The Barbadian media fraternity bade farewell Saturday afternoon to Vere Sheldon Walcott – one of its most innovative broadcasters and radio personalities – at the Abundant Life Assembly Church.
Walcott died on April 28. He was 68.
Walcott was a popular voice on Starcom Network’s Gospel 97.5 FM, lately rebranded LIFE 97.5 FM.
He was the first host of the groundbreaking daily traffic report Eye In the Sky, bringing traffic reports as Charlie Bravo Charlie in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Walcott was also the pioneer of the Business Report. He joined the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1981, where he produced the Evening News segment That Bugs Me.
Walcott was remembered as a devoted and passionate journalist who always sought to deliver his best whether for broadcast or radio. A steadfast friend and former CBC colleague, Peter Thorne fondly remembered Walcott strove to improve his craft.
“Vere loved gadgets and whatever gadget was available he would attempt to acquire the latest in his quest to stay on top of the news as he hated being beaten in a story,” Thorne said.
He revealed the Mangrove, St Philip resident was affectionately called the Mayor of Mangrove because he used his satellite dish to provide service for the entire community during an era when locals only had access to Channel 8.
Thorne described the veteran broadcaster as “selfless, selfless, quiet, unassuming, highly intelligent and witty, a joy to work with”. He shared that Walcott was a team player who “loved CBC to its core and gave it his all”.
As a journalist, Walcott was known for his progressive and innovative stories. The Business Report earned him the Journalist of the Year Award in 1991 at the Barbados Economic Society Awards. Thorne humorously recalled Walcott’s enthusiasm for his job saying; “as a journalist, Vere worked with passion, integrity and energy. . . Vere was concerned with improvement and was very keen to innovate”.
Walcott was the pioneer behind the popular Sunday radio programme Prayer Network on the gospel station 97.5 FM. He was known for his steadfast faith and concern for the disenfranchised and forgotten. His Starcom Network colleague, Everton Mottley recalled that Walcott was given the name Pastor Pooler while at CBC because he never avoided an opportunity to teach people the Word. Mottley shared that Walcott used the prayer network programme to help uplift the sick, the elderly and the shut-ins in society.
“He never shied away from an opportunity to witness for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Vere completely dedicated his time, talents and interests to the work and ministry of our Lord,” Mottley said, adding, “He always used every chance he had to tell people with whom he came into contact about God’s love for them.”
Having worked with Walcott at Gospel 97.5 FM, Mottley indicated that Walcott’s kindred spirit and legacy would live on.
“Vere just fell asleep a little bit ahead of all of us and he fell asleep with style, with class, with faith, with grace and with a heart filled with love for others.” (KK)