St. Lucian by birth, Alva Clarke began his broadcasting career in 1954 as a programme assistant and later as Deputy Programme Director and News Editor with the Windward Islands Broadcasting Service (WIBS) in Grenada when it was launched in 1954.
Clarke’s entry into broadcasting followed a stint in print journalism as a Sports Editor and political reporter with the Voice newspaper in St. Lucia.
Broadcasting took him to London where he freelanced with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) following which he returned to the Caribbean and became the Federal Broadcasting Officer of the West Indies Federation. He spent a year in this position and then travelled to Ethiopia in 1959 where he served as a Broadcast Adviser to the government there. He returned from the turbulence which befell that country to the BBC in London in 1961 as a producer, and was elevated to the position of senior producer, assuming responsibility for the BBC‘s daily short wave transmission to the region, “London Calling the Caribbean”.
He was seconded by the BBC to organise the 8th biennial conference of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) in Jamaica in 1970 which proved to be an auspicious occasion for the CBU, as it was at that particular meeting that the CBU came into existence. Clarke would also become Secretary General of the CBA that year, a post he would hold for 22 years during which he travelled to all the continents of the world serving broadcasting organisations in 51 countries.
Clarke was an eager supporter of Caribbean regional integration paying close attention to the media’s possible contribution to the movement, endorsing and supporting the proposal made in 1969 for the formation of an association of Caribbean broadcasters.
In the very early 1990’s following his tenure with the CBA, Clarke took a relatively brief respite from the United Kingdom to return to his native St. Lucia as General Manager of the St. Lucia Broadcasting Corporation. After a short stint as head of the national broadcaster of his homeland he returned to London where he died in 1994.
Throughout his life Clarke remained a loyal friend, adviser and supporter of the Union – ensuring the CBU Annual General Assembly was on his calendar for attendance no matter which corner of the world he was – advocating the interests of the Caribbean broadcasting and channelling assistance for its advancement.
Alva Clarke was inducted posthumously into the CBU Hall of Fame in 1996.