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What Was Athniel C. “Addie” Ottley, Veteran Broadcast Icon?

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Former Senator, Lieutenant Governor, and broadcasting host Athniel C. “Addie” Ottley was born on November 19, 1941, in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands, to Aubrey Ottley, the postmaster of Charlotte Amalie, and Iris Ottley. He was the oldest of 11 siblings.

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Ottley built and operated his own ham radio as a teenager, becoming the first teenager on St. Thomas to be granted a Ham radio license, KV4BW. During his sophomore year at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic High School in Charlotte Amalie, he won a local disc jockey contest hosted by radio station WSTA. He was elected President of the Senior Class two years later, in 1959, as a graduating senior.

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Ottley then moved to New York City, where he enrolled in the RCA Institute of Technology and graduated in 1962. He later studied electronics and engineering at the Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There, he married Alice Louise Johnson, with whom he had two sons, Alan and Andre Ottley, and three daughters, Angela and Alfreda.

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Ottley returned to St. Thomas in 1965 and worked as an assistant manager for WSTA before being promoted to station manager in 1968. Ottley was elected to the Virgin Islands Legislature in 1973 and was appointed Lieutenant Governor by Governor Melvin Evans. He remained in office until 1975. He married Mary Simmonds in 1975.

Ottley returned to his morning show on WSTA 1340 AM in 1977 and hosted “Face to Face,” a weekly TV show produced by Public Broadcasting Station WTJX Channel 12. Ottley founded and became president of Ottley Communications in 1985, when he and a group of family members and local investors purchased the WSTA radio station. It was the first locally owned radio station.

His Excellency, Herbert A. Bevard, Bishop of St. Thomas and The Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands honored Ottley at the 5th Annual Keys and Swords Award Benefit in 2014. Ottley was knighted to the Order of St. Gregory by Pope Francis in 2017 and awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of the Virgin Islands in 2018 for his efforts in keeping residents calm during several hurricanes.

In 2021, the Virgin Islands’ 34th Legislature named a road in St. Thomas after Ottley in recognition of his years of informing and educating the public.

Athniel C. “Addie” Ottley died in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on February 10, 2022. He was 80.

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Written by How Africa News

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