Best Reggae Radio Program - 2001
Sounds of the Caribbean
Spin the FM dial and there's no shortage of reggae music to be heard. Commercial juggernaut WEDR-FM (99.1) gives time to the latest hits out of Kingston, a slew of local pirate stations pump out a steady diet of gruff dancehall, and Saturday afternoon's reggae showcase on WDNA-FM (88.9) usually opens with the sweetly skanking rhythms of ska. Amid all this competition, though, WLRN's overnight institution Clint O'Neil stands out for the very reason he's remained a beloved favorite of his listeners since he first hit the airwaves in 1979: He plays everything, from late-Sixties rock-steady classics through mid-Seventies roots tunes, right up to the latest records out of Jamaica. The one common denominator is that they're all songs O'Neil loves. And in a world of computer-generated playlists and corporate radio consultants, when even the pirate broadcasters often sound market-driven, that's no small feat. If he feels like spinning a solid half-hour of the Meditations' rippling melodies, that's just what he's going to do. Praise Jah, indeed.