Reprinted from Jamaica Gleaner
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
IDOLISED AS the 'Boogie Man' when his fame soared during the 1980s and '90s, Barrington Seymour Gordon's sterling contribution to broadcasting, particularly in radio, paid off Monday when he was inducted into the Order of Distinction in the rank of officer at a flamboyant ceremony at King's House.
Gordon, whose captivating style endeared him to thousands of radio fans under the moniker 'Barry G', said he was elated at being recognised after years of quality work in the field of broadcasting.
Dating back to the early 1970s, Gordon, while attending Kingston College, got permission from veteran broadcaster Ralston McKenzie to visit the studios of Radio Jamaica after school to learn about broadcasting.
He had a vision of working in radio. In 1975, his dream came true when he hosted his first show on radio at the now-defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC).
"I have never been to a broadcasting school. I have never been to any post-high school college in relation to the profession. It has always been hands-on while being on the job," he told The Gleaner at the Heroes Day event.
"It started when I used to observe the senior people in radio who were before my time at RJR. It started in 1972," he recounts.
With only two radio stations at the time battling for supremacy, RJR had a stranglehold on listenership and was voted number one, according to a media survey.
However, JBC Radio 1, with the emerging 'Boogie Man' mania, captured the airwaves and placed the afternoon show in the lead.
Reviewing the current media landscape, particularly radio, Gordon decried the waning broadcasting output.
"I lay the blame for the crisis we are in, in broadcasting, with the owners of the radio stations. They are at fault (because) there are practitioners in the country who can deliver good, decent, wholesome radio, but they are looking at their employment from a monetary standpoint," he explains.
According to Gordon, media owners "are employing a lot of people who can mix tunes, somebody who is a good sound-system operator, but in the process, the scholastic side is being neglected: they don't speak properly, their diction is poor, they crash the tenses, and you start asking yourself, 'Who is a broadcaster?' Would you want your child to be listening to a radio show where you are not being guided grammatically?"
Gordon said he hoped his success in broadcasting would serve as a motivator for many young men whose talents remain undiscovered because they lack opportunities.
He credited his grandmother's tenacity in raising him, without a mother and father, for his achievements.