The idea for the KREM Radio station originated in early 1979 while Rufus X and I were visiting New Orleans. There was a New Orleans deejay I liked, by the name of Sister Love, and one day Rufus and his cousin, Sam Wiley, who was our host, showed me the building where the radio station which featured Sister Love was located. It was quite a modest, one flat structure, much smaller than the three-story Albert Cattouse Building from where the Belize government monopoly station – Radio Belize – was broadcasting.
So I saw where a radio station could be a manageable enterprise if your vision was reasonable.
After the PUP won the general elections held in late 1979, I asked for a radio station license, but the new government, through Chief Broadcasting Officer, the late Everal Waight, put up a large stop sign. When the UDP won in 1984, I asked for a radio license again. The UDP did not refuse outright but they started some technical conditions which seemed to me akin to denial.
When the British army began broadcasting from their Ladyville garrison, I can’t say. But for sure they were broadcasting for years and years, and I was becoming more and angrier. This wasn’t a British Honduras anymore. It was Belize.
Campaigning to get back into power in 1989, the PUP decided they would now support the so-called Radio Amandala concept. The PUP won in September of 1989, and KREM began broadcasting on November 17, 1989.
The engineer who put us on the air was the late Rodolfo Silva, originally of Corozal Town. Maximum respect.
Except for two stints when he traveled to South America, and then the United States, our engineer, J.C. Arzu, has been with KREM Radio from that very first day in November of 1989. He is truly foundation.
My dad, C.B. Hyde, a retired public officer, managed KREM in the early years, and his commitment to the radio station has always been extraordinary.
Mose Hyde’s first job was as a dance hall deejay one week after KREM came on the air, and it is fair to say that he cut his teeth and grew up with KREM. Mose, in his original radio incarnation as “The Mad Rocker,” introduced dance hall to Belize.
“Lisa Love” Myvett Kerr, named for that aforementioned New Orleans ’ Sister Love, has been with our radio station for 16 years. She has quietly become a tower of strength and popularity “behind the dizinc fence.”
Finally, under Michael Hyde, who took over the station management in 1998, KREM’s business management entered an unprecedented period of stability and timely expansion.
Time is proof of all things. The record shows that KREM Radio is now the oldest Belizean radio station. This longevity we consider a mark of distinction because it’s been a rough road. Needless to say, the vital ingredient has been the constant support of the Belizean people.