(CMR) Veteran Jamaica broadcaster François St Juste died Monday morning at the University Hospital of the West Indies after battling an illness.
St Juste worked at Radio Jamaica as co-host with Paula-Ann Porter-Jones on the morning program ‘Sunny Side Up.' According to Radio Jamaica, Francois St. Juste spent more than four decades with the RJRGLEANER Group, principally on air at FAME and Radio Jamaica 94FM, as well as manager for the group's radio brands for a period.
In response to his passing, the company said: “RJRGLEANER family expresses our deep regret, and along with the Radio Jamaica family and the FAME family, we wish his family comfort in this trying time.” CEO of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group Gary Allen said he felt a “deep sense of shock” at the passing of St. Juste. Although the broadcaster had been ailing “in the last couple of weeks,” Mr. Allen said the group had been “hoping for the best.”
Broadcaster Paula-Ann Porter Jones, with whom St. Juste hosted the Radio Jamaica morning program Sunny Side Up until his passing, recounted that it was St. Juste who auditioned her to work on FAME years ago.
“There I was thinking that I was oh so great, you know, I can do this. And afterwards, his very kind way of pointing out there were several words that I got wrong and ways that I could have done better. And that was just so him, always teaching but in a way that helps us to understand and not feel bad about being the best yet, because he always put it so that there was room for growth and improvement,” she recalled.
She said his passing has “rocked the nation, not just in broadcasting or entertainment where he worked, but across different spheres of Jamaican life because of what he did for us and because of how he connected with us through his show.”
In a 2020 interview, St. Juste explained how he got into media, despite studying physics at the University of the West Indies. His love of music, he said, had led him to start a sound system on campus with some friends.
At the time, there was a Saturday night program called Discomania, where young DJs were invited, so he and his friends applied to appear on the show, which became his first radio exposure. St. Juste said his first on-air experience happened by chance during a summer program on FAME FM, which was a brand new radio station at the time.
“I went down and went there every day and just hung around, and there was a little bit of training and learning music and hanging out in the library and things like that. One day somebody got sick, and I was there, and they said you have to go on the air,” he recounted in the September 11, 2020, interview with Dionne Jackson Miller on Beyond the Headlines.