Adult urban contemporary station to launch

Station's key demographic will be black Americans ages 34 to 65


Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.

WURB 97.7 FM, an adult urban contemporary station that will be broadcast to Gainesville and 10 counties, is scheduled to go on air by Dec. 1.

The station will be the first for Urban One Broadcasting Network. William Johnson — who, as managing member, owns 80 percent of Urban One compared with a silent partner's 20 percent — described the music as a blend of R&B and blues.

"There was always a void (in the Gainesville area) as it relates to certain segments of the market," he said. "And I noticed that, over the years, that void still exists."

The station's key demographic will be black Americans ages 34 to 65.

Artists will include the Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross and the Gap Band, Johnson said. Programming also will include the Steve Harvey Morning Show and gospel music.

Originally from Gainesville, Williams said he started the city's first urban format cable radio station, WLUV, when he was 27. He now has 30-plus years of broadcasting experience, including time at stations in Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville.

DJs behind glass

JVC Media, a New York-based company that recently bought five stations in the Gainesville/Ocala market, is planning a move that will put DJs behind windows so downtown Gainesville pedestrians can see inside.

The two stations that will have watchable DJs are WBXY 99.5 and WXJZ 100.9 Smooth FM.

"It's really about the show-business aspect of radio, which, due to a lot of consolidation and voice tracking, it's not done that much anymore," said Shane Reeve, JVC's market manager. "It's usually a computer running the station on-air. But we believe in live and local."

Though not finalized, Reeve said JVC is "leaning toward" the former Brophy's Irish Pub location at the base of the downtown parking garage on SW 2nd Street.

JVC hopes to have remodeling done to move in by late November or December, but it could be January.

Since taking over June 1, JVC has hired about 20 new employees, Reeve said.

— Michael Stone

Airport grants

Money is flying into the Gainesville Regional Airport for improvements.

The airport announced last Thursday that the city has been awarded more than $4 million in federal funds for a taxiway and apron project at the airport. Work could begin as soon as November.

The money includes a $2,487,157 federal discretionary grant to rehabilitate the taxiway and build a new connector to the main commercial runway and $1,790,270 in Federal Aviation Authority funds to help complete the $4.7 million project, according to an airport news release. It includes repaving the main commercial taxiway, replacing lights and signage, and replacing a connector between the taxiway and apron.

"The new connector to the taxiway is important to the safety of pilots traversing from apron to taxiway to runway," airport CEO Allan Penksa says in the news release. "The connector is also the first step in expanding the apron to our west, allowing for safer passenger boarding."

The airport has also been awarded a $170,000 Florida Department of Transportation grant for parking lot improvements. A smaller grant will go toward improvements to the general aviation terminal.

Michael Stone is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.

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