Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Small Radio Station Tuned into Market

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Small Radio Station Tuned into Market

Article excerpt

In a city where the 19 biggest radio stations are owned by just

four companies, you wouldn't think a small independent station

would have a place in the market anymore.

But Robin Raphael, owner of WVOJ (970 AM), thinks his station's

lineup of all locally produced talk shows does have a niche in

today's radio world.

"All of the other stations have syndicated programs," Raphael

said. "This station is focused to sell the community directly."

WVOJ went to its all-talk format on Oct. 21, hoping to

capitalize on the increasing popularity of talk radio,

especially for listeners ages 25 and up.

"Professional people like to listen to talk radio," Raphael

said.

While going all-talk isn't unusual, operating an independent

1,000-watt radio station in today's environment does buck the

trend.

Thanks to a sweeping, year-old federal telecommunications law,

radio stations across the country have spent the past year

merging into big radio empires. The idea is that a big company

can build up a big market presence and operate more efficiently

than independent stations, thereby lowering costs and making

more profits.

The Jacksonville radio market is dominated by four companies:

Paxson Communications (which operates six local stations), SFX

Broadcasting (six local stations), Jacor Communications (five

stations) and Renda Broadcasting (two stations).

Most major U.S. markets have seen similar consolidations in the

past year, leaving independent operators wondering if they can

survive.

"I think it's more difficult for independent operators, but I

don't think it's impossible," said Linda Byrd, general manager

of the Paxson stations in Jacksonville.

Certainly Raphael isn't deterred. "The competition is good for

everybody," he said, adding that WVOJ can offer advertising

rates that are competitive with the big stations.

Operating from its small studio on University Boulevard across

from Jacksonville University, WVOJ doesn't need a huge amount of

advertising to survive. …

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