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No Pan on TV - 50 Panoramas Later in Trinidad and Tobago --- “A Public Flogging!!”

A When Steel Talks op-ed

No steelpan on TV in Trinidad for semi-finals
No Panorama Broadcast for Semi-finals

Global - In the now classic Panorama tune “Band From Space” by Amrit Samaroo, the ‘aliens’ revealed that they learned everything about Pan from monitoring TTT (Trinidad & Tobago Television, the former incarnation of the government’s television station) on their intergalactic television sets.  Sadly for our ‘green friends’ from out-of-space, in this pinnacle year celebrating the annual Panorama competition - there was no television signal to monitor, galactically, internationally or locally this past Panorama semi finals.

Ironically this year, 2013, is supposed to be the acknowledgement and celebration of 50 years of steel orchestra Panorama competitions in Trinidad & Tobago, the “home of Steelpan.”  But without much or any explanation, there appeared to be no Pan on television this year for the prized Panorama semi-finals on the road to the national Panorama championships. By the way, TV, like the steelpan, just happens to be another great invention of the last century.

Absolutely no real-time TV broadcast locally or internationally (online). According to Pan music lovers, some reported that they called each of the local stations, and were told there were no plans to carry the semi-finals live and as it unfolded; some who lived abroad said their relatives complained to them that they could not see the semi-finals on local TV.  Incidentally, the steelband Panorama semi-finals have been broadcast live in previous years, and even were viewable online one occasion.

Whether by sheer coincidence, design and/or stupidity for cultural, political, economic or monetary gain - in any regard, it was a public relations and marketing disaster. Somebody is clearly not ready for prime time. The social connections on the internet were working overtime. The comments ranged from disappointment and embarrassment, to extreme condemnation of the perceived culprits in scuttling any TV broadcast of the panorama over the Panorama semi finals weekend.  According to ‘Pauline C’s’ post on the Trinidad and Tobago government’s CNMG’s (Caribbean New Media Group) ‘CTV’ message board:  it was a “Total total disgrace, to d biggest show on earth from our stations.”   Several disappointed Pan fans expressed similar sentiment there.

In many aspects because of the sheer number of participants the semi finals can draw, there is more interest than in the actual Panorama finals. So it would appear it was an opportunity missed on at least one level. But is anyone sure that any of the parties involved had any real vested interest in broadcasting the event?

So 50 years of Panorama later this is what was offered up to the world - no Pan in 2013 on TV. Was this the vision or plan for the event decades later?


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