Peer to Peer with David Alert


South Bend, Indiana has been put on the Reggae ‘map’ in large part because of radio presenter David Alert aka The Originator.  Playing every week on WSND 88.9 FM, David makes sure that South Bend receives healthy doses of Reggae every week … for the past 39 years.  We are pleased to recognize this honor!

VP:  How did you get your start in the business?

I had first heard Reggae in 1976; it was two pivotal albums that my older sister had (Toots & The Maytals – FUNKY KINGSTON and Bob Marley & The Wailers – LIVE).  This introduction came from my sister during Spring Break in 1976, I took a trip from my hometown of Elkhart, IN to see her while she was living in Clearwater, FL .

Fast forward to April of 1983, Elkhart, IN while I was working at a local Hotel, one of my co-worker’s happen to be a volunteer DJ at WVPE 88.1 FM, a local public radio station and asked me if wanted a position volunteering as a radio DJ. This led to me creating “88 Reggae Street” radio program at WVPE-FM 88.1 and this would lead to my first broadcasting gig.

VP:  What was your first notable project?

To celebrate the new radio program “88 Reggae Street,” I promoted a party, an event in which I booked “DALLOL” a Chicago based band originally from Ethiopia.

The band had recently signed to Rita Marley’s music label, and they also became the new owners of The Wild Hare Reggae Night Club in Chicago. A couple years later they would become Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers backing & studio band who helped deliver Two back-to-back Grammy Winning albums (One Bright Day & Conscious Party).  The success of the party and the band made the event a notable project.

VP:  What was your first breakthrough? 

DA:  I’d have to say my big break came when I decided that I would be committed to Reggae.

In the mid-late 80’s I was knocking on lots of doors, many bars & nightclubs in South Bend and Elkhart, IN. I just needed to talk to the owners, ask them for an opportunity to either book a Reggae band, go 50/50 on the costs of show, or just let me prove to them that I had a platform to promote Reggae, on the airwaves and in print, newspaper articles etc.

Securing the venue(s) for a show, small event and / or concert proved to be the hard part of having a successful turnout. Back in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s the business, the responsibility of promoting an artist or band was of common interest to all of the players, people and parties involved.

You had the record labels and or distributor working with the local promoter(s) and then the talent booking agency was there too. Back in 1987 I was contacted by the East Coast talent agency Fast Lane International which is run and owned by a great guy, George Michailow.

Burning Spear was hitting the road in support of  the LP “The People Of The World” and Heart Beat Records was helping in some aspects, and George Michailow worked with me to make the show happen.  He opened the door for me, gave me the opportunity and I established my promoter skills that night by booking Spear into a Country Rock DanceHall venue!   it was a great success even on a wintery Monday night, February 23rd, 1987. South Bend, Indiana was visited by one of the most revered Reggae Artist to this day, minus perhaps Bob Marley, who I got to see in November of 1979 in Chicago at The Uptown Theatre with Soul Queen, Betty Wright handling the opening duties.

VP:  What are you working on now / next ?

DA:  The 40th Anniversary of Reggae Street radio happens next April, 2023, so I’d like to mark this special occasion with events here and one in Jamaica. I have made a few contacts in Jamaica, some inroads with a few well-known artists, bands who I have either worked directly here for stage shows, or have debuted their music on the radio.

I’ve taken an interest in Jamaica’s Ultimate Roots, Rock, Reggae band: EarthKry who I have booked 4 times in the past 4 years, twice this year; most recently EarthKry had Dalwayne out on the road for his first time on US Soil and the return of Rik Jam “the skinnyman from Fletchers Land” show back in April was a special Tuesday night “Un-Plugged Acoustic Style” show.

Another show, celebrating the anniversary of Reggae Street will be extra special.

VP:  What songs are you listening to on Spotify / Apple Music / Pandora / Audiomack? 

DA:  This is a tough one.  I get a lot of music in my inbox so I don’t get to stream as much as I would like to.  I do like the classics – Toots and The Maytals, Jimmy Cliff and Burning Spear to name a few.

Reggae Street can be heard every Saturday night from 10pm to midnight EST online at: or locally on FM 88.9 and Streain South Bend, Indiana

Stream Total Reggae:  Roots on Spotify