Everard Davis (1939-2018)
Everard Davis, a trailblazing broadcaster who managed ZFB, Bermuda’s second television station, has died. Mr Davis was 79.
Mr Davis was also the first manager of the Liberty Theatre cinema, opened by the Bermuda Industrial Union in 1987.
His daughter, Gina Davis, said her father was “there at the beginning” when ZFB Radio hit the airwaves in 1962.
The radio station proved a hit and was followed three years later by ZFB TV.
Ms Davis said Montague Sheppard, Capital Broadcasting Company founder, recruited “a group of young black men who wanted to do local broadcasting” for ZFB.
The radio station was launched from a cottage on Berkeley Road, Pembroke, but ZFB soon set up shop on North Shore Road, Devonshire, when Mr Davis took charge.
Ms Davis said: “He wasn’t even 30 when he became manager. He said he was the youngest ever manager to run a TV station.
“He had started off in sales, despite just having a high school education — he could sell ice cream at the North Pole — and he was extremely articulate, which one of the big things that got him into broadcasting. He had the voice.”
ZBM TV was affiliated with the American network CBS, but ZFB ran content from the ABC network — and also pushed to develop unique local shows.
Ms Davis said her father was “an innovator” with shows such as Good Morning Bermuda.
The show went on the air early in the day, unusual for Bermuda, and was a quick success.
Leola Stovell, who spent years as ZFB’s weather presenter, said last year that “everybody that was into anything would be on that show”.
She added Mr Davis was “instrumental” in getting church services broadcast on the radio.
Ms Stovell said: “He would think of things to do in radio and TV that nobody had tried before.”
Among his community-spirited ideas was the broadcast of cartoons for schoolchildren when hurricane alerts kept them at home.
Mr Davis was fond of attending ABC events in the US and befriended network celebrities, who would visit his family home when they came to Bermuda.
Ms Davis said her father got to meet Jonathan Frid, the actor behind the vampire Barnabus Collins from the hit show Dark Shadows, which was popular on the island. She added an early job as a messenger for Government House was “probably how he got to know so much about dealing with people”.
Ms Davis added: “Not only was he highly charismatic, he had a major sense of humour. He always had a joke and a story to tell.”
Mr Davis also brought live international boxing matches to big screens in nightclubs and workmen’s clubs.
But showmanship ran in the family — his father, Alick “Al” Davis, was a top local musician and gifted saxophonist.
Elsie Davis, his mother, was active in St Paul AME and the Sunshine League youth charity.
His daughter said Mr Davis, a father of six, was married first to Nathalie Davis, then Mildred Davis before Ingrid Austin became his “final life partner”.
A memorial service will be held at St Paul AME Church in Hamilton on November 8 at 1pm.