Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Goodbye, Good Morning Man

Alan Magnus remembered for dedication, professionalism, love of storytelling

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2024 | 12:10 AM
Reverend Astor Carlyle (left) of Webster Memorial Church and the Reverend Father Arokiadas Arumainathan (right) of The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity looks on while Alan Magnus’ children (from second left) David, Richard, Kellie, and Anna-Kay, set down the urns bearing their father’s and mother’s ashes.
Reverend Astor Carlyle (second right) of Webster Memorial United Church and the Reverend Father Arokiadas Arumainathan (left) of The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity greet Alan Magnus’ children (from second left) Kellie Magnus, David Magnus and Richard Alan Magnus following the funeral at The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity Church on North Street in Kingston on Friday.
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In a nostalgic farewell at The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Kingston on Friday, hundreds of Jamaicans came together to bid farewell to media icon Alan Magnus, whose four-decade career touched the hearts of countless listeners across the island.

Dubbed 'One Last Show', the thanksgiving service included many elements from the morning radio show he hosted for decades and which endeared many Radio Jamaica 94 FM listeners to him. Among the segments were 'This is Starscope', 'Oldies but Goodies', 'Music in the Love Spot', 'Traffic Report' and the 'Roving Report'.

The cathedral's calm atmosphere was frequently overtaken by emotional tributes and beautiful renditions from the choir, enhancing the ceremony filled with laughter and tears.

As Magnus' eldest child, David Alan Magnus, stepped up to the podium with his siblings Kellie, Anna Kay, and Richard Magnus, his face heavy with sorrow, but his eyes glistened with pride for his father.

“We shared our father with you, our nation. All his accomplishments were achieved in what he truly enjoyed doing. He never, ever referred to himself as the number-one broadcaster at any time. He just did what he did the way he wanted to do it,” David said, his voice steady but filled with emotion.

“He showed us by example what it meant to be professional, disciplined, ever-present, and dedicated because, for him, it was never work. Those memories are the memories that will live on with me until the day I die. I thank you, Dad. I thank you for the example that you have been.”

FOND MEMORIES

David recalled his father being at home on Sundays and playing music playing early as 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

He also recalled being sent to the naughty corner at school one day, when his dad came to get him.

“I must have been, maybe four or five years old, but that was the first time in my life that I experienced how my father disciplined. He was more like an adviser. He never punished or disciplined me in the way I saw my neighbours' fathers did,” David said.

Magnus wasn't a talkative man, but he could teach his children discipline with words alone, his son recalled.

As the service continued, his second daughter, Kellie Magnus, shared her thoughts.

“If he liked you, you knew it. If he loved you, it was like living in sunshine constantly, and his four children had the benefit of growing up in that sunshine,” she said, describing Magnus even further as not just an exemplary journalist but as a devoted and loving father.

Kellie said that her wish was for her father to write his memoir, fearing that his legacy may not be properly preserved.

“In the outpouring of support in the last three weeks, I've realised I don't need to worry about that. His legacy is safe in the collective memory of his family, his friends, and all the listeners who became family and friends. But mostly, I know he's resting easy because, like the old man at the sea, he knew what he had done. He knew what he had achieved. And that was his satisfaction,” she continued, hinting at their father's unwavering love for storytelling, particularly the story of The Old Man and the Sea.

Magnus was hailed for his intelligence, his smooth voice, and his ability to convey complex ideas with clarity and compassion. His innovative show on RJR – later rebranded as Radio Jamaica 94 FM – gave many people a platform and served as a timepiece for others.

“Alan has a huge footprint for all of us in media,” remarked Gary Allen, group service executive at the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, where Magnus spent most of his career.

“Alan, the person, was genuine. You never got a pretentious bone in anything that he did. You never had a pretentious thought from the things he said. He was straightforward. He was true to what he was doing, and he wanted you to be true to what you were asked to do. He was the consummate professional,” Allen added.

Other former colleagues described Magnus as a “gem”, including Norma Brown-Bell, to whom Magnus was also “entertaining”, “informative”, and “charismatic”, among other things, which she said made him the perfect 'Good Morning Man'.

Magnus passed away on February 3 at age 80, leaving a legacy behind that will inspire future generations of journalists.

Mickalia Kington