THEY call him Guyana’s own “Man with the Golden Voice” or sometimes even “DJ Love”. And with 23 years as a broadcaster, you wouldn’t miss his voice even if you travelled anywhere in the world.
July 7 marked Frederick Rampersaud’s 23rd anniversary of being a TV personality and 18 years of being a radioman.
As a broadcaster with so many years of experience under his belt, he said that there were many events that perhaps caused him to develop his love for communication. At nine-years-old, he said his father bought a music set and about two years later, he started to be the DJ for house parties. By the time he was 13 years old, he started playing for weddings– but on a non-commercial basis of course.
Professionally, he took his studies seriously and got involved in accountancy. But his heart was always with the communication field. During those days, Frederick loved listening to the radio, especially to the cricket commentators. His idol was Matthew Allen.
“My passion was always in radio, even though I got popular because of the TV,” he said.
As a young man, then, he lived in Vreed-en-Hoop and when he would travel home in the afternoon, he would sit in the backseat of the bus and go all the way to Parika before stopping at his home town when the bus was returning. The reason he did this was so that he could listen to the afternoon radio programmes and try to imitate those radio personalities.
“I would practise saying ‘Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, you’re listening to 98.1FM’ or ‘It’s time for the news on 98.1FM’ over and over,” he reflected fondly. Little did he know that he would become involved in the profession and become very well-known himself.
In fact, he subsequently got his own trademark radio programme: “Music from the Heart” which has been around for about two decades now.
His experiences in public speaking with the church, and what he would have garnered as a youth entertainer, he said that he knew he always had a calling for the communication field.
“Even though I suffered initially, I made it through… And I was already accustomed to [entertaining] crowds because of my experience preaching and as an Emcee, so all I had to do was make magic with two or three cameras in front of me and with the guests I brought on my programmes,” the man said.
In fact, he deems himself to be one of the “pioneers” of local television programming since he took up the mantle all those years ago to push for these local programmes to be broadcast, even when many persons (and sponsors!) were not too keen on supporting this.
Eventually, he related that his eloquence and apparent charisma grasped the attention of many people and his support grew among Guyanese, his only viewers at the time, and as time passed by and technology evolved, his fan base extended to regional and international viewers and listeners.
“In those days, to survive, I had to be good,” Rampersaud said. But notably, over the many years of his career, he has maintained his stature as a private broadcaster. What this means was that programmes he put on over the television and radio were paid for by him, through sponsorship, instead of him being employed by a broadcasting station.
Rewards & recognition
And so good was he, that within his first six months as a talk show host, he was invited to interview the now-late President Cheddi Jagan at State House for one hour. Subsequently, he travelled to Trinidad, where he also interviewed the first female Attorney General, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who later became that country’s Prime Minister.
He has also been nationally recognised, receiving three awards which he holds dear to him. This includes a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and an award for being the Best Radio Personality only last year. And just as the communication sector of itself evolved, so did he.
“Long ago, being a broadcaster, I could only operate within the geographic confines of Guyana – Georgetown, Linden, and so- but nowadays anybody can pick up their phone and listen to me online,” he remarked, also quipping that now he can easily play songs from online instead of from his cassette bag.
“My passion as a little boy was to be an accountant and I did that. I wanted to be a preacher, and I did that. And I wanted to be a broadcaster, and I did that too,” Rampersaud said in retrospect. Now, with those achievements completed, he indicated that he has his eyes set on a new journey.
“Law is the last passion I want to pursue,” the broadcaster said and shared that he is exploring avenues of achieving this.