Renowned Trinidadian radio personality David ‘Dave’ Elcock dies at 78

The late Trinidadian broadcaster, David "Dave" Elcock.
The late Trinidadian broadcaster, David “Dave” Elcock.
Hidemi Takagi

Winston David “Dave” Elcock, one of the most beloved radio personalities that Trinidad and Tobago ever produced, died on Aug. 25, of natural causes in Brooklyn, his son Marc David Elcock confirmed.

Funeral Service was held on Sept. 3 at R. Steven Legall Funeral Home on Avenue N in Brooklyn.

Elcock’s body was cremated 10 days later at Greenwood Cemetery in Newark, NJ.

Marc told Caribbean Life on Thursday that his dad’s ashes are currently in the family’s possession and that the family is yet to determine a final resting place.

Marc said his father became known throughout Trinidad and Tobago as “Big Brother Dave”.

“He was dubbed the Dean of Broadcasters for his versatility and dominance of the early morning airwaves,” the obituary says.

Elcock was born on Sept. 20, 1943 on Duncan Street in Port-of-Spain, the Trinidad capital.

He was one of four children born to Jonathan and Sybil Elcock. His siblings were Lloyd Elcock, Victoria Vidale (deceased) and Gloria Rodriguez (deceased).

Elcock received his primary education at two schools, first St. Agnes E.C., and then St. Crispin’s E.C.

He then attended Queen’s Royal College (Q.R.C.) for his secondary education.

In 1962, he joined the staff of 610 Radio, which, at the time, was called Radio Guardian, as a trainee announcer.

“Over the next 10 years, [he] began to establish his name in the field of broadcasting,” the obituary says, stating that Elcock first launched “The David Elcock Show”, which ran for 10 years until 1972, when Elcock made a slight career change by joining the advertising firm of Christiansen and Belgrave, working there for three years.

During that time, however, Elcock continued doing the Sunday Hit Parade, “which had become very popular under his watch,” the obituary says.

In 1976, Elcock returned to 610 Radio, “and Elcock in the Morning was born, a show which would top all the annual radio surveys for almost 15 years,” according to the obituary.

“He created a number of characters, which became household names in Trinidad and Tobago, and the population looked forward on a daily basis to hearing from ‘Leggo Beas’, ‘Granny’, ‘Mr. Bitter’ and ‘Jose Joropo’, among others,” it says.

In addition to being recognized as one of the twin-island republic’s leading broadcasters, Elcock emerged as one of the “most in-demand Masters of Ceremonies of his era,” the obituary says.

“This afforded him the opportunity to welcome onstage international entertainers like Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Barry White, King Curtis, Ray Charles and Redd Foxx,” it says.

During his time at 610 Radio, the obituary says Elcock pursued a course in Television Performance at New York University.

“This prompted him to try his hand as a television host,” the obituary says, adding that, in the 1970s, Elcock’s night-time music and talk TV show, “T&T Tonight”, aired for two seasons on Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT).

On it, the obituary says Dave featured entertainment by and chats with leading local artistes, as well as with visiting entertainers, sports personalities and even government officials.

In 1988, Elcock married Juliet Mangal, with the union producing two children, Marc and Amanda.

Sadly, Juliet passed away in December 2019.

Elcock also had a son, Jason, from a previous marriage to singer Mavis John.

In November 1990, when Neil Giuseppi was appointed managing director of the Trinidad Broadcasting Company, one of his first acts was to launch Radio Tempo (105.1 FM), the first all-local music station in Trinidad and Tobago.

The obituary says Giuseppi was able to persuade Elcock to leave 610 Radio, where he was “an institution for so many years,” to join the Tempo team.

“On Jan. 1, 1991, Radio Tempo hit the airwaves and Dave Elcock’s voice was the first ever heard on the station,” the obituary says.

“For the next few years, he became the voice of Radio Tempo, as he had been for so many years at 610 Radio,” it adds.

After Giuseppi left the Trinidad Broadcasting Company in 1994 and established his own company, Communications Specialists Limited, Louis Lee Sing, chief executive of the International Communications Network, (610 Radio and TTT), approached Giuseppi a year later.

According to the obituary, Lee Sing “wanted to bring back ‘Scouting for Talent’, which had been off the air for several years.

“He asked Neil (Giuseppi) if he would be prepared to produce it,” the obituary says. “He agreed and, a few months later, the new ‘Scouting for Talent’ hit the airwaves.

“In putting the show together, David Elcock was approached to serve as presenter, and he readily accepted,” it adds. “He hosted the show in his very professional style for the first three years that it ran until he migrated to the United States.”

Though semi-retired, the obituary says Elcock, a Born-Again Christian, took his talent to Internet medium, on Radio KYSO in the United States.

“That station seeks to attract music lovers worldwide with Trinidad and Tobago’s unique gifts to the world, calypso and steel band,” it says.

In 1990, during the National Awards, Elcock received the Humming Bird Medal (Silver) for Public Service.

In 2019, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Trinidad and Tobago United Community Association in New York for his “valuable and outstanding service to country and community.”

“David Elcock has always owed his success in radio to some of his predecessors who, in an interview with the Trinidad Guardian in 2009, he called the ‘deities’ of Trinidad and Tobago broadcasters, legends like Ed Fung, Frank Hughes, Leo de Leon, Bobby Thomas, Sir Trevor McDonald, Sam Ghany, Bob Gittens, Errol Chevalier, Clyde Alleyne, Desmond Bourne and Carl Redhead,” the obituary says.

Marc told Caribbean Life that his father’s radio programs were “an integral part of the morning routine in many a household of Trinidad & Tobago.

“He was a pioneer, a trailblazer, a passionate man of the media industry, with a healthy dose of humility and gratitude for all of his life’s blessings,” said Marc, who works as an administrator for lawyers at an unidentified music company in Manhattan. “He was my biggest inspiration when I decided to pursue my own career in media here in New York, and I would ask for his insight countless times.

“As a father, he was caring, loving and supported me in all aspects of my life, even when I didn’t believe in myself,” Marc added. “And it is his unshakable positive outlook and faith that I will use as a template for my life going forward. I will miss him dearly.”

Elcock is survived by his children – Jason, Marc and Amanda; grandchildren – Rachel, Jonathan, Joshua and Avirae; and his brother, Lloyd Elcock, Esq.

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