Saluting Alan Magnus (Part 2): The Legacy

The Early RJR Work Years

In an interview with The Gleaner, Magnus described his first decade at RJR as “troubled”. During that time, he was fired twice for falling asleep on the job, and even missed the meeting planned to discuss his falling asleep on the job because … he fell asleep! He also expressed appreciation for his early bosses, who were very understanding and helped him develop as a broadcaster. His experience in England in his youth, he said, taught him that bad weather did not stop people from going to work. As a result, he developed very strict work ethic, getting up for many mornings by 3 a.m. to get to work for the early morning show.

Magnus said he spent his first year at RJR to see if he liked working there, then gave himself five years to see if he really enjoyed what he was going. After that, he decided he loved what he did and would remain with RJR. During that first decade, he was part of a stellar group of broadcasters that included famous names like Radcliffe Butler, Neville Willoughby, Marie Garth, and Henry Stennett.

A Love Connection

In 1976, Kerry Tingling began working at RJR. She had just joined McCann and was new to the studios of the radio station. She met Alan, and the two struck up a friendship, which culminated in marriage a year later in September 1977. According to a Gleaner article, their early years of marriage were difficult. Notably, they made a $2,000 downpayment to the National Housing Trust on their house, which cost $14,500. They had no furniture either at the start – no refrigerator or stove – and shared one mattress on blocks on their bedroom floor. From these humble beginnings has emerged a marriage that has lasted for 40 years, and seen the development of four children, two from Alan’s previous marriage.

Ending On A High

Asked if he would change anything in his over four and a half decades on radio, Magnus said no, because everything contributed to the person he is today. He decided to retire at 74, after 46 years on radio and impacting over three decades of Jamaicans with his big voice and even bigger personality. His advice to young radio reporters? “Stay relevant and have an opinion on everything.” After all these years, he leaves the world of radio on what can definitely be considered a high note.

Sources: Jamaica Gleaner Newspaper Archives, The Gleaner Interview Series with Alan Magnus: Part 1 and Part 2 , Alan Magnus Drops The Mic