BY RICHARD JOHNSON —
FOR close to half a century, Jamaicans have awoken to the voice of broadcaster Alan Magnus on Radio Jamaica (RJR). That is about to change in a few days when he demits ‘office’.
Magnus, who has been at RJR since 1971, is not leaving the airwaves totally.
“I have pointed out to management that I will make myself available to do The Nutty Buddies with Dorraine (Samuels). I am available for outside broadcasts, and if an announcer reports ill I am available to sit in,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
When asked if he will miss waking up for his 5:00 am shift, Magnus was unequivocal.
“For the past year I have been thinking about it — whether or not I have made the right decision. But the truth is all good things must come to an end, and I would much rather walk when I am able than try to when I can’t,” he said, adding that he has a lot of catching up to do.
“A year ago I realised that it has been 45 years of waking up at 3:00 am and I thought to myself ‘this is madness’. There are so many things I have missed; for one, I have had to give-up my ‘night life’. You really can’t have a night life and wake up that early to be on the air… I certainly learned the hard way.”
Magnus’s tenure at RJR has given him a front seat view to the development of Jamaican music, from the early days of ska into rocksteady, reggae and dancehall. Though he has favourites which represents his personal style and taste, he will not compare the genres.
“It is really unfair to ask my opinion on this at this stage of my life. I am at the place like my parents when rock and roll first emerged and we were young and so into this new music. My parents hated it and thought [if] is this what music has become. After all these years on air I might not like dancehall, but I realize that I have become my parents and think it’s not music, and rubbish and just screaming and shouting. But the truth is, tastes change and I just play the music that the generations like,” Magnus said.
Three generations of Jamaicans grew up listening to Magnus, while getting ready for work or school. He was part of an elite cast of broadcasters at RJR that included Radcliffe Butler, Neville Willoughby, Marie Garth, and Henry Stennett.
Alan Magnus will sign off for the last time on RJR’s morning show at the end of March.