NEW YORK – Jamaican broadcasters who helped put Caribbean radio on the map in the tri-state area (New York-New Jersey- Connecticut) during the 1970s and 1980s, will be recognized at this year’s Merritone (Memorial) Family Fun Day.
The event’s 21st renewal is scheduled for August 11 at Heckscher State Park in Long Island, New York. Its theme will be ‘Jamaica Radio Day’.
Honorees are Jamaican-American broadcasters Gil Bailey, Earl “Rootsman” Chin, Ken Williams, Jeff Barnes, Clive Hudson, Jeff Sarge, Tony Cobb, Disco Kid, Safia Seivright, Francine Chin, Pat McKay, Sister Lovely, DJ Roy, Dubb Master Chris, Gem Morrison, Clinton Lindsay, Ellen “Pat” Bailey, and the late Vonnie McGowan.
Pat Bailey and McGowan will be recognized posthumously.
According to Janice Julian, one of the organizers of Merritone Family Fun Day, “These first 25 years (1970-95), widely regarded as the golden years of Jamaican radio, showcased well over 60 radio contributors and independent content providers.”
West Indian music and culture had little presence on radio in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in the late 1960s and early 1970s when there was a massive influx of immigrants from that region to those states. Cobb, Williams and Bailey helped change that with groundbreaking programs on independent radio stations like WHBI, WRTN, now WVIP and WLIB.
Lindsay took up the baton in the 1980s with a ‘rude boy’ sound that exploded from underground venues in Kingston, the Jamaica capital.
“When I started promoting dancehall music on the radio, nobody else on radio was doing it on that level. You will get the occasional hits from Yellowman, Michigan and Smiley, Trinity, Lone Ranger and such, but when I came along, I started exposing the other players like Peter Metro, Burro Banton, John Wayne, Early B…you know, the real hardcore artists,” he recalled.
Lindsay is now based in South Florida where he operates Foundation Radio. He started his career on college radio in 1976, and moved to WHBI (which became WNWK) in 1982.
He welcomes the Merritone award.
“This award means a lot to me, it tells me that I am recognized for the work I’ve done and everybody likes to be rewarded. I thank the organizers for it, and I also congratulate my colleagues,” he said.