Entertainment

The Prodigal returns

Markland Edwards back at Love 101

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, June 09, 2019

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In 1993 Jamaica's first all-gospel radio station Love 101 hit the airwaves and among its signatures programmes was Echoes in the Night hosted by Markland “Action” Edwards. His fresh, edgy style made him an instant hit with listeners, but he would part company with the station five years later.

A week ago, he closed another chapter in his life, when he did his final airing of Two Live Crew with co-host Wesley “Burgerman” Burger on RJR 94FM and come tomorrow, 20 years later, like the 'Prodigal Son', Edwards will return to what he calls his radio home.

Edwards told the Jamaica Observer that he was recently ordained as an evangelist at Power of Faith Ministries in Portmore and I saw it as too much of a conflict being a practising Christian and do secular radio. So, he took advantage of discussions that he had been having with Love 101 over the years.

“It's not like I'm behind the scenes in the programmes, traffic or marketing departments, I am upfront. They are hearing my voice, they are seeing me on outside broadcasts so my conduct is always important. Even though RJR is not a derogatory station, sometimes you go off the deep end and you have to engage in certain activities that is not in keeping with Christian principles. As a result I think the timing is right.”

“ I've always wanted to do gospel radio. Right now the timing is right to make that transition and just to evangelise through radio. So me being ordained as an evangelist is not about being all over the place preaching or starting a church, my focus is spreading the gospel through the medium of radio and Love FM is that ideal platform. There was always the desire to go back. I am like the 'Prodigal Son'. even when I was elsewhere I always had it in mind to go back even if I wasnt ordained, and it presented itself I would go back that is my passion,” he further explained.

Of his four years at RJR where he also hosted a Saturday afternoon show, On the Spot, Edwards has nothing but fond memories. For him it was quite the training ground.

“I take away from that a wealth of experience. It broadened my horizon in terms of my knowledge base. I did a lot of outside broadcasts so I was interacting with a lot more people, I also got the opportunity to operate in different spheres so it was a learning curve for me. There was also that dynamism that we brought to radio with the comedic element. But there were times when I thought we lacked content, we needed some more substance. Radio is all about entertainment but at the same time you need information,” said Edwards.

His spot is now being filled by broadcaster and theatre personality Dahlia Harris who he believes is the perfect fit to work alongside his former co-host. He had nothing but the best wishes for them both.

“Dahlia has a wealth of experience in media, public speaking, she's also an actress so she is in touch with the Jamaican people and she knows what's going on... she's well-rounded. I think she will bring all that to the programme [and] that will take it to the next level. What I say to Burgerman is to make the best of the opportunity that presents itself right now. It will not be the same chemistry and vibe, it will be something different, but once you apply yourself and do what is expected, you shouldn't have a problem. That's what radio is all about, it's fluid. It changes with the times. So you just have to be trendy and understand what's working now and connect with the audience. Once that happens then you're good to go.”

As for the new show on Love 101. Edwards will not go head-to-head with the afternoon radio slot. The programme will air Monday to Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.

“We're coming with energy, we're coming with vibes, we're coming with life. The show is called Alive, so there's gonna be energy, information and entertainment; getting interactive with the listeners. It will be gospel radio like never before. A lot of people believe that gospel radio should operate within a box, but the truth is you need to listen to a gospel station and not miss out on what's happening in the wider society. We will be catering for the whole man. There will be features to engage the younger audience. The music will be diverse — all genres of gospel will be played, the contemporary, the worship songs, the traditional, the reggae gospel, the dancehall gospel. The show will be packed with information, it's going to be interactive and informative so one can listen and not think that I'm at church everyday and I don't know what's going on in the wider society. You will be inspired, you will be informed and you will be entertained,” said Edwards.


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