Long Island gets first country radio station since 2000

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Long Island got a little more country.

After streaming on the Internet for much of Tuesday, WJVC 96.1 FM hit the airwaves at midnight - the first time a country station has been based on the Island since November 2000, when WMJC 94.3 FM switched formats.

The station is licensed out of Center Moriches and will reach from Montauk Point to Route 110.

"There was a huge hole in the market for country," said John Caracciolo, president of JVC Broadcasting, the new owner of the 96.1 frequency. "It's now a mainstream format - look at what 'American Idol' did for country."

LI's country niche was filled Tuesday when JVC finalized its $3 million purchase of adult contemporary WKJI and classic rocker WRCN 103.9 FM from Barnstable Broadcasting. WRCN will retain its format, Caracciolo said. This deal adds to JVC's empire of Party 101.5/105.3 and La Fiesta 98.5/96.9 FM stations.

The new station, known as My Country 96.1 (streaming from licountry.com), will play Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum to Reba McEntire and George Strait. It kicks off with 10,000 songs in a row, commercial-free."We"ll definitely play a lot of the newer stuff - Carrie Underwood, Sugarland - the hit-oriented stuff," program director and morning jock Phatheadcq said. Phathead will be joined on-air by radio vets Party Marty Mitchell and Jay Letterman.

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