has been involved in the process for decades and that his integrity had never come into question.

Wood further disclosed that a ranking system, where the winner is selected through an average of scores, was used to determine the winner of the Ragga Soca competition.

This same system is expected to be used at tomorrow’s soca monarch competition.

Efforts to reach a HOT 97.1 spokesperson were futile.