B.I.G Awards Honoree, John Samuel Melbourne

 John Samuel Melbourne


John Samuel Melbourne has been a sports radio broadcaster in the New York metropolitan area for thirty-six years.

While sports dominated his youthful years, sports radio broadcasting was not envisioned when he graduated from Hampton University in 1971 with a degree in Business Management nor from Long Island University in Accounting in 1983. However, joining Inner City Broadcasting in 1981 opened doors for him that he never anticipated.

John’s journey into radio broadcasting started in 1982 on WLIB (1190 AM) first as a contributor, then as a fill-in to Claude Tait’s “On The Ball” Caribbean Sports talk show. During this period the West Indies team was cricket kings of the world, and since “On The Ball” focused mainly on cricket John was asked to contribute information on sports other than cricket that Caribbean people participated in.

Claude left WLIB in 1989 and John was asked to continue the Caribbean Sports updates, as well as take over the Friday afternoon talk show. He was given full control of the Caribbean Sports programming, and in addition, the Friday afternoon talk show was renamed “Caribbean Sports Magazine.” The half hour program was also changed to a one hour Caribbean Sports talk format starting at “high noon” on Fridays.

Following a visit to the Caribbean, the then Program Director of WLIB, David Lampel, was amazed at how intently Caribbean people held transistor radios at their ears listening to cricket. On his return to New York Mr. Lampel asked John to arrange to put live ball by ball West Indies test cricket commentary on WLIB. Consequently we became the first radio station to broadcast live ball by ball test cricket in the United States. The irony of this was the BBC calling to interview John on their “Live at 5” sports show when they heard a radio station in the U.S. was doing live ball by ball test cricket broadcasts.

Working at WLIB afforded him many opportunities. One that he treasured was being part of a broadcast team to call an international soccer friendly at the Yale Bowl in Connecticut between Brazil and the United States in the early nineties. That was just a totally different experience.

The relationship with WLIB as a broadcaster lasted into early 2000 when the station changed its format.

Following WLIB, Conroy Allison asked John to join his Winners Circle Radio show and provide Caribbean Sports news and updates on WVIP 93.5FM heard every Tuesday through Friday between 11am and 12 noon.

Then in November of 2015, the management of Irie Jam Radio asked John to provide Caribbean Sports news and updates during Irwine Claire’s Moving Forward show on a Tuesday and Thursday which can be heard at 7:30 PM also on WVIP 93.5 FM.

In the mid-nineties John was asked to join New York Caribbean Cup Inc., a non-profit community organization, as an executive board member. Since then he has spent the last several summers helping to promote and organize the soccer tournament whose games are played in Brooklyn. In 2016 the New York Caribbean Cup celebrated 25 years of the community’s premier soccer tournament.

CaribbeanFever.com presented him with a Trail Blazer Award at the Barclays Center in 2012 for his work in Caribbean Sports.

During the summers of 1976 and 1977 he played with Menelik Soccer Club in the Five Borough Soccer League in Brooklyn.

One of John’s more satisfying experiences was joining Cavalier Football Club of Jamaica in 1965 where he served as club secretary until migrating to the United States in 1976. He was also a member of YMCA Football Club for the 1964-1965 football season. Both at Cavalier and YMCA he had the pleasure of playing with some of Jamaica’s most outstanding footballers. However, the camaraderie with the Cavalier team members like Delroy ‘Mutty’ Scott, the Welch brothers, which includes twins Art and Asha, and Derrick and Roy, the Pierce brothers, Ruddy and Donald, Alty McCoy, Neville Oxford and all the inaugural Cavalier players of the early Cavalier days remain closest to his heart.


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