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For some time, Dale “The Black Machine” Williams had been toying with the idea of getting back into radio—back to his roots. Time however, never permitted this venture, but the idea never died. His love for radio developed during his school days at the British Virgin Islands High School on Tortola, where he became a popular radio personality on ZBVI, 780 AM, which broadcasted with 10,000 watts of power, during the 1970s. Fittingly, he also studied electronics. In 1970, he started as the office boy, then began hosting the children’s hour from 9-10 a.m. on Saturdays. This later grew into a gig from 10-2, after the Sound Machine out of St. Thomas quit the program. Three weeks later, he debuted as “The Black Machine.” In 1972, The Black Machine show went from 10-2 on Saturdays, to 8-10 p.m. on weekdays. His show always opened with the catch phrase, “The Black Machine is on the air” and he captured a diverse audience—not just in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands—but the wider Caribbean. This was underscored by the numerous requests he regularly received from fans in such places as Guyana in South America, Barbados, Antigua, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Jamaica, Bahamas and Bermuda, for his blends of R&B, Calypso, Reggae and Spouge. He was a mix master that captivated everyone. The Black Machine show ran through 1974. After graduating from the BVI High School, he joined the US Navy and severed for 6½ years. During his tenure, he served on two Ships. First was the USS Bausell DD 845, which was home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan. His other stint was on the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower CVN 69. It was on the Eisenhower that he continued honing his skills as the Program Director of WIKE -TV 2 and WIKE 94.1 FM. His show on WIKE-94.1 FM called Flight 2200 to the Caribbean and Latin America, aired three days a week from 10:00 p.m. to midnight. While in the Navy he also received the Good Conduct Award and many other certificates. When he returned to the Virgin Islands, he returned to his roots at ZBVI 780 AM, from 1979-1981. He also had a stint on ZBTV Channel 5. During his tenure, he met the likes of the legendary Bob Marley, Lord Kitchener, King Short Shirt and the Mighty Sparrow. He relocated to St. Thomas and has been in the telephone industry and in his other passion—sailing—plying the waters between the U.S. and British Virgin Islands as a boat Captain. But, his passion for radio never died. Finally, on September 15, 2012, “The Black Machine” was back on the air and in radio with the launch of his own internet radio station www.rootsrockradio.com. The Black Machine is now utilizing the latest technology via the internet to reconnect with many of his fans from whom he had been disconnected for more than 30 years. Having gone from AM to FM, internet radio is a new medium, but its still the same old Black Machine from the 70s and 80s on ZBVI 780 AM, belting out his blends of R&B, Reggae, Calypso, Old School, Spouge and Zouk music on www.rootsrockradio.com, garnished with some live recordings of his favorites. It has been over 30 years, but “The Black Machine is back on the air.”

More in this category: Reggae History »

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