St. Barths Online

News

Jul 16, 2004

RADIOMANIA

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Anyone who listens to the radio in Saint-Barth or Saint-Martin should have, by now, found a nice surprise. A new FM option (95.1 in Saint-Barth and 88.1 in Saint-Martin) dedicated solely to music. No talk. No news. No weather. No advertising (at least for now). The station is allied with Radio Saint Barth, with the music programming -a nice mix of Caribbean and contemporary- by Romaric Magras, known as Romy to his friends. This is the same young man (an island native) who works as a DJ, runs a company called Cactus Productions, that among other things presents free concerts at the stadium (such as last year's highly successful Chante Nwel, or Christmas concert, with a group of singers and dancers from Guadeloupe). Like the new radio station, the concert was free: a gift to the island from an unusual guy. Many years ago when we were busy running the local volleyball tournament, we were looking for a youngster to help us with the snack bar. Romy was there to help, earning a little extra pocket money in the meantime. Not too long after that, he was maybe all of 12 years old, and already on the air at the island's non-profit station, Radio St. Barth, where he is still part of the staff, and his brother, Rodolphe is the current president. "Music is our passion, so it's natural that the radio follows," says Romy, whose grandfather is one of the island's all time great accordion players. In fact, the kind of traditional music that grandpa plays will be part of Romy's radio programming as he plans thematic evenings, from 8pm to 10pm, centered around traditional Caribbean music from reggae to Latino. On Saturday night, this slot will be a dance mix, called fête à la case. "We don't have any more discos that play West Indian music," Romy laments. Thus he has come up with a solution for people who want to host dance parties at home. And on Sunday morning, he'll be playing old-time island music (who knows, maybe grandpa will even show up for a guest appearance!). Romy must have done a very good job banking his pocket money (he is also a good fund-raiser when it comes to finding sponsors). For the time being, Cactus Productions is footing the bill for the new radio frequency. "It's along the same idea as satellite radio," he says. "But people don't have that in their cars or in their boutiques." Now they do, thanks to Romy, who was recently honored for his efforts with first prize in a regional contest entitled "Talents 2004." The next phase, once he gets the funding in place, is an Internet version. All of this on an island where many of the young people continually complain that there is nothing for them to do. If only more of them would follow Romy's example and ask what they can do for their island, instead of what their island can do for them!

More to come,

 

Ellen Lampert-Greaux


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