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Jones College Sells WKTZ-FM and WJAX-AM Licenses to Religious Broadcaster EMF

The FCC has granted the assignment of two radio licenses held by Jones College to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation (EMF). Licenses for WKTZ-FM and WJAX-AM in Jacksonville, Florida were sold to EMF for the purchase price of $3,375,000. This ends a 50-year legacy of radio at Jones College, with has up until recently broadcast a “beautiful music” easy listening format on WKTZ and an adult standards format on WJAX, playing artists like Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Peggy Lee, Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, and Louis Armstrong. According to the Jones College Radio website, the first Jones College station was founded by the school’s president:

As the President and Chairman of Jones College for many years, Jack H. Jones operated business colleges in Jacksonville and throughout the southeast United States. In 1964 he was approached with a donation from the Rahall family… At that time FM radio was not well known. FM radios were not yet popular, and not many had been installed in automobiles at this point. FM radio was just getting started.

After taking over the station, Mr. Jones appeared at the studio with a hand full of albums from home. ‘Put these on and nothing else.’ he said. ‘But sir’ said the announcer, ‘If I put these on, you won’t have any listeners by the end of the first song.’ ‘You don’t have any listeners now.’ Mr. Jones said. After changing the music format to Beautiful Music, similar to what you hear today, WKTZ, then at 96.1 on the FM dial began broadcasting its now trademark sound.

For many years Jones College Radio developed its format. Mr. Jones would call in to the station on a two-way radio and tell them to pull that song off the air. He would later go to the station and use nail polish on the album to cover over the songs he didn’t like, just to make sure they weren’t played. “

Jones College radio history is a bit confusing, with the school owning a few stations and with various call sign changes over the years. Back in 2009, an article in the Florida Times-Union recounted a bit of that history and explained the connections with a broadcasting program at Jones College many years ago (back when the FM station was known as WFAM). According to the article,

Up until the mid-1980s, the college taught broadcasting management and on-air skills to students. No more. But at least one alumnus became famous: Leaning against a wall in [General Manager Ken] Jones’ office is a plaque showing the student broadcasters of the year, including 1973 winner Joe Piscopo, who would go on to ‘Saturday Night Live’ and a few forgettable movies.”

EMF plans to simulcast its K-LOVE syndicated religious programming and Christian music over WKTZ-FM and plans to simulcast Radio Nueva Vida Spanish-Christian programming over WJAX-AM. The network does not plan to utilize local studios in Florida and has asked the FCC for main studio waivers for both stations.

According to EMF’s FCC filings, the group wishes to relocate the WKTZ-FM’s main studio 2400 miles away to KLVR-FM in Middletown, California in order to use it as a satellite station that will be “part of a network of radio broadcast stations operated by EMF known as the ‘K-LOVE Radio Network.'” EMF plans to use WJAX-AM as a satellite station of KGCL-FM in Jordan Valley, Oregon, more than 2100 miles outside of WJAX-AM’s listening area. According to an FCC filing, “WJAX(AM) will be part of a network of radio broadcast stations operated by EMF known as the ‘Radio Nueva Vida Radio Network.'”


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4 Responses to Jones College Sells WKTZ-FM and WJAX-AM Licenses to Religious Broadcaster EMF

  1. Jerry Drawhorn October 8, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    My concern over these stations is that they are simulcasting a syndicated program of music and talk on FM in the same communities of service. That hardly fulfills a need for diversity. It just fills up channel space that could be better used for other purposes.

    In 1966 the FCC specifically opened up FM because commercial broadcasters were simulcasting their AM-FM services…and insisted that they use a distinct format on their other station. Suddenly FM became a viable alternative system, with a proliferation of classical, free form and album rock stations, Alternative, NPR, Soul, Latino, etc.

    This duplicity and lack of locally derived programming (whether it be NPR or K-LOVE) is killing radio.

  2. Jerry Drawhorn October 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Oh and one more gripe…does anyone ever check up on these folks when they raise money for non-Station related purposes? Many hold extended fundraising drives (not simply PSA’s) for the new church, hospital, missionaries, the new pastor, and any and every other activity of the licensee. It becomes a money machine for the licensee, not an educational activity.

  3. Donald LeMore November 16, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    As a former broadcaster of various radio stations in the Jacksonville, Fla market since June ’73 starting with the Anniston road Baptist Church, 88.1 Frequency and WMBR 1460, MOR, it’s hard to believe, Jones College Radio sold its call letters/(non-commercial educational frequency) to a company that wishes to use it as a satellite station. I guess even the FCC, after making public their wish to set a goal of localization to help to serve the public in the public interest, can re-neg and lie to the public,too. Even Clear Channel Radio has a bad habit of buying stations to get a larger piece of the advertisers pie, in one market, and often times they too originate their programming many miles away from a city’s local authorized licensed channel. The FCC should have taken a course to grant EMF a license to broadcast on a low power frequency and or sub-channel and certainly not allow them to duplicate from a studio many miles away. I suspect EMF used the argument of using WJAX-AM to be used as a local station with programming to serve the underserved Spanish speaking market. If any of you hear advertising on WKTZ, 90.9, be sure to protest to the FCC using the argument 90.0 is an educational frequency and commercials are illegal.

    • Kathy E December 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      What A Shame…..I Grew Up With This Stations Music And Have Always Enjoyed It. I Think It’s Awful That Ken Jones Refused To Own Up To Selling The Station, And Choose ToSlither Off Without Even An Acknowledgment.

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