After transforming FAME 95 FM with his steady hand, François St Juste will be remembered for his rousing baritone voice and signature “Good morning, Jamaica!!!!”
He had a distinguished 38-year career in the media, and up until his death on Monday, he co-hosted the morning programme “Sunny Side Up” on Radio Jamaica 94 FM with Paula-Anne Porter Jones.
The 60-year-old journalist had been hospitalised at The University Hospital of the West Indies for almost two weeks.
In 1984, St. Juste joined FAME 95 FM as an announcer and presenter at the request of Don Topping, Norma Brown-Bell, and Hol Plummer while he was finishing up his undergraduate degree in physics at The University of the West Indies, Mona.
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Soon after joining the FAME 95 FM family in 1987, he became the station’s supervisor and swiftly rose through the ranks.
After that, in 1991, he was elevated to the position of assistant programmes manager, and by 1996, he had worked his way up to executive producer.
St Juste, who hosted a morning drive-time programme called “Trivial Pursuit,” became the station’s distinctive face. He promoted FAME as the “party capital of Jamaican radio,” holding roadshows, and beach parties, and releasing a merchandising line to cement the station’s reputation.
At age 18, St. Juste tried out as Porter Jones for a job at FAME 95 FM.
I learned how to blend because of him. He informed me there was a prime-time slot coming up and I had to learn to mix my music if I wanted it, so I practised until I became the only woman who could properly mix as a deejay at sessions with the males.
Porter Jones told The Gleaner on Monday, “He mentored me through it and offered me the chance to achieve it and so many other things.”
The media personality and educator said that St Juste, as the station’s manager, presided over a “wonderful moment” that has never been seen again at FAME 95 FM.
On April 10, 2017, the dynamic pair took up hosting duties for ‘Sunny Side Up,’ and Porter Jones has since commented that she would miss their fights over trivial matters since he recognised that they could disagree while still being friends.
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St. Juste said in Radio Jamaica’s 70th-anniversary magazine, released on July 4, 2021: “We understand each other’s personalities and styles, and it makes it very easy for us to work as a team.” This radio relationship echoed the chemistry of the legendary morning duo of Alan Magnus and the late Dorraine Samuels Binger.
He was born on January 24, 1962, to media professional mother Marguerite St Juste and legendary filmmaker father Franklyn “Chappie” St Juste.
He attended Wolmer’s Boys’ School and played football for the Colts team that reached the finals in 1976–1977 when they ultimately lost to St. George’s College.
His elder brother, Brian St. Juste, gushed about what a wonderful person he was, calling him cool under pressure and always willing to lend a hand.
Although the two of them “didn’t party together,” Brian says, “I knew I could depend on him if I was ever in any issue, and the same was true for him.” Typically, it is the younger sibling that admires and respects his elder sibling. As much as he may have looked up to me, I was in awe of him and his job and was impressed by his commitment.
St Juste is also survived by his sister, Maya.
St. Juste, at the young age of 25, won the Caribbean Media Award in the area of contributions to the community for his show François Goes the Distance in 1987.
He has known Michelle Wilson-Reynolds since they were in high school together, making them lifelong friends.
To The Gleaner, she expressed how shocked and saddened she was by his passing.
Speaking in the past tense is difficult for me, yet he was my closest male buddy. My year was the rebel year because we did things with the boys without the headmistress’s approval,” she recalled.
Wilson-Reynolds moved overseas for education and, on her return in 1984, she joined RJR 94 FM, where they reunited.
She uses St. Juste as her go-to emcee whenever she organises corporate or nonprofit events.
Wilson-Reynolds said, “I don’t know whether he never understood how to tell me, no, but he never did.”
Five years later, he became the presenter of Radio Jamaica’s Saturday morning show, laying the groundwork for his current position as co-host of ‘Sunny Side Up.’
Veteran radio host and broadcaster Francois St Juste passed away
The late broadcaster and musicologist thanked Radio Jamaica for its support throughout his career and for allowing him to be himself while working within the company’s framework in the magazine celebrating its 70th anniversary.
St. Juste had a contagious sense of humour and exuded an air of vitality.
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George Davis, president of the Press Association of Jamaica, hailed St. Juste as a “giant” of Jamaican broadcasting, beginning with his time at FAME 95 FM and ending with his role as co-host of “Sunny Side Up.”
Gary Allen, CEO of the RJRGLEANER Group, described St. Juste’s death as “a massive body blow” to the whole firm.
According to Allen, the late broadcaster was well-known for his creativity and ability to successfully execute projects.
According to St. Juste’s CEO, the company actively seeks and recruits talented journalists.
Some of the highest-ranking government officials made public statements of condolence.