Merritone honours radio pioneers

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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Several disc jockeys who made their mark on radio in the tri-state area during the 1970s and 1980s will be honoured at this year's Merritone (Memorial) Family Fun Day. The 21st renewal of this event takes place August 11 at Heckscher State Park in Long Island, New York.

The honorees are Gil Bailey, Earl 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, Ellen “Pat” Bailey and Vonnie McGowan.

Pat Bailey and McGowan will be recognised posthumously.

The day's theme will be 'Jamaica adio Day'.

“These first 25 years, widely regarded as the golden years of Jamaican radio, showcased well over 60 radio contributors and independent content providers,” noted Janice Julian, one of the organisers of Merritone Family Fun Day.

West Indian music and culture had little presence on radio in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in the late 1960s when there was an influx of immigrants from that region to those states.

Jamaican personalities like Cobb, Williams and Bailey helped change that with influential programmes on independent radio stations like WHBI, WRTN, now WVIP and WLIB.

— Howard Campbell

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