Kingston 12 Media is the parent company of Kingston12.net a predominantly reggae music information, culture and related destination and lifestyle website that host Kingston 12 (K12) music – a 24/7 digital music channel that presents the very best reggae music from Jamaica and countries around the world just the way the original icons intended. The website combine information about music and living well with a music format that we identify as Adult Classic & Contemporary Reggae Radio (ACCRR ), and is designed to expose Gen X and Gen Y to the music of the Masters, while providing exposure for many contemporary artists and music that are usually not heard on other reggae channels or radio stations. Kingston 12 is a 24/7 conscious reggae party that is programmed in accord with how we believe our listeners use audio services. As a result, one should not be surprised to hear some of the classic R & B, Classic Jazz vocals and instrumentals, Pop hits, early Jamaican recordings, along with hits from world music capitals dropped into the playlist. We consciously break the rules of traditional play-list development and “Billboard formatting”.
We will at times, leverage content form the numerous live events. Our strategy also involves heavy brand extension – leveraging our Kingston 12 brand with social media tools to promote and expand use of content created specifically for kingston12.net. In addition, our digital team will always seek to utilize our digital assets to define and complement entertainment outreach and engagement where ever live reggae music is played.
The term Kingston 12 represents the postal or zip code in West-Central Kingston, Jamaica that along with areas of Trench Town (Kingston 13) and the south-central part of the city, functioned as the axis of that cultural renaissance that gave the world reggae music. It is the home of the Ambassador Theater – the place that was the flagship in presenting new artists to Jamaica and the world. The Ambassador (Bass) along with the Majestic, Palace and Ward theatres provide the stages for the Vere Johns’ Hour – a talent show that introduced the country and subsequently – the world to artists like Alton Ellis, Ken Booth, Bob Marley, Don Drummond, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Peter Touch, Millie Small, Hortense Ellis, Bob Andy, Jackie Edwards and many of the stars that became the icons of the reggae music industry. Kingston 12 was the “Harlem” of the Caribbean. An area that attracted artists such as Jackie Opel and Lord Creator who came all the way from Barbados and Trinidad, respectively.
Jamaica is often referred to as the “loudest little island in the world”. Its music has been a global force for more than forty years, an extraordinary achievement for an island with population less than three million. The roots of this music are bounded by the island’s history and its people. The cultures of African slaves and free Maroons, the religions introduced by European slave masters, that of the slaves themselves together with religions introduced by the indentured laborers who came to the island after the abolition of slavery all played a role in laying the foundation for the Jamaican music forms that has evolved from Kumina, Mento to Ska, Rock Steady and now Reggae.
The first Jamaican recording studio was opened by Stanley Motta in 1951 and recorded “Mento” music, a fusion of European and African folk dance music. American Rhythm & Blues records imported from New Orleans by the large “Sound Systems” was the music that most people listen to at that time. As a result, Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga (prior to his political career) and a few partners established West Indies Records Ltd (WIRL) to press US R& B records (mostly from New Orleans) in Jamaica. By the mid 1950s both facilities began recording Jamaican version of US R & B records. The Sound Systems were operated by pioneers like Clement Dodd (the “Downbeat”), Duke Reid (the “Trojan”) and “King Edward – the Giant”. The Sound Systems provide a reasonable alternative for the poorer sector of the population who wanted entertainment but could not afford to hire bands like Byron Lee and the Dragoneers, Kes Chin and the Souvenirs and the Percy Myers Combo for their parties. The “dancehall selector culture” developed and flourished during this period, and the art of “toasting”, that usually consisted of rhyming vocal patterns over instrumentals that later evolved into social commentary, became an important part of the entertainment.
The music evolved from Mento to Ska, to Rock Steady and by the late 1960s, the term “reggae” was introduced. Although it still had part of its roots in New Orleans rhythm & blues, reggae soon acquired the lament-like style of chanting and emphasized the syncopated beat. It also made explicit the relationship with the “Rastafarians” culture that advocated mass emigration back to Africa – a concept introduced in Jamaica many years earlier by the Marcus Garvey Movement, and incorporated the African Nyah-Bingi drumming style – often described as (a style that “mimics the heartbeat with its pattern of “thump-thump, pause, thump-thump”). Compared with rock music, reggae music is said to have inverted the role of bass and the guitar. The bass takes the lead, while the guitar takes on what is describes as a “typical hiccupping pattern”. The paradox of reggae, of course, is that at one time this music that was “unique to Jamaica” has now become a world-wide phenomenon, with reggae artists from Hamburg Germany, Japan, Hawaii, USA, England, New Zealand and at times, South Africa contributing significantly to today’s body of work.
Kingston 12 intends to rewrite the “digital radio playbook” – de-emphasizing gimmicks, jingles, meaningless lyrics and focusing on the combination discovery, great talent, quality song writing and technology to deliver relevant, engaging, meaningful, content and entertainment that hopefully can make each day a little easier.
Unlike the majority of legacy and internet radio stations that play reggae music, our content strategy is really simple – deliver, engaging, culturally-relevant entertaining content to a world-wide listenership – content that focuses on quality, conscious lyrics and at times, musically underscore the challenging issues that “keep our listeners up at nights”. Kingston 12 is not the conventional internet radio channel. Its companion website kingston12.net –will try to be both a repository for repurposing content – providing added value for listeners and sponsors, and a marketing tool for the reggae music industry and the supporting culture. Our goal is to attract both listeners and viewers in equal numbers. The website and music channel together present a platform that enables interaction, engagement, discovery, sharing and most important, entertainment and fun.
The website focuses almost entirely on entertainment and culture with some relevant lifestyle and information “you can use”. All articles, opinion pieces and blogs on kingston12.net will adhere to the ethical standards adopted by the Society of Professional Journalists.
In general, our website will try to meet most of the needs of listeners who have made the transition from legacy radio to multi-channel, multi-platform users – where videos of live performances, music videos, artists’ interviews and other engagement activities are as important as pure music content. Kingston12.net is intended to provide a “meeting place” for anyone whose desire is to participate in the reggae music community’s efforts to celebrate cultural diversity, commit to equality, and economic and social justice. It is a place where like-minded citizens of the world can communicate, share or exchange information. In addition, we hope to provide an entry point for all things reggae music while presenting an infrastructure for communication about the things that directly affects our lives and the world we live in – via blogs and social media.