Janice Dayle, Community Radio Legend!

The National Community Radio Association awarded their 2014 Community Radio Legend Award to Janice Dayle.

Janice Dayle volunteered at CKUT prior to the station receiving its FM licence in November 1987. She is the originator of the radio show Positive Vibes, arguably the first reggae show presented by and largely for Caribbean people in Montreal. Many of our other Caribbean, African and/or “urban” shows credit her for opening the door that welcomed them into to CKUT and to the possibility of creating radio.

She brought the community in to CKUT, helping it transition from a college station lacking in diversity to a truly multicultural radio station. It wasn’t always a particularly smooth transition. The station was use to having shows with solo hosts, very knowledgeable about music and eager to explore alternative music hub. Flocks of people with their flyers, their patois, and their kids crammed into our station. Discussions ensued: does all that flyer reading and hype building make us sound commercial? Is it advertising? Should people be paying for this? How come booty jam flyers are ripped down and considered sexist but the bare breasts on the flyers for some other event are acceptable?

In the early 90s, the station refused to co-present Buju Banton because of lyrics in the song Boom Bye Bye. This decision tore the band aid off of a racial tension brewing beneath the surface at the station. It exposed a breakdown in communication and underlined the fact that although we were squeezed into a space bumping up against each other, we had a lot of progress to make in breaching an understanding with one another. JD understood that it wasn’t enough to have a radio show and to participate at the station; she emphasized that black programmers had to “own” the station, belong to it and be part of the discussion and the decision-making taking place behind the scenes.

Thus, she began something called the “Black Block”: an alliance of programmers that represent Caribbean, African and urban programming to ensure that their needs were discussed, that they had a voice on the various CKUT committees and that all station members took steps understand each other. JD always believed in education and in providing opportunities for “disenfranchised” individuals, especially youth. Positive Vibes would regularly give over part of the show to an up and coming sound system to show their stuff for a chunk of the program’s airtime. JD also understood that in addition to the immigrant experience of having to work twice as hard to get anywhere, we also had to spend twice the effort teaching those around us and finding effective ways of breaking through barriers.

Janice, Butcher T, and the Bhum Bhum Tyme Crew

She left Positive Vibes for a period of time and went back to the Caribbean, where she continued to teach radio skills and the message of empowerment through media and community involvement. When she was in the Caribbean she discovered that she was HIV positive. JD returned to Montreal and to CKUT and decided, after some time, to reveal her status and to talk openly about it. JD spoke directly to her community, broke down barriers, misconceptions, and fears –and challenged our preconceived ideas about who (and how) contracts this disease. This is radical. This is revolution.

Positive Vibes continues on the air hosted by a new set of people. Janice Dayle is part of the radio show Bhum Bhum Tyme a music and Caribbean community show. She does public relations for the Montreal Reggae Fest, she has a paper route (up walking at 5am – she says it has kept her alive!?!?!), she is always in school continuing her education, she has six children and oodles of grandchildren and still comes to the studio with a trail of kids behind her. For these reasons, CKUT nominates Janice “JD” Dayle as a Community Radio Legend.


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