Public Relations Society of Jamaica hails Keith Brown
Below are excerpts from a statement from the Public Relations Society of Jamaica following the passing of Veteran broadcaster, PR practitioner, Keith Brown.
THE PUBLIC Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) is celebrating the life of its founding president, Keith Brown, who led the charge to raise awareness of the importance of public relations in the development of Jamaica’s private and public sectors.
Keith Brown was a veteran of public relations practice in Jamaica. He and Ralston Smith, then head of Jamaica’s first Public Relations Agency, PRA, played a key role in convening the first gathering of local PR practitioners in 1981 out of which the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) was born.
The PRSJ hails its founder for his dedication to representation and collective bargaining. This passion led him to work as part of the team to introduce the Caribbean Labour Journal alongside communicator and PRSJ Past President Berl Francis; Dr Noel Cowell and Bentham Hussey of The University of the West Indies. “The journal, now defunct, celebrated the natural marriage of labour relations and organisational communication. Through the publication, we aimed to provide managers, trade unionists, human relations practitioners, communication specialists and other interested groups with material that went to the heart of the labour problems facing the region,” notes P.P. Francis.
Brown was among the handful of persons who introduced the International Association of Business Communicators to Jamaica. A keen member, he led several Jamaican delegations to their conferences. “Keith was acutely aware that effective communication does not just happen. His credo was ‘you can wing it and take a chance on the results, or you can be purposeful and succeed’,” PP Francis added.
In tribute, Elaine Commissiong, also a past president of the PRSJ, remembered Mr Brown’s penchant for professional development. “When a meeting of the fledgling PRSJ met to determine the need for tertiary training in public relations at the UWI’s CARIMAC Department, Keith Brown was one of those, as a founding member of the PRSJ, who helped formulate what that course should look like. His commitment to the development of PR as a profession in Jamaica was unquestionable!”
Mr Brown’s early convergence of business, sport, and cultural production was an important precursor to what is now known as the cultural economy. He served as a sportscaster at RJR under Sports Editor Ed Barnes, who he eventually joined at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. His presentation of the television series Thursday Night At The Fights was a significant point of his career. Brown later made a significant contribution to the staging of the Wray and Nephew Contender Series between 2011 and 2018. “It could be said that through his work in business in local bauxite, as well as in sport and entertainment, Keith helped to demonstrate the diversity in the application of public relations practice in Jamaica,” PP Commissioning related.
For his work in entertainment, communication specialist and promoter Lois Grant identified the popular live concert series Heineken Startime as groundbreaking. “ Heineken Startime provided a solid and constant outlet for that genre of our music which needed a platform to promote our roots, rock, reggae music dating back to the ‘60s.” Ms Grant recalls that the concept was started by then promoters Innercity Promotions under the banner ‘Roots Rock Reggae’.
“Keith and his partner, Michael Barnett, took the showcase to greater and more steady heights as the series became a constant feature on the local entertainment calendar,” Ms Grant said.