[OPINIONS]:::Congratulations...Radio Jamaica and re-diffusion

No. 118 Monday, July 19, 2010
By Jontf714023 (at) yahoo (dot) com
I do hope Radio Jamaica and Re-diffusion has not become so sophisticated that the Company has forgot­ten its roots. I made two calls last week trying to get to a senior or some such per­son whom I suppose would be interested in the musical part [beginnings] of the now large conglomerate's history.

    I was unsuccessful. Perhaps the lady operator who took over from the machine in answer to my first call, was too young to appreciate the meaning of history. She cut me off as I tried to explain the purpose of my call. On the second occasion, the phone rang over fifteen times before the machine instructed me to leave a message. At any rate, primarily because I recall my first dealing with ZQI (the operation's inherited name) out of which they grew into sophistication, I say LONG LIVE RJR.
           A BIT OF HISTORY
    I understand [what a bloody shame] that CIVICS is no longer a subject of study in the Jamaican school system. Alongside which I understand one reason why the average school child appears so daft when it comes down to a grasp of the knowledge of beneficial Jamaican history. Let me remind readers that any Jewish boy one meets in any part of the world, can tell of the history of the Jews. Any wonder that people occupies such world prominence?
    Prior to WWII the only radio stations operating in Jamaica were amateurs using Short Wave Morse Code and voice calls with one exception: ZQI operating out of Sea View Avenue in the corporate area of Kingston and St Andrew on the Short Medium
Wave Band at 5 megacycles (60 metre band) owned and operated by John Grinan. There are two others to my recollection that come to mind: VPRS owned and operated by Ruel Samuels and another (whose exact nomenclature I do not recall) owned and operated by my cousin, Stephen Jones. The reader must under­stand, however, that those gentle­men were radio engineers who built their own radio transceivers; [a combination radio transmitter and receiver].
           WWII BEGINS
    In September of 1939 World War 'Iwo was declared by Great Britain. Immediately all amateur radio operations were declared illegal, and John Grinan voluntarily turned over ZQI to the Colonial Government of Jamaica. The government used the facility to report war news but only per­sons wealthy enough to acquire All Wave radios could tune in to the station. I joined the RAF in 1943 and was carted off to service in England. When I returned from service in 1946 there was ZQI/RJR in operation but most radio owners of the Corporate area could still not tune in to the facility and had to settle for rental of a Re-diffusion box that carried radio by wire like a telephone. I opened and operated a radio repair shop [HEDLEY JONES RADIO SERVICE] operating from the unlikely address of 136 & 7/8 King St Kingston. I then began a service of converting radios for those who could afford it from medium wave (MW) to medium short wave (MSW) and made a good bit of money in the effort.
    In March of 1950 the Hedley Jones Quartet, a musical aggregation consisting of: Hedley Jones, electric guitar; Billy Cooke, piano; Noel Gillespie, double bass; Joe Dawkins, drums, was hired by the Daily Express, a then City Kingston afternoon tabloid news paper to advertise the paper, hosting a 6pm-7pm program that featured alternatively female songster Mercedes Kirkwood and Winston "try it nuh" Tate. Our theme song was "COUNT EVERY STAR". The announcer was Dennis Gick who labeled us "the four discs". In July of that year the station was transferred to its present location making the Hedley Jones Quartet the very first musical aggregation to broadcast live on a commercial program from RJR at its present location. I am conceited enough to think that history worth repeating. The late Cecil 'Sonny' Bradshaw of blessed memory made it a point of duty to visit and congratulate the band during the program on that Friday evening in July of 1950. What say you RJR? Would you have not returned a call from any of today's tawdry lot appearing on your very musically poor private sector TV or radio commercials? Any how I still say congratulations on your platinum coming of age.
    He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool; avoid him.
    He who knows not and knows he knows not is simple; instruct him;
    He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep; awake him;
    He who knows and knows he knows is wise; follow him.
[Hah noh mi seh soh]NB.

No comments:

Post a Comment