Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Leaon Nash: The 'Bless-up Man'

Published:Monday | January 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Writer

Leaon Nash, a communication and public relations officer at the Jamaica Teacher's Association, recently launched a new radio programme 'Gospel beat' on Gospel Ja.

Flair met up with Nash, who shared his media experience, which went as far back as JBC radio days in 1998. "I have learnt the ways of journalism now, but I have to thank God for the exposure I got in my early years at JBC radio central in Mandeville," he noted.

After graduating from Elim Agricultural School in 1998, Nash got his first job as a reporter at KLAS. With this, he recalled his most shocking experience: "When I went in to speak to Michael Cuff, who interviewed me for the job, he asked why I wanted to work for KLAS, and after I told him that I had a passion for journalism and wanted to prove it, he said 'Come in on the following day and let me see what you can do.' I began writing features and doing outside broadcasts on the High Mountain Coffee road race and later Dover racing with Stafford Haughton, and that too was a good experience," he added.

Nash said that propelled him to continue in media, which later landed him at Power 106 Newsroom, Irie FM and other media companies as correspondents.

The young preacher's admiration for Gerrard McDaniel helped to motive him to become who he is today, "While I was attending all-age (school) I used to listen to Gerrard McDaniel on the radio. He had a strong radio voice which I admired and wanted to emulate." Another radio personality Nash said he used to and still admires is Barry G, 'The Boogie Man', "I like his style and the way he went about his work, doing so much by himself - inspiring and capturing an audience. He still has my ear," he concluded.

How it all began?

Coming from a humble Christian beginning, Nash did not let his circumstances dictate his future. "Growing up for me was, for the most part, exciting, but difficult as my mother was a 'higgler' and my father a farmer. For many years, I had to assist with the selling at the market - Spanish Town, May Pen, Mandeville and Balaclava - on weekends and had to miss school sometimes on a Friday," he recalled.

His hard-working parents saw the passion Nash had for journalism and did what they could to encourage and support him "from I was an all-age school student and would run competitions with my dad and other siblings after church on a Sunday so as to know who best would read The Sunday Gleaner. I would turn out to be the best reader," he noted.

"I grew up in the John's Hall Shiloh Apostolic Church in John's Hall, Manchester, and got baptised at the tender age of 10 years old," he said excitedly.

Although Nash did not have sufficient church wear, he kept the faith and God provided for him. "One of my first pairs of shoes was a Hush Puppies, bought for me by Pastor Samuel Shaw, my second dad." Nash now serves as an ordained minister in the Shiloh Apostolic Church of Jamaica.

Living by the mantra 'trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy path', Nash surpassed his own expectations and recalled a moment that changed his life for the better. He had difficulty passing his exams because of a problem with his name. "It was not until my last year in grade nine at the Nazareth All-Age in Maidstone, Manchester that my then principal Mrs Beryl Foster said 'you are not a dunce, there must be a problem why you are not getting a pass. 'Take your birth certificate to me' she remarked. And having done that, at my last exam I found out that an 'a' was in my name. All these years I wrote on the exam sheet 'Leon' when it was 'Leaon'. I owe much to Mrs Foster," he revealed.

Destined for greatness, Nash went to the University of the West Indies, graduating with a media and communications degree, with a radio emphasis in 2008 and has been working at the JTA since.

After gaining three months experience in 2012, with Gospel Ja, which was launched in February of the said year, he returned two weeks ago - Through contacts made to CEO Wyatt K.C. Davis, who decided to give him a contract.

Nash said that his intention is to make a significant impact in radio, through 'Gospel Beat'. "I wish to have a programme that is inspiring, entertaining and, of course, impacts people's spiritual life through counselling and the playing of appropriate songs and prayers," he explained to Flair.

"There are also interesting features for the entire family, the business community and generally for the radio listener," he concluded.

Popularly known as the 'Night's Watchman' he now goes by the name 'The Bless-up Man' as he hosts Gospel Beats aired Monday to Friday, 6-10 p.m.

cathy.risden@gleanerjm.com