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Merritone (Memorial) Family Funday to Honor Radio Pioneers in NYC 


New York: A number of New York/tri-state area radio pioneers including Earl “Rootsman” Chin, Clinton Lindsay, Safia E. Seivwright, Ken Williams, Jefferson A. Barnes and Gil Pat Bailey will be honored with New York State Congressional proclamations from the office of Yvette D. Clarke, of the 11th Congressional District, New York for their outstanding contribution to the development and preservation of Jamaica’s culture from 1970 through to 1995. The awards will be presented at the twenty-first (21) staging of the Merritone (Memorial) Family Fun Day, slated for Heckscher State Park, Long Island on Sunday, August 11, 2019.

DJ Roy


“These first 25 years, widely regarded as the Golden Years of Jamaican radio, showcased well over sixty (60) radio contributors and independent content providers,” noted Janice Julian, one of the principals behind the concept.

Gil and Pat Bailey with Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson

Posthumous awards will also be given to Ellen “Pat” Bailey and Vonnie McGowan who spent her last years in Florida. As part of the celebration, Sunday, August 11 will be declared ‘Jamaican Radio Day’ at the annual festival.

“The collective contributions of those who have and are still gracing the airwaves of WHBI, WRTN, now WVIP, WLIB and many others, will be acknowledged and celebrated at a ‘radio village’, throughout the day at the festival as we celebrate ‘Jamaica Radio Day,’” according to Conroy Allison, producer/host of the Merritone Family Festival.

Conroy Allison

The ‘Jamaican Radio Day’ is expected to reunite radio personalities from WHBI, WNWK, WPAT, WRTN, WVIP, WWRL, WKCR, WNYU and WFMU (Fordham University), with friends from sister stations WLIB and WBLS, regarded also as key influencers in the Jamaican radio market in the early days. Data from 1970 to 2019 shows well over 150 djs, announcers and broadcasters who have graced the airwaves in the arena of brokered radio.

Allison had a special ‘shout out’ for Tony Cobb, aka the ‘Cat behind the glass,’ the man credited as the first Jamaican to host a radio program in the tri-state area 50 years ago.

Francine Chin

“We applaud Tony Cobb for his pioneering work as a broadcaster when Jamaicans in the diaspora did not have much of a voice in media. Tony, who is still an on-air personality at WVIP, 93.5FM, was also the man who booked many of the international acts for the Reggae Sumfest when the event started in the mid-80s. He was instrumental in introducing R&B music to Jamaica and booked pop star Michael Jackson and his brothers (The Jackson 5) for their first and only appearance at the National Stadium in Kingston, offered Allison”, himself a veteran broadcaster, going back to the days when WLIB was the station of record for the Caribbean community.

For more information about the Merritone Family Funday please call 917-202-2435

The full list of awardees are:


1.       Christopher “Disco Kid” Hazelhurst

2.       Christopher “Dubbmaster” McDonald

3.       Clive Hudson

4.       Clive Williams

5.       Francine Chin

6.       Gem Morrison

7.       George Brash

8.       Janice Julian

9.       Jefferson Sergant

10.    Pat McKay

11.    Roy “DJ Roy” Walters

12.    Sister Lovely’

13.   Tony Cobb

14.   Vonnie McGowan



15.   Earl “Rootsman” Chin  – Pioneer

16.   Clinton Lindsay – Pioneer

17.   Safia E. Seivwright – Pioneer

18.   Ken Williams  – Pioneer

19.   Jefferson A. Barnes   – Pioneer

20.   Gil & Pat Bailey – Pioneer

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