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Herdle White

Jamaica-born Herdle White came to Leicester over forty years ago. He has since established himself as one of the city’s most respected broadcasters – presenting and producing programmes for BBC Leicester and BBC West Midlands. The charismatic host has interviewed everyone from Bob Marley to Courtney Pine and has also spent time coordinating Leicester’s mighty Caribbean Carnival.

The presenter’s passion for music stems from his childhood in Jamaica, where he was brought up alongside the rhythm of reggae. Herdle arrived in Leicester as a young man, in the late 60s, and began working for an engineering firm. After being introduced to BBC Radio Leicester through his wife, Herdle’s trademark cheer caught the attention of studio bosses. What started as something he crammed into his lunch-break began to grow considerably in length and profile. When Bob Marley and the Wailers were booked to play Leicester Polytechnic, in the early 70s, Herdle managed to secure an interview. Although for perplexing reasons their conversation never aired, it set the tone for a career of high-calibre interviewees.

Herdle’s connection with the local music and festival scene picked up speed in the late eighties, during his stint as coordinator for Leicester’s Caribbean Carnival. One of his favourite acts to feature was Tobago-born singer-songwriter Calypso Rose.

Herdle’s professional encounters with artists have often triggered friendships. His conversation with Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate, just after the singer went solo in the mid-eighties, was one such moment. He has since interviewed other major artists, including ska singer Jimmy Cliff, American songstress Candi Staton and reggae stars John Holt and Maxi Priest. One of Herdle’s aspirations is to interview Fats Domino and while holidaying in New Orleans, the presenter stopped off at his house, to try and clinch it. Unfortunately, his hero wasn’t home.

Herdle’s Friday evening slot on BBC Leicester, The Sound of the Caribbean, covers a range of music including reggae, soca and soul. He also produces Sunday show Caribbean Connections, which focuses more on news and culture. Herdle’s once lunch break hobby has gradually developed into a high profile career of cultural significance.

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