For over 35 years David Rodigan has been the top dog in the ganja-scented, bass heavy-atmosphere of Britain’s reggae dance-halls. The key to his success has been an unsinkable passion for reggae music, which first took a hold of him as a schoolboy when he heard ska music in the early ’60s. He developed an obsession with the music of Jamaica that generated an encyclopaedic knowledge of the island’s every artist, every song and every rhythm track.
His earliest experience of dee jaying was during lunch breaks once a week in the gym at Gosford Hill School in Kidlington, Oxford. On leaving school he landed a place at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in 1971, where he spent three years studying to become an actor. He worked extensively in repertory theatre and appeared in a number of television productions such as ‘Doctor Who’ (BBC) and ‘Shackleton’ (BBC); he also performed his one-man show ‘Zima Junction’ at literature festivals and theatres in the 1970s; a dramatisation of the poem by the Russian writer Yevtushenko.
Rodigan began his reggae broadcasting career in 1978 on BBC Radio London. He moved to Capital Radio in 1979 and remained there for eleven years broadcasting his legendary ‘Roots Rockers’ show every Saturday night. His credibility was ensured when he began clashing with Jamaica’s champion DJ, Barry G on JBC Radio in Jamaica. He then went on to clash with all the top Jamaican sound systems in the West Indies, the USA and England.