The Long Island News Radio station on 103.9 FM plans to launch on Dec. 26 in a former office near the baggage claim inside MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.
The 24-hour all-talk format is to replace the music format, which will include Christmas tunes for the season.
Featuring traffic, news, sports and talk shows, the new station will focus on all of Long Island, all the time, said John Caracciolo, president of station owner JVC Broadcasting of Ronkonkoma.
Caracciolo sees a void in radio coverage of Long Island. "The media still looks at us as a bedroom community," he said, and noted that with 3.4 million residents "we're bigger than some states; and there isn't a news talk station." The station will be heard in Suffolk County and online, he said.
Islip Town officials said a radio station broadcasting from MacArthur will raise the airport's profile.
"The town board quickly embraced this creative opportunity when first presented with the idea of a radio station as they saw value in three ways; filling vacant space with a paying tenant, establishing a new resource for public information during emergencies, and of course, new avenues to promote our airport to wider markets," said town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia.
Caracciolo said while JVC had considered other high-profile locations such as a studio in downtown Patchogue, the novelty of the airport won out.
"Long Island doesn't have a 34th Street and Fifth Avenue," he said on a recent visit to the new studio. "This is our hub. What better place than our only [major] airport?"
Caracciolo said he believes this is the only radio station in an area airport. JVC is paying Islip "fair market value" of $15 to $18 per square foot for the 250 square feet studio and a separate office space, he said.
JVC spent about $175,000 in soundproofing to ensure the studio maintains the requisite quiet. "Back here, the jet noise isn't too loud," Caracciolo said of the studio's location near the front of the airport. The studio's large glass windows face baggage claim and are intended to attract travelers and airport visitors, and integrate the station's presence into the airport environment.
The station will employ about 20 full-time and part-time staffers. Matthew Goldapper, the station's general manager, said the company plans to bring on college students to report and produce news segments.
"We're going to touch on everything," Goldapper said, with local business spotlights and some syndicated health care material from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a television medical correspondent. While the station intends to be nonpartisan, Goldapper said it will host special programming from conservative TV and radio host Sean Hannity, who grew up in Franklin Square, and may have talk shows for former Suffolk executive Steve Levy and conservative talk show host John Gomez.
November 2013Radio station owner JVC Broadcasting announces planned Dec. 26 launch for all-news and talk station at airport.
August 2013JVC announces plans to move headquarters and broadcasting studios to Patchogue and open a satellite studio at MacArthur airport. Suffolk IDA awards $228,057 in tax breaks to JVC for the $1.2M headquarters.
June 2013Islip Town Board approves several items affecting the Ronkonkoma airport, including one that will allow JVC Broadcasting to host a 24-hour radio station in an empty baggage office in the airport's main terminal.