By Caitlyn Finnegan
Something new will be hitting local airwaves this June. JVC Broadcasting Media has agreed to a $3.5 million deal to purchase five local radio stations currently owned by Asterisk Communications Inc, with an agreement to take control over its operations on June 1.
The stations include Ocala-based WTRS 102.3 FM Thunder Country and WMFQ 92.9 FM 92Q, as well as three stations based in Gainesville; WBXY 99.5 The Star, WXJZ 100.9 Smooth FM and WYGC 104.9 FM 105 The Game.
“We always liked the Florida market, and the Gainesville/Ocala area is just the type of community we enjoy working with; all of its signals are good and it hasn’t been over-radioed from big corporations,” said John Caracciolo, JVC Media’s CEO.
Caracciolo said he has a few employees from the Gainesville/Ocala region who turned him on the the idea of moving into the area. As the largest independently owned and locally operated radio broadcast and live entertainment company in Long Island, JVC Media owns four FM stations and manages the Pennysaver Amphitheater, a 7,000-person outdoor concert facility . The company is active within the community it serves in New York, and it hopes to maintain the same level of involvement in the Gainesville area, Caracciolo said.
The company plans to move all of the stations to a central office in downtown Gainesville, “right in the middle of the action.” The five stations’ offices are currently located in two separate locations in Gainesville and Ocala.
JVC is currently working with local real estate agencies to find a space that will provide room to expand the five stations’ current operations, as well as provide wide first-floor windows that will offer a view into the live studios for people passing by.
“We want to take it back to the old-school way of recording shows, with direct interaction with people on the street,” Caracciolo said.
While the company hasn’t settled on a location yet, Caracciolo said that a space like the first floor of the Continuum Graduate Community would be ideal.
Moving forward, JVC plans to add staff members to both its New York and Florida offices to help manage the new stations. Caracciolo said he also hopes to work with city officials to start up lunchtime concerts in Bo Diddley Plaza, as well as other live music events.
“We want to make a big splash when we come in, and we have our marketing and event team planning several events to announce our arrival,” Caracciolo said.
Caracciolo said the company is planning to host a big concert event in September, but that idea is still in the beginning stages.
JVC’s marketing manager for the region, Shane Reeve, said that listeners can expect to see a few tweaks and changes to the lineup, but nothing is set until the company has finished its market research. Reeve said JVC is looking forward to expanding its reach and model of business to the Gainesville/Ocala area.
“We are a very promotionally active and on-the-streets type company and that’s what you can expect from us,” Reeve said. “We really want to be a big part of the community.”