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Julian Ernest Chetvynde Rogers MBE (born 11 November 1947 in Barbados) is a Caribbean broadcaster and journalist, with more than 45 years' experience across the media landscape of television, radio and print, having worked as broadcast manager, TV and radio host and producer, publisher, trainer, lecturer, media consultant and public relations professional. Involved since the 1970s with the building of national radio stations notably in Barbados, St Kitts & Nevis, and Antigua & Barbuda, and part of "the original team set up to 'revolutionise' the media industry in Trinidad & Tobago with the rebranding of the Trinidad and Tobago Television Company (TTT) into CNMG", he has been called "the Caribbean man" and has established a reputation as one of the region's most respected media practitioners. His characteristic style as a broadcaster is to conduct biting interviews; one commentator refers to "the persistent journalistic exploits of a resurgent, sharp-witted and emphatic Julian Rogers".
Among pioneering initiatives in regional news-gathering and dissemination with which he has been associated, his TV talk show Talking Caribbean (1998–2000) - featuring hour-long interviews with guests ranging from politicians to entertainers - was "the Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s first attempt at live interactive television". His live broadcasts continue to break new ground for Caribbean television and radio, as with his 2007 coverage of the Trinidad & Tobago general elections, "CNews - Campaign 41," and his anchoring of the live broadcast covering the inaugural ceremony of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which took place in Trinidad & Tobago in April 2005. Additionally, in November 2010 his commentary at the state funeral of Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson was among the applauded "outstanding contributions of famous media gurus" coordinated by Starcom Network.
Julian Rogers was born of Guyanese parentage in Bridgetown, Barbados, and was educated at Cooperative High School, Barbados (1960–64), where he was a Foundation Scholarship winner. He attended the University of the West Indies, Caribbean Institute of Mass Media at Mona, Jamaica (1974–75), on a UNESCO scholarship, receiving a Diploma in Mass Communications for his thesis "The creation of an exchange regime for Caribbean radio and television programming and production", which was later converted into a UNESCO-funded project for the Caribbean Broadcasting Union. He also attended Syracuse University (1980) as a member of the International Media Program, and was on attachment to WCCO television and radio in Minneapolis.
Broadcast and media career
Rogers began his career as a broadcaster at the age of 16 in March 1964, when he joined the Barbados Rediffusion Service as a scriptwriter, eventually becoming a radio announcer, outside broadcast commentator and producer. In 1969, three years after the launch of television in Barbados, he hosted one of the first game shows in the region.
Moving to Montserrat in 1970, he was an announcer for Radio Antilles, hosting their morning show. As manager of their English Service (1976–77), he reformatted the station and established the Caribbean correspondents' news network, a forerunner of the Caribbean News Agency. The station delivered breaking news of the Caribbean for much of the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1971, Rogers was appointed Programme Director of ZDK Radio, in Antigua & Barbuda, establishing the country's first non-government-owned commercial radio station. Until March 1972 he hosted the morning show and anchored the major evening newscast.
Back in Barbados, he worked for the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) (1977–79) as a television news anchor, hosting and producing programmes such as Understanding (with young panelists including a future prime minister of Barbados, David Thompson), Window on the World and Yearenders. As a television host, Rogers has been acknowledged with setting standards of competence for the Caribbean comparable with those of Larry King in the USA. During a subsequent stint at CBC (1981–82) he acted as the company's Programme Manager and Head of Productions. He then worked for eight years, from 1982 to 1990, as Programme Director for Barbados Rediffusion's Voice of Barbados, which he was responsible for rebranding.
From 1993 to 1995 he was General Manager of Prime Radio 106, a subsidiary of Caribbean Communications Network (CCN) in Trinidad & Tobago, for which he then became an anchor on TV6 (1995-8). He became a pioneer of breakfast television in the country, launching Trinidad's first live morning television talk show with producer Natalie Williams.
In May 1998 Rogers returned to Barbados, where he produced and hosted the country's first morning television show, Wake Up Caribbean, for CBC.
He went on to establish the first independent radio station in St Kitts, Winn FM, in 2000, and the following year supervised the setting up of Antigua & Barbuda's first independent radio station.
Rogers was also the publisher of the Sunday Scoop newspaper, founded in 2004 in Antigua & Barbuda.
As Chief Content Officer and a member of the executive group of Caribbean New Media Group Limited (CNMG), from 2007 to 2008, he directed the development of content for what was to be the most modern national television, radio and new media company in the Caribbean, which "drew on technology and drew on the professionals in the industry to create something that surpassed all other media houses throughout the region". He also served as their Head of News and Current Affairs.
Latterly based in Antigua & Barbuda, where in 2001 he was consultant in the setting up of Observer Radio, Rogers was General Manager of the Observer Media Group under the chairmanship of Winston Derrick, overseeing the operations of two radio stations – Observer Radio and Hitz FM – as well as the Daily Observer newspaper, while continuing to develop strategies for international and Caribbean-wide media coverage, particularly since the closure of the BBC Caribbean service.
Since 1975 Rogers has worked as an independent consultant to both government and private sector throughout the Caribbean region, including Guyana, Belize, Barbados, Jamaica, Montserrat, Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, St Maarten and Anguilla. He was Corporate Communications Consultant for LIME (Landline, Internet, Mobile, Entertainment), serving as a member of the team working on the transformation of the 13-country business units into one pan-Caribbean company (June 2008-February 2009). He has been an adviser to several regional and international institutions on media development and to the University of the West Indies on media training.
As a trainer, he has been employed by Voice of America, and conducted a study of Caribbean television and radio content suitable for exchange under the aegis of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union and UNESCO.
In addition, Rogers has served on the Advisory Council to the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and sits on the Regional Advisory Board of the Jamaica-based Caribbean Institute for Media and Communication (CARIMAC).
He established a company in Antigua and Barbuda to manage radio and television operations and provide media consultancy services, and in November 2014 launched a radio station, Rogers Radio Caribbean.
In 1998, while based in Trinidad, Rogers found himself at the centre of a national controversy when the then Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Basdeo Panday, refused to renew his work permit, leading to widespread protests by many, who felt the move was motivated by the fact that guests critical of the government had been among those featured on Rogers’ popular early-morning current affairs show Morning Edition. At a UNESCO meeting entitled "The Caribbean Media: Freedom and Understanding", held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, Jamaica, on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 1998, a resolution was taken to: "Urge the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to change its regrettable decision and grant permission to Barbados journalist and national, Julian Rogers, so that he may continue his work in Trinidad and Tobago."
Following a 2001 controversy in Antigua surrounding work permits for Caribbean journalists, in 2002 Rogers and fellow broadcaster Julius Gittens were the first two Barbadians to be accredited under the CARICOM Skilled Nationals programme, granting freedom of movement within the Caribbean community.
Rogers was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to broadcasting, receiving the award in Barbados from Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave on 14 November 2014.
- "JR back in the saddle again", Observer News, 17 May 2010.
- Aabida Allaham, "Sell CNMG, says ex-journalist Cuffie", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 10 November 2010.
- Antigua Sun, 15 March 2004.]
- "Reflections of a Pioneer - The Observer Group", Business Focus (Antigua & Barbuda), Issue 21, December/January 2008, p. 18.
- Caroline Popovic has written (St Lucia Star, 13 September 2000): "...without the likes of Ken Gordon in Trinidad, Ricky Singh and David de Caires from Guyana, Julian Rogers in Barbados, Ossie Clarke in Jamaica and Rick Wayne in St. Lucia, the populations of their respective countries would undoubtedly be living in a state of fear, a little like the Cubans, the Haitians and the Columbians. In those countries, local journalists either work for the government, live elsewhere, rot in jail or are buried in marked or unmarked graves.... Nothing must ever come in the way of a journalist and his right to publish. Least of all a government."
- Rawlston Pompey, "Democracy and Democratic Rule", Caribarena Antigua, 19 April 2010.
- "'Talk Caribbean' debuts on Monday", 10 July 1998.
- IslandMix, 11 May 2007.
- "Campaign 41 launches", Allyuh.com, 4 November 2007.
- "CCJ inauguration to be broadcast live", Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, 12 April 2005.
- Peter Simmons, "JUST LIKE IT IS: Well done, Barbados", Nation News, 7 November 2010.
- Martina Johnson, "Veteran broadcaster singled out for Queen’s Birthday Award", The Daily Observer (Antigua), 17 June 2014.
- Media Watch, 28 July 2008.
- Bevan Springer, "Julian Rogers gets high honor", Amsterdam News, 19 June 2014.
- "Queen awards MBE to Julian Rogers", Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 16 June 2014.
- Conference Co-Chairs, Banking on the Future Summit.
- "World Press Day Event: Discussion on Investigative Journalism and Awards Ceremony", The Carter Center, 29 Apr 2005.
- "Queen Awards Veteran Journalist Julian Rogers MBE", Caribbean New Media Group, 3 July 2014.
- "Journalism - no glamour and fame", BBC Caribbean.com, 17 August 2005.
- "CARICOM stakeholders review CSME education and discuss pan-Caribbean broadcasting", Caribbean News Now, 22 June 2011.
- "Observer Caribbean is in the planning stage…", The Antigua and Barbuda High Commission Official Newsletter, Issue 142, April 2011, p. 8.
- Shelton Daniel, "GM reveals OBSERVER plans to fill regional void", Daily Observer, 29 March 2011.
- "Prime Minister to intervene in LIME issue", The Barbados Advocate, 2/4/2009.
- Neville Clarke, "Icing on the cake - Broadcaster Julian Rogers receives MBE", Barbados Today, 14 November 2014.
- Rogers Radio Caribbean.
- Roger Kaplan, Nicholas Rescher (eds), Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties -- 1998-1999, New York: Freedom House, 1999, p. 460: "In 1998, Panday continued his campaign, as his government chose not to renew the work permit of Barbadian newsman Julian Rogers, in apparent reprisal for broadcasting telephone calls from government critics."
- Wesley Gibbings, "MEDIA-CARIBBEAN: Journalist’s Expulsion Stirs Up ‘Hornet’s Nest’", IPS, 28 April 1998.
- Wesley Gibbings, "Media-Caribbean: A Slap in the Face For Freedom of Expression?", Port of Spain, 29 April 1998 (IPS).
- Committee to Protect Journalists, "Attacks on the Press in 1998 – Trinidad and Tobago". Refworld, UNHCR.
- "The Caribbean Media: Freedom and Understanding".
- "Trinidad and Tobago Condemned For Barring Veteran Journalist", The Montserrat Reporter, Vol. XIII No. 17, 8 May 1998.
- Rickey Singh, "No 'right to work' pact in Caricom, Antigua tells Barbados", Jamaica Observer, 13 February 2002.
- Rickey Singh, "Caribbean Round-Up", Jamaica Observer, 8 March 2002.
- "Rogers, Gittens first Bajans to receive Caricom skills certificate", The Broad Street Journal, 23 January 2006. From the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS).
- JPA Gittens, "Flashback: 2002 - Adventures in Radio Journalism in Antigua", 6 December 2007.
- The London Gazette: . 14 June 2014.
- "Queen's birthday honours list 2014: Commonwealth", The Guardian, 13 June 2014.
- "Rogers receives honour", Nationnews, 14 November 2014.
- Anesta Henry, "Rogers feeling good about his honour", Barbados Today, 17 June 2014.
- "Caribbean Media Icon Awarded MBE, Gives Advice to Young Journalists", WINN FM 98.9 (St. Kitts and Nevis)
- "Rogers Receives Award for Work In Journalism", ABS TV Radio (Antigua & Barbuda).
- Rogers Radio Caribbean.