Our Past & Present
Founding of Radio Montserrat
Radio Montserrat went on air in 1952 as the property of Frank Delisle, who broadcast from the basement of his home in Olveston, transmitting on 7 megahertz. Delisle used a crystal-controlled 40 watt transmitter to begin programming.
After Delisle could no longer dedicate his time to the operation of the station, the Government took over in 1957 and ZJB moved from Olveston to a new building at the Groves Agriculture compound. ZJB still operated with a volunteer staff. The staff was coordinated by Vincent Browne, Programme Organizer for ZJB’s Management Committee.
Most of the radio equipment at ZJB during the 60’s were built on site by Hylton and Denzil Edgecombe, two volunteer technicians who were later commended as they had no experience in broadcast technology outside of their own reading and experimenting. The visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1966 was covered by ZJB using amplifiers built from cake pans bought from a local hardware store.
Government realized the importance of broadcasting and dedicated to pay a staff of three in 1964; Technician Denzil Edgecombe, Senior Programme Officer, John Ryan and Announcer Jean Chambers. Although Government formally took over the station in 1957, ZJB was seen as an experiment until the decision was taken to remunerate the staff.
The first appointed and longest serving Station Manager of ZJB was R. William Wilsie White who assumed the position in 1968 until 1985.
Mike Jarvis took over the reins as Station Manager in 1984 at the age of 29. He was faced with Hurricane Hugo which wreaked havoc throughout the island. The station was damaged and FM transmission had to be implemented from the Caribbean Broadcast Union (CBU) in the form of a Guyanese engineer, Ron Case who worked along with Lowell Mason and other ZJB Technicians to broadcast on 92.5 FM.
As assessment of the hurricane damage revealed that only the transmitter, an SX IA H and a few microphones were worth salvaging.
Rose Willock who previously worked as an announcer at Radio Montserrat returned as Station Manager in 1990 and two years, the staff moved into a brand new fit for purpose, state of the art building at Lovers Lane. Unfortunately the station only enjoyed three years at its new building, having to relocate to four locations in the north, seeking refuge from volcanic activity.
2000 & BEYOND
ZJB is now managed by Herman Sargeant who assumed this position in the mid-2000’s. The staff continues to operate out of its temporary location in Sweeney’s. Plans are progressing for a permanent home for the Radio Station. Construction is ongoing on a fit for purpose building at a site in Davy Hill.