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Allan Magnus -File
Allan Magnus -File—-

By Mel Cooke—

It is not only at the turntables – or, in these digital times, the hard drive – that there is a blurring of the lines between the broadcaster and recording artiste.

But while the disc jock on the FM band who becomes a disc jock in a dancehall is now familiar to the point of being unremarkable (and we should not forget Barrington ‘Barry G’ Gordon’s role in making this transition popular with his Wha Dat Disco), there are still not that many people who are at home in the broadcasting and recording studio.

One example whom many may have forgotten, unfortunately, is Mikey Campbell, the Dread at the Controls who died in 2008.

He was highly influential in getting roots rocking reggae on radio in the mid-1970s through his Dread at the Controls programme on theJamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC).

After his stint with the radio station ended, Campbell’s recording efforts carried his focus on reggae by themselves, one album having the same name as the radio show.

Michael Campbell aka The Dread at the control

Michael Campbell aka The Dread at the controls

There were several others, including World War III and the compilationMikey Dread’s Best Sellers. He did production work with rock band The Clash and British reggae band UB40, among many others in and outside Jamaica.

As far as broadcasting artistes go, though, Campbell was an anomaly, with the volume and consistency of his recorded output. A much more common situation is that of Allan Magnus and the late Neville Willoughby, who died in December 2006.

JBC and RJR veteran

Willoughby, a veteran of both JBC and RJR, had his country’s name in two of his more popular recordings. One – Christmas in Ja – is seasonal, and he also did I Love Jamaica. But there was another country on Willoughby’s mind when he did Moon Over Mayaro.

Neville Willoughby on stage in 1972

Neville Willoughby on stage in 1972

Magnus, the long-standing co-host of RJR’s morning programme, transfers the humorous bent in his broadcasting personality to the studio on his single Flying Machine:

When the weather is fine and

clouds have gone by

I go up in the air waving

people goodbye

I go up, I go down

I go round and round and


I can fly with the birds

I can float with the wind…

People on the ground

Gathered all around to


There’s a feeling inside me

That gives me the urge to go


But I know what goes up

must eventually fall

So I won’t take no chances


Heather Grant

Heather Grant

There are two Heathers in the broadcaster/singer mix. One is Heather Cummings, the other Heather ‘Brown Sugar’ Grant, the latter especially well known for winning the Festival Song Contest in 1992 with Mek We Put Things Right.

And then there are those broadcasters, literally in the dancehall, ZJ Liquid asking the “wifey walk out and matie stan’ up”, with DJ Sunshine (who took on the name Katrina at one point) doing A Doh Care AnymoreNuh Let Me Go and Run Some Money, among other tracks.

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