Radio Caymans

This article was originally material for a broadcast of “Wavescan” via Adventist World Radio in August 2001, and now forms part of the Radio Heritage Collection ©. All rights reserved to Ragusa Media Group, PO Box 14339, Wellington, New Zealand. This material is licenced on a non-exclusive basis to South Pacific DX Resource hosted on radiodx.com for a period of five years from February 2002. Author: Adrian Peterson

Cayman Islands – Historical Review

The Cayman Islands are located in the central Caribbean, almost half way between Cuba and Central America. There are three major islands in the Cayman group; Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman.

The total population in the Cayman Islands is a little over 10,000, and the capital is Georgetown, on Grand Cayman. These islands are a popular tourist destination, particularly for Americans who wish to escape the cold northern winter.

The first European explorer to discover the Cayman Islands was the famous navigator Christopher Columbus who visited the Caymans on his last Caribbean journey in May 1503. The Cayman islands are a Dependency of Great Britain, and the name “Cayman” is derived from an old Spanish word meaning “alligator”.

Radio broadcasting came very late to the Cayman Islands, and up until the early 1970’s, local residents had to tune their radio receivers to stations in other nearby countries, such as Jamaica and Miami for programming in English, or Cuba and Central America for programming in Spanish.

The first radio station in the Cayman Islands was an educational FM station with 100 watts on 101.1 Mhz which was opened somewhere around 1973. This station identifies on air as ICCI-FM and it is owned and operated by the International College on Grand Cayman. A commercial FM station, ZFZZ with 15 kW on 99.9 Mhz made its first appearance in 1997.

Radio Cayman in Georgetown is first listed in the World Radio TV Handbook for the year 1976, with three transmitters; 10 kW on 1555 kHz, 1 kW on 1205 kHz, and 250 watts on 105.3 Mhz FM. According to a 1981 letter from Loxley Banks, the Director of Broadcasting, their station began broadcasting in December 1976. Additional test broadcasts began in April 1977, and the station was officially inaugurated three months later on July 13, 1977.

The 10 kW mediumwave transmitter at Gun Bluff on 1555 kHz was closed eight years ago due to the cost of operating the facility and the fact that the transmitter area became built up with housing domains. The old and ailing 1kW unit on 1205 kHz was closed just three years ago. Radio Cayman is on the air these days from just four FM transmitters at two different locations; Georgetown on Grand Cayman, and Cayman Brac.

Duiring the nearly quarter century that the mediumwave units were on the air, this station was heard widely throughout the Caribbean, and at times in the United States, and occasionally even in Europe and the South Pacific. The station always verified reception reports with a courteous letter in English. The AWR collection contains two verification letters from Radio Cayman, each signed by Loxley Banks, the Director of Broadcasting.

Radio Broadcasting in the Cayman Islands

WRTH Listings

————————————————————————————
Year kHz kW kHz kW Mhz kW Mhz kW Mhz kW
————————————————————————————
1976 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1977 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1978 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1979 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1980 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1981 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1982 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1983 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1984 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1985 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1986 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 .25
1987 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5
1988 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5
1989 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25
1990 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25
1991 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25
1992 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25
1993 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25
1994 1205 1 1555 10 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25
1995 1205 1 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25
1996 1205 1 105.3 5 89.5 .25 91.9 .25 93.9 .25
1997 1205 1 105.3 5 89.5 3 91.9 .25 93.9 .25
1998 1205 1 105.3 5 89.5 3 91.9 .25 93.9 .25
1999 1205 1 105.3 5 89.5 3 91.9 .25 93.9 .25
2000 105.3 5 89.5 3 91.9 .25 93.9 .25
2001 105.3 5 89.5 3 91.9 .25 93.9 .25
2002
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Radio Broadcasting in the Cayman Islands

Locations as listed in WRTVHB

———————————————————————————–
Year Location Channels Location Channels Location Channels
———————————————————————————–
1976 Georgetown 1205 105.3 Gun Bluff 1555
1989 Georgetown 1205 105.3 89.9 Gun Bluff 1555 Brac 91.9
1995 Georgetown 1205 105.3 89.9 Brac 91.9
1996 Georgetown 1205 105.3 89.9 Brac 91.9 93.9
2000 Georgetown 105.3 89.9 Brac 91.9 93.9
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