Weary of the stereotypes that have dogged Jamaicans abroad for decades, Donna Moore Stewart wanted to correct that image when she made her radio debut three years ago. After two years at two independent stations in the Bronx, the Kingston-born real estate agent launched Pozytyve Radio 106.9 FM in April.
The station is owned by Moore Stewart and her husband Carl, who are both Christians. Gospel music from Jamaica, the Caribbean, the United States and Africa dominates Pozytyve Radio's playlist but Stewart says there is room for secular music once it is uplifting.
“The goal is to have people see us in a positive way and show that Jamaicans are not just mix-up, mix-up. We have had too much of that for too long,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
Moore Stewart hosts the Pozytyve Prayze show four days a week (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays), playing everything from the classic gospel of Shirley Caesar and The Winans to the dancehall praise of Papa San and Marion Hall. There are also Afrobeat songs by gospel act Jeremiah Gyang out of Nigeria.
To reach a wider audience, the Stewarts incorporate secular music in their programmes. Listeners can also hear I Wanna be Loved by Buju Banton or Likes by Chronixx, which suits their policy of keeping things clean.
It is a strategy, Stewart believes, that has worked after seven months.
“The listeners love it because we get great response from all over the world. It's important that we reach everyone with different types of music; if we limit ourselves we are going to have a limited audience,” she said.
Moore Stewart is originally from Maxfield Avenue. She was raised in Old Harbour, and migrated to the United States during the late 1980s.
She became a Christian over 20 years ago. In 2019, Stewart made her radio debut on 97.3 Fever FM in the Bronx, followed by another stint at 105.3 TOG Radio.
She is executive director of the Pollyanna Project, a non-profit organisation started in 1994 by her mother. It provides humanitarian and educational assistance to people in Jamaica and Africa.