Rogers feeling good about his honour
Veteran broadcaster Julian Rogers recently celebrated his 50th anniversary in the industry in quiet fashion.
But not so after this weekend’s announcement he had made the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Since then, the outstanding Barbadian-born broadcaster, who has worked in several parts of the region, has been overwhelmed by the response from friends, colleagues and other well-wishers to one of his greatest achievements to date.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Rogers said he first received word of the honour by way of a recent call from the Prime Minister’s Office informing him that his name was being submitted on the prestigious list for the conferral of Member Of The Order Of The British Empire (MBE).
That timely call came just weeks after he acknowledged his March 1 anniversary in the industry, without any pomp, though family, friends and colleagues wanted him to.
Instead, he allowed the anniversary to go by quietly and even after he got the call about the possible honour from her Majesty The Queen, he kept his cool.
“When I got the call, I settled back then and I realized, okay this is something special, but of course I had to keep it under my hat until the announcement was made and that was rather difficult. I mean, I did have to tell somebody and I kept it within a narrow group within my family. In fact I didn’t even tell all of my family; just a few people. I waited,” the Antiguan-based Rogers revealed to Barbados TODAY in a telephone interview today.
However, the reality of the honour began to hit home in a most dramatic fashion when he got a call from his daughter in England notifying him it was already in the newspapers there.
“Since then, the phones have been going. My Facebook page was just exploding. By this morning, I have been getting calls from all over the place, including my old show in Trinidad Morning Edition. Carol Roberts called me from Voice Of Barbados, which is kind of special because that is where I started in Rediffusion. St Kitts called and then right here in Antigua it seemed as though there was a rippled effect and they have been talking about it all day on the radio,” he said.
This addition to his personal achievement list has caused Rogers to come to the realization that it was special and that people regarded his work very highly.
“It makes me feel good,” he said.
But though thankful, he is not quite satisfied with his accomplishments.
He still dreams of doing more and is currently working on the launch of his own radio station, Rogers Radio Station, and eventually Rogers TV in Antigua.
“I have set up radio stations in Trinidad, here in Antigua, in St Kitts, been involved in print media at some stage and the publishing of a newspaper. And I think that as long as I am alive and healthy enough, I will be trying to work on new ideas as it relates to the media,” the broadcaster said.
Back in 2010, the father of five was at a low point in his life when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He noted that one of his friends in Guadeloupe had insisted that he visited that French-speaking island for a second opinion, but the doctor there told him the same thing he was initially told in Antigua.
“He told me, it is not a death sentence,” Rogers recalled.
“I watched for two years and then I had one check and he said, ‘Look, it is time to operate’. I am very happy to report that I have had the operation and I have done very well.
“When my doctor saw me a year later, he couldn’t believe it and he was more excited than I was with the recovery that I have had.
“I am really, really in excellent health, so I must say that I am extremely grateful to that dear friend of mine in Guadeloupe who insisted that I come and use the services there.”
The optimistic broadcaster said as he walked that uncertain pathway, he was not scared, only grateful that he was able to retain his positive attitude as the doctors worked on his case.
“It is like how people have to come to terms with dealing with HIV for instance. It is no longer a death sentence. It is something that you can live with and people are even living with AIDS. It is a matter of education, it is a matter of attitude and most importantly it is a matter of support you have from the people around you, and most importantly the best advice you can get from the people in the medical profession.
“I don’t think that it affected me in a way to say, well this is the end of my life and my career. I am an optimist,” said Rogers who intends to continue to build on his longstanding career.
“I have an opportunity to really have an experience that a lot of Caribbean broadcasters have not had. I am also very happy that I got to go to CARIMAC [media training institute in Jamaica] as one of the first students in 1975. But I keep dreaming . . . .”