‘Good morning, Jamaica!’ The voice of a beloved broadcaster falls silent

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Jamaicans will no longer wake up to the rallying cry, “Good mooooooorning Jamaicaaaaa!” Sometimes, voices on the radio become part of people's everyday routines, and the voice of François St. Juste, filled with energy, optimism, and good humour, every weekday morning, was like that. The veteran broadcaster passed away on August 29 at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, at the age of 60. The cause of death has not been disclosed, but he had reportedly been ailing for a few weeks.

Up to the time of his illness, St. Juste had been co-hosting Radio Jamaica’s (RJR) morning show “Sunny Side Up” with Paula-Anne Porter Jones; the duo had been colleagues for the past five years. Porter Jones tweeted a photograph of them in happier times:

Having heard the shocking news, one broadcaster broke down while reading the midday news. Her colleague shared:

President of the Press Association of Jamaica George Davis described St. Juste as a “natural,” with the “consummate radio voice”:

For years, thousands of Jamaicans woke up to François’s signature call ‘Good Moooorning Jamaica!!!!’ which sent them out into the world with a smile on their faces […] His deep baritone was synonymous with morning radio, and his reminder that ‘It’s Friiiiiiidddaaaaay!’ signaled the start of the week-end.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted:

Opposition Leader Mark Golding added:

Even the Jamaica Constabulary Force shared its appreciation:

Jamaicans from all walks of life flooded social media with their thoughts on what St. Juste’s familiar voice meant to them. One listener commented that she had expected to hear him that Monday morning:

One former broadcast journalist commented in a Twitter thread filled with memories and lively photographs:

Popular social media comedian Julie Mango tweeted a tribute in her own inimitable style, with a rendition of St. Juste’s popular “Good morning, Jamaica” cry:

A leading member of the Anglican church community tweeted:

Born on January 24, 1962, to Marguerite St. Juste, who worked in media, and Franklyn “Chappie” St. Juste, a well-known Caribbean film and video producer, he was both a witty commentator and a canny interviewer. In 1987, when he was just 25, St. Juste received the Caribbean Media Award for his programme “François Goes the Distance,” in the category of services to the community. A broadcaster for over 30 years, he became a leading voice on Fame FM, where he began working as a student over the summer holidays. He went on to host the station's morning show, and became programme manager and executive producer in 1996. He also held the position of general manager for Radio Services at the RJR Group, which owns the station.

St. Juste had actually studied Physics at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, but his love of music took over after he and some friends started a sound system on campus. Their first radio appearance was on a Saturday night show called “Discomania.” Disc jockeys and other members of the entertainment industry expressed sadness at his passing.

St. Juste was seen as a mentor to many aspiring media stars. Popular radio disk jockey ZJ Sparks recalled the day St. Juste offered her a job:

The general manager of Television Jamaica shared:

Information Minister Robert Morgan, a former journalist himself, commented in an interview with the Jamaica Observer:

One of the things that is so wonderful about François is the amount of people, young people, that he believed in, and you see it all over, people who have gone through his tutelage, who he has worked with, and many of them have gone on from strength to strength.

Minister Morgan also tweeted a delightful photo of St. Juste in the studio:

In a 2020 interview, St. Juste shared his thoughts on the place of radio in today’s digital media world:

Radio is still here, because it has a purpose and it will continue to serve that purpose. However, it’s a fact — times are changing […] The way people consume is in fact changing […] We have to figure out how radio manipulates itself and evolves in the changing times that we have to deal with.

A powerhouse in Jamaican radio, St. Juste’s legacy is robust and will likely carry the ever-popular medium into the future. Meanwhile, his cheerful energy and sheer zest for living will be deeply missed.


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