Today, July 9, is the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Radio Jamaica -RJR -which aired its first broadcast at 5pm on that memorable day in 1950.
This marked a smooth transition from the ownership of an existing station, ZQI, to that of a new entity, the Jamaica Broadcasting Company, using the station name Radio Jamaica.
The first voice on RJR was that of Dennis Gick, Programmes Manager. He actually signed off for the last time from ZQI, as that station officially went off air, and immediately did the inaugural sign-on for RJR.
The second on-air voice was that of Governor John Huggins, followed by Douglas Judah, Chairman of the RJR Board. He promised that “the whole policy of Radio Jamaica will be to establish and operate a service which will constitute a responsible part of the life of the community.”
It would also bring to the people of Jamaica “welcomed instructive and educational entertainment,” he added.
Radio Jamaica became known as RJR in 1951 when it started a rediffusion service and officially became Radio Jamaica and Refiffusion - RJR.
It was also in 1951 that the station moved from its original Seaview Avenue location to its current home at 32 Lyndhurst Road.
Start of broadcasting
Radio broadcasting in Jamaica officially got underway eleven years earlier, when, on November 17, 1939, the radio station VP5PZ went on air with Governor Arthur Richards making the very first formal broadcast, announcing the birth of the station, and informing the public about war time austerity.
One year later the station was handed over to the government by its founder, John F. Grinan, and the name was changed to ZQI.
So, while RJR celebrates 65 years, tribute is also given to the pioneers of radio broadcasting who started this journey, 76 years ago.