The Barbadian institution we know today as Starcom Network, once Barbados Rediffusion, is as much a part of our landscape as Holetown, Chalky Mount or Six Roads. And it has been home to some of the most respected personalities in Caribbean radio.
In the larger scheme of broadcasting in Barbados though, Dennis Johnson’s near three decades-long sojourn at River Road is but a small slice of that history. Yet, he has had such a phenomenal impact in that time that is it almost impossible to imagine Starcom Network without him.
Dennis was a man of strong character; a man committed to intellectual and broadcasting honesty and excellence; one who was not afraid to challenge the establishment; to defend the proverbial “small man” — then without so much as batting the eyelid, let that same small man know he was wrong.
He loved to talk, to discuss, to argue, to share his opinion, but always with the greatest of respect for those who engaged him — he was made for radio. Or perhaps, radio was made for him, for he was a natural in front of the mic.
I have engaged Dennis on many occasions over the 30 years. He was unfailingly courteous and always fair. We did not speak often but when we did the conversations were deep, sincere and meaningful.
While we all knew of his health challenges, he never hid behind them. Indeed, it reinforced in many of us his quiet courage.
I shall miss Dennis at a personal level. But Barbados in my view will miss his voice and his message. To his family, we extend our condolences. May the passage of time ease the depth of your loss.