Jamaica has been struck by another death which has impacted the lives of many. The veteran broadcaster, Dorraine Samuels, passed away on the 26th of March, 2019 after losing her battle with the unforgiving disease of pancreatic cancer.
The vivacious fifty-nine-year-old lived a fulfilling life, being an inspiration to many in her wake, and ensuring that she invested one hundred and ten percent in her job as a television broadcaster until the very end. She was a longstanding anchor of Television Jamaica’s nighttime news up until January 2019.
“Dorraine was a tough person and worked up to three Fridays ago, and many persons just would not know, but she soldiered on. She was so dedicated, so committed; in fact, some of us wondered if coming to work, continuing to work was kinda like therapy for her [to] help her get through this difficult process as she battled on. It’s just a really difficult day for us,” Milton Walker, Journalist.
Succumbing to surgery in recent weeks, her colleagues, family, friends, and well-wishers had her recovery in their prayers. During this unfortunate time, prayers for her family and those who have been stricken by the loss, remain said, in hope that they would be granted strength to carry on.
“We initially discovered her in the Miss Jamaica World contest when she did her recordings for the presentation and the work on the contest itself. She obviously had an outstanding ability to articulate, and she had a beautiful voice, and she pretty well knew how to use it, and her English was very good,” Don Topping, RJR supervisor of announcers when Samuels joined.
Samuels joined the RJR Radio in 1980, following her fifth-place placement in the Miss Jamaica World in that same year; she was recruited by veteran broadcaster Alan Magnus, and the rest was history. She went on to invest forty years in the television industry.
She was undeniably loved by all, if it wasn’t those who worked with her or interacted directly with her, there were others who grew up watching her as a news anchor. She soon became known as the voice of RJR News in so many respects due to her commitment and dedication to her art.
She did it all, presented her own shows and the shows for others, read the news, but her passion was really co-anchoring, which is evident as she spent most of her time doing so alongside Allan Magnus, the ‘King of Morning Radio’, Jamaica Today, Sunday Magazine, The Good Morning Jamaica Show, as well as Dorraine’s Coffee Break, were crowd favorites not to mention the coveted Prime Time News spot.
“She was one of our main readers for radio news; she had become pretty much a staple for Newsline Seven in the morning, and the 12 o’clock news for radio, and also, for about 15 years, was co-anchor — first with Michael Sharpe and then Archibald Gordon — for Prime Time News,” Milton Walker, Journalist.
In addition to being a huge television talent, the St. Hugh’s alum was a singer, guitarist, violinist, and pianist.
Dorraine is survived by three children; her husband, Karl Binger, passed away in 2011.
Following her loss, there will be a significant void in the profession, and since her passing, persons have taken to the internet to express their condolences and tribute to the Jamaican ‘Mother of Folk Talk Radio’.
“It is with a deep sense of sadness that the immediate family and the RJRGLEANER Group family of broadcaster Dorraine Samuels announce her passing. Dorraine had surgery in recent weeks and we have been praying for her recovery…However, she lost her battle with cancer this afternoon (Tuesday). We request the respect of privacy at this time. We continue to hold her family, friends, and colleagues in our prayers.” – RJR’s official statement
“Her sincerity, integrity, and significant contribution to broadcast media are unparalleled. We pray with the RJR/Gleaner group and the entire media fraternity in this their time of sorrow,” – Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica
“With nearly four decades in the broadcasting business, Dorraine was the consummate professional, presenting the news flawlessly. Despite her illness, she continued her duties up to days before her surgery…Dorraine was one of the few broadcasters who was able to seamlessly move between the media of radio and television. She was not only a broadcaster but someone who also worked tirelessly to aid the less fortunate….” – George Davis, President of the Press Association of Jamaica
“This feels like the loss of a member of the family. I believe that is how many Jamaicans saw Dorraine—she was like family, and we admired, appreciated and loved her. We share this great loss with Dorraine’s family and colleagues, and I ask that we keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” -Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport.
“An entire generation grew up with her voice in the mornings and she represented the authentic source on which they could depend to deliver the news at various times of the day,” Dr. Peter Phillips.
“She set such a wonderful example as a broadcaster for young Jamaicans and aspiring broadcasters to follow. She was the same standard. She maintained the same standard, no matter how ill she was. We didn’t get an inkling of it, and that was truly amazing,” Alma Mock-Yen, radio personality.
“Dorraine Samuels has contributed a lot to the media industry; her soft and smooth voice will surely be missed. Her upright and firm delivery of the news was her hallmark. She read the news effortlessly, and that was always something I admired about her. I doubt there will ever be another like her. I will miss her from the media, but I welcome the move. I believe that people should step away from the things they love at their strongest and not at their weakest or lowest because those are the points people will remember the most,” Nickoyon Brown, Jamaican fan.
By Alexandra Daley