WRCN, Party 105 radio station owner eyes downtown move

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The view of downtown Riverhead from Robert James Salon on East Main Street.

JVC Media, which owns local radio stations 98.5, 96.1, 105.3 and 103.9 —the last of which was once in Riverhead — is considering moving its studios to downtown Riverhead, the company’s owner told the News-Review Thursday.

The stations, which operate under the call names  WBON, WJVC, WRCN, and WPTY, are currently housed in the company’s Ronkonkoma studio, though owner John Caracciolo said he is considering buying or leasing space in downtown Riverhead. He said he visited the area Wednesday to scout locations and has met with Riverhead Business Improvement District officials.

“I think Riverhead really has a lot of potential,” Mr. Caracciolo said, adding he would be open to buying a building if it was priced right.

His vision for the station includes a large window where passersby could see disc jockeys at work, he said.

Mr. Caracciolo, who purchased the stations in 2009, said the potential move would be for the long term, as it is very difficult to move radio station equipment. His current lease expires in about a year and a half, he said. The move could happen sometime in 2012.

He said he had considered Riverhead, where WRCN’s license is, in years past but was turned off by the beleaguered downtown. He said he recently ran into Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, who convinced him to reconsider.

Mr. Caracciolo said he spoke with several landlords years ago and then thought the rent was too high. “I thought they were crazy,” Mr. Caracciolo said of the rent prices.

But he’s since changed his mind.

When reached yesterday, supervisor Sean Walter deferred comment to Mr. Caracciolo, but added that “there sure are no secrets in this town.”

Riverhead BID president and Robert James Salon owner Ray Pickersgill also deferred comment to Mr. Caracciolo.

Classic Rock station WRCN, the oldest of the four stations, has been broadcasting since 1962. WPTY is a dance music station best known as Party 105, WBON is a Latin music station and WJVC is a country music station.

WRCN was once housed at the Flanders Drive-in on Flanders Road. It then moved to where Digger O’dell’s restaurant is now at 72 West Main Street and then to Route 112 in Medford before moving to Melvillle and then its Ronkonkoma location.

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