The mighty Channel One Studios, Kingston, Jamaica, has its place set in Reggae's musical history. Its distinctive sound the studio created on opening its doors in 1972 to its closure in the early 1980s made it the producer's, singer's and musician's studio of choice during this furtive period. Achieving that vibe and clarity separated it from the other Kingston establishments. Run by the Hookim Family's four sons, Jo Jo the eldest followed by Paulie, Ernest and Kenneth.
Their father originally came from China and married a Chinese Jamaican lady and settled in the St. Andrews district before moving to Kingston Town itself. The family business was built on jukeboxes and one-armed bandit machines in and around Kingston. A lucrative venture, until the gaming laws changed in 1970, outlawing the gaming machines. So the music side of the business would have to be expanded. So it was decided to open a studio to make the music to supply their already established Jukebox enterprise. The four brothers opened Channel One Recording Studios in 1972 at 29 Maxfield Avenue, Kingston 13. Initially as we stated, the purpose of the studio was for the brothers' use only, but this would soon change when various producers, all looking for that Channel One sound, came asking for studio time. The brothers had used the services of Bill Garnet, a renowned and well-respected technical engineer on setting up the studio. They spent a lot of time laying out the space to get the right acoustics and picking the right equipment.
They went with a four-track API desk and the best quality microphones such as Neuman, Sony and AKG, vital in obtaining the quality sound and track separation that would prove so worthwhile after the music was recorded to give the best flexibility on the final mixdowns. Jo Jo would take over the production duties after the initial hiring of Syd Bucknor, a producer who had worked closely with Coxsone Dodd's Studio 1 stable. The first release on the Channel One label would be "Don't Give Up the Fight" by Stranger Cole and Gladstone "Gladdy" Anderson. The initial two thousand run was swallowed up by their jukebox interests and so the steady flow of hits would run up to the breakthrough hit of 1975 "Right Time" by the Mighty Diamonds.
1977 saw Jo Jo extending his stays in New York to a semipermanent status, returning mainly to oversee recording sessions and then taking the results back to America for worldwide distribution. His brother Paulie's senseless killing in that year also added to Jo Jo's decision to spend more time with his Hit Bound Manufacturing set up in New York. The Channel One studio would be upgraded in 1979 to 16 tracks and although Jo Jo and Ernest still covered the mixing and engineering duties, Kenneth would now supervise sessions. An often untold part of Channel One's history is the involvement of producer Niney The Observer. The mid to late 1970s were heavy times both musically and politically and Maxfield Avenue was in the heart of this crossfire. - Jamaican Records