Our History of Broadcasting Excellence
The wired broadcasting system in Barbados was started by Commander Mansfield Robinson R.N. (Ret’d) who arrived in Barbados from England in 1934. The Company was formed on October 24th, 1934, under the name of Radio Distribution (Barbados) Ltd. The first manager was Mr. H.J. Witnell and on April 2nd, 1935, the first subscriber was connected to Cable Radio in Barbados. It is here that the STARCOM Story started, with a service called Radio Distribution operating from a building in Wildey. It was the start of the broadcasting era in Barbados and a tradition of excellence.
Regular daily transmission consisting of relays of programmes from the BBC and short wave stations in America and Canada, were first broadcast on a schedule from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. In 1936, transmissions were increased to include 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
The Company’s premises and amplifying equipment were destroyed by fire in 1938 but with new equipment and new premises, the Service was fully restored within two weeks.
Mr. J.M. Laing was appointed Manager on the outbreak of war in 1939 and programmes were improved by the introduction of a record library. A local news service was begun. Announcers and Operators were located at the receiving station outside the town, but in 1947 when the number of subscribers had risen to 1,800, a studio was built in the Bridgetown premises and regular broadcasts from the studio were undertaken.
At this stage, the Company received technical assistance from Broadcast Relay Service Ltd., of London. Mr. Laing was transferred to Radio Trinidad and Mr. J.H. Peacock became Manager/Engineer, being succeeded in Apil, 1951 by Colonel R.W.R. Oliver as General Manager, who retired in 1967 and was succeeded by the Chief Engineer, F.G. Duesbury, who became the first Barbadian General Manager. He retired in 1989.
Rediffusion Services Ltd
Early in 1951 the company was taken over by Rediffusion Services Ltd., a subsidiary of Overseas Rediffusion Ltd. of London. From a small studio at Trafalgar Street in 1947, the company relocated to the present River Road headquarters in 1958. Rediffusion’s innovation enabled it to blaze countless trails in the broadcast media, from radio relays in the early days to the full fledged dynamic broadcasting services of today.
In September 1979, the Nation Corporation purchased Barbados Rediffusion Services Ltd., enabling the company to expand its broadcasting division through the launch of its second radio station, Voice of Barbados (790 VOB) on May 1st, 1981. VOB created the first morning show (the Roadrunner), in 1984, broadcasting live from neighbourhoods and villages throughout the island, Monday to Friday. On May 30th, 1988 YESS 104.1 FM was introduced as the company’s third radio service.
A new station is born
On November 30th, 1997, Star Radio closed its doors and the next day December 1st, a new station was born. HOTT 95.3 FM caters to the under 25 age group and is hosted by some of the best young radio deejays on the island. It is the number one choice of youthful listeners.
In order to serve better the core target audience, the company, on the eve of the new millennium, rebranded 104.1 FM as LOVE FM 104. It has been a major success story.
On Friday November 27, 1999, Barbados Rediffusion Services Ltd. changed its name and image and became STARCOM Network Inc. Since then we have seen frequency switchovers on VOB from AM to FM to improve quality and embrace newer technologies.
June 28th, 2000 marked the advent of STARCOM GOSPEL 790 AM. This gospel station provides its listeners with the contemporary gospel sounds of both local and international artistes and addresses the needs of the religious community.
Leading the industry
Today, STARCOM Network Inc. leads the commercial broadcasting industry in Barbados. STARCOM prides itself in providing its clients with the finest advertising products and services. STARCOM is highly capable in commercial production, as well, STARCOM Network Inc. is equipped and designed to provide the best acoustics and sound quality along with state-of-the-art mixing consoles, recorders, CD playback, digital hard drives and DAT facilities. One studio can hold an audience of 75. We offer a vast library range of music, jingles and mood music. We can produce from script to air ready product, creating an advertisement that suits the product or service and offers the memorability that every advertiser deserves.
Today the company can boast to having the number one, two, three and four stations in the market (Systems Survey, October 2004).
For over seventy years, STARCOM Network Inc. has been shinning over Barbados in many different ways. Ours is a story of service and broadcasting excellence.