Northeast Florida Roundup
WJCT 89.9 FM launches 24-hour music program: Jacksonville Music Experience
Along with converting to an all-news/talk format, public radio station WJCT 89.9 FM has launched a 24-hour music program called Jacksonville Music Experience (JME).
The brainchild of music director and radio host David Luckin, JME provides music programming on WJCT’s HD channels, on its website and through its phone app. Luckin says JME offers easy access and a wider range of music along with its 24-hour format. For instance, Luckin has 3,000 songs in rotation on the Electro Lounge program and 2,500 on Anthology, which plays ’60s, ’70s and ’80s music. “The average radio station has like 100 to 200 (songs) in rotation,” Luckin says.
The new format was tested during what would have been the 2020 Jacksonville Jazz Festival, which was canceled because of COVID-19 health concerns. During the virtual Jazz Fest weekend, JME broadcasted 15 concerts featuring local jazz musicians through its various channels of distribution. Concerts were also broadcasted through JME’s Facebook page.
“We have such a vital music community,” Luckin says. “We’re just trying to fill the void — as everyone is — to keep the music alive and give musicians a chance to reach out to their fans.”
- Fidelity National Information Services has received a permit for its 12-story office tower and eight-story garage in downtown Jacksonville. The financial technology company is expected to add 500 employees by 2030.
- University of North Florida grad Whitney Meyer has been appointed vice president of diversity and inclusion. The position was created to advise UNF leadership on inclusion and racial equality.
- Florida Defenders of the Environment has filed an appeal on a federal judge’s ruling in a case against the U.S. Forest Service. According to the lawsuit, the government has been operating the Rodman dam in the Ocala National Forest without the required permit.
- The Marion County Zoning Commission has approved a proposal for Blitch Plantation to build a five-acre all-terrain vehicle park in Flemington. The approved plan was scaled down from a 240-acre ATV recreation and entertainment complex proposal, which was opposed by residents and farm groups because the proposed site was in the Marion County Secondary Springs Protection Zone.
- Breakfast and lunch restaurant Florida Cracker Kitchen opened its second Jacksonville location and its fifth nationwide in June. Founded in 2012, the restaurant plans to open a sixth location in Palatka in 2021.
- Plans are underway for two distribution centers in Ocala that together will bring 1,000 jobs to Marion County. Dollar Tree is building a 1.7 million-sq.-ft. distribution center at Ocala’s new Florida Crossroads Commerce Park. The $200-million project will cover 198 acres and bring 700 jobs to the area. In June, Amazon announced plans to lease a 617,000-sq.-ft. warehouse on 35th Street Road. The distribution center will initially create 120 jobs but could eventually grow to 300.
- Former St. Johns County Economic Director of Development Melissa Glasgow is appealing what she calls an “abrupt termination” after nine years with the county.
- The Ocala City Council has named 20-year employee Sandra Wilson its new city manager. She is the first African-American woman to hold the position.
- Heart of Florida Health Center has opened a new headquarters in Ocala. The center, housed in a former Albertson’s grocery store, was founded to serve the uninsured and underinsured. Mayo Clinic has launched a virtual home health care program with a new command center in Jacksonville.
- Ocala Breeders’ Sales has begun live online bidding. In June, more than 1,300 horses were listed in the thoroughbred auction house’s first sale to include online bidding.
- Suddath Cos. has acquired Phase Integration, a commercial technology consulting and project management company.
- The Alachua County Clerk’s Office has been ordered to reduce its fourth-quarter budget by 40%. As a result of 50% decreases in revenue, 60 employees have been taking one unpaid day off every two weeks since June.
- Civilization, a vegetarian restaurant in Gainesville, has closed. The restaurant opened in 2009.
- Because the Jacksonville Symphony was forced to cancel 30 concerts in the 2019-20 season, its operating budget was reduced from $12.1 million to $9.6 million for 2020/21. In July, most of the symphony’s staff was forced to take furloughs that resulted in a pay reduction of up to 10%.
- Jacksonville-based Stein Mart reported a $65.7 million net loss for the first quarter of 2020. CEO Mark Hawkins says losses were due to closures related to the COVID- 19 pandemic. Stein Mart’s first-quarter net sales were down 57.2% over the first quarter in 2019.
- The University of Florida board of trustees filed a motion in June to dismiss a class-action lawsuit that alleges a breach of contract after students were forced to take online classes to finish the spring semester. The lawsuit argues UF should be required to refund tuition and fees because the students enrolled in the school expecting to interact with teachers in a classroom setting as they took courses.
Read more in Florida Trend's September issue.
Select from the following options: