Artistes remember broadcast icon: Dave Elcock helped launch our careers

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

David Elcock. –

BROADCASTING legend Winston David Elcock has been remembered as a consummate professional, who not only nurtured the talents of rookie broadcasters but also created avenues for local artistes to showcase their talents to the world.

Singer Carol Addison delivered one of several tributes to Elcock on Saturday during his funeral service at the R Steven Legal Funeral Home, Avenue N, Brooklyn, New York.

Elcock, who would have turned 79 later this month, died in New York around 1.30 pm on August 25 after a lengthy illness.

One of Trinidad and Tobago’s pioneering broadcasters, he was best known for the now-defunct National Broadcasting Service’s (NBS) Radio 610’s Elcock in the Morning programme, which ran from the early 70s to the 90s.

Addison, who migrated to the US many years ago, said she owed a huge debt of gratitude to Elcock, whom she regarded as a friend and confidante.

“I owe a tremendous portion or maybe all of my career to the support that Dave gave to me because through him promoting my music, he positioned me in a way that many doors opened across the globe and a lot happened as a result of him supporting the music,” she told mourners.

Addison said Elcock, who gave his life to Christ several years ago, also attended many of the concerts of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and other places where she ministered.

“So I owe a lot to him and I thank God for his life.”

The singer said she and Elcock had also bonded over the loss of their spouses. His wife, who had battled cancer, passed away almost three years ago.

At the end of her tribute, Addison sang the hymn, I Will Lift Up My Eyes and Take Me Back, one of Elcock’s favourites. The latter, she said, was the only gospel song from her Born To Shine album.

Tobago entertainer Michael Baker, calypsonian David Rudder and gospel artiste The Rev Nicole Ballosingh-Holder, in separate virtual tributes, also recalled that Elcock had helped them during the early part of their careers.

Saying Elcock was instrumental in his popularity on the local airwaves, Baker said he played several of his tunes on the radio, including The Base, Who Take Way She Man, A Good Working Old Thing Better Than A Young Thing and his signature tune, Come Discover Both Of Us.

Baker listed several prominent broadcasters of the 1970s and 80s, saying Elcock ranked highly among them.

But he lamented that the popular broadcaster had to leave the career he loved in search of greener pastures in the US.

Calypso legend David Rudder in concert at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain in July. – SUREASH CHOLAI

“In another society, someone stated, Big Brother Dave Elcock would have been retained to train and mentor the current local generation of broadcasters. Instead, at the prime of his illustrious career, Elcock was forced to hightail it to the United States to seek employment in another industry, dabbling only occasionally in his first love, promoting culture on the air,” Baker said.

Rudder also recalled that Elcock, whom he described as a broadcaster extraordinaire, had also promoted his music in the early days.

“I hope I have answered in a good way,” he said, adding Elcock’s work has been embedded in the psyche of citizens for generations.

Ballosingh-Holder said Elcock sought inspiration from everyone and in everything that he did.

“But he went one step further, whatever inspired him he invested in and I thank God that my voice and my music inspired him and he chose to invest in it,” she said.

“That one act caused so many doors to be opened to me beyond church and religious communities that I could inspire many nations in the world today.”

In their reflections, Elcock’s children Jason, Mark and Amanda spoke of their father’s passion for radio, sense of humour, humility and generosity.

Jason, whom he had with first wife, singer Mavis John, said his father had always loved radio.

“I remember him telling stories about his childhood and others, my godfather, used to say that they would be walking with him and he would be pretending that he is announcing something that is transpiring,” he said.

“They go to a football match and he would be the announcer on the side. It was something that he loved at an early age and continued throughout his life.”

Jason said despite his father’s very public persona, he was happiest at home.

He added while Elcock was not perfect, he never harboured bad intentions toward anyone and was always brutally honest.

Mark, who works in the film, television and music industry, said he learnt early in his life that his father had always loved the media.

“But for me he was just Dad,” he said.

Mark shared that some of his fondest memories of his father were the times they went jogging around the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

He said all of the coconut vendors around the Savannah knew Elcock and often complimented him on his work.

“But he would always ask them about their lives.”

Amanda, an author, said she is now struggling to come to terms with the loss of both her parents within a short space of time.

She also shared some fun moments as a child.

Saying they enjoyed eating powdered milk together, Amanda recalled he also secretly gave her sips of coffee before leaving their house to host Scouting For Talent. She said at times he would also play wrestling with them.

Amanda said Elcock had also had a compilation of poems which he shared with her.

Elcock’s brother, Lloyd, delivered the eulogy. Veteran media personalities Neil Giuseppi, Wayne Le Blanc and Vic Fernandes also offered virtual tributes.