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Roy Bodden

Roy was born in Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands and spent his early years in Jamaica before coming to the United States in 1948 and settling in New York City. When he was 15, his family moved to Brooklyn where he attended Boys' High School.

While singing in a school program in 1953, he met Nick and Charles Kenny (writers of the Pat Boone hit ‘There’s A Gold Mine in the Sky”) who were in the audience. They asked his mother (his father was a merchant marine and away at sea) if she'd allow her teenage son to join them on some USO shows and she agreed. So between 1953 and 1957, he spent many of his weekends singing and performing on numerous shows for the USO.

In the early 60's, Roy formed a little country band called East Country and did summer shows at Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey, opening shows for artists like Tex Ritter, Webb Pierce, and Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper. One of the highlights of his music career was in the late 60’s when he performed on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Then, in 1968, he moved his family to Tampa where he took a job in Sears’ advertising department.  

After the move, he really didn't do much singing, except for some churches in the area. In 1979 he became one of the first volunteer programmers for Tampa community radio station WMNF, which had gone on the air only a month earlier, and was the only volunteer that the station had in it's early years to do shows featuring different genres of music. In the beginning, WMNF needed programs to fill its broadcast hours on the air and Roy did a lot of them. He also produced programs on the musical theatre, composers, and classical music.

For twelve years (1979-1991), his main program, featuring country, cowboy, western swing, old timey, and bluegrass, was a show called "Country Music Memories," which always closed with a half hour of "grand old gospel favorites."  The show became so popular that two other area stations – WTAN/Clearwater (’84-’87) and WRFA/Largo (’87-91) – aired the program, too.

By 1985, Roy was again doing shows at fairs and opening for other country performers in the bay area. In 1991, he returned to the Caymans to join the sales and programming departments of Radio Cayman on a two-year contract that ran into almost thirteen years. The last live show that he did the night before leaving Tampa Bay was at the Tampa Theatre as an opening act for the Riders in the Sky.

Over the years he has accumulated an impressive list of awards, including the “Deejay of the Year” award from the Florida Country Music Association, the “Living Legend Award” from the Society for the Preservation of Early County and Western Music, a Tampa Bay organization he and his wife, Reva, helped found in 1984, and one of appreciation from the Florida Sheriff’s Boys’ Ranch.  

Roy retired and returned to Tampa in 2003 where, still liking to get up and perform in front of a live audience, he continued to make an occasional appearance at fairs and area churches. Sometime around 2015, he and his wife Reba moved back to the Cayman Islands to spend their retirement years. However, they occasionally revisit Tampa, where they still have family members.

Station History

1979 - 1991 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)

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