In what is being described as the most transformative power play in Diaspora radio, The Bridge 99FM in Kingston, Jamaica, last November began a series of radio simulcasts with G98.7FM, a leading urban station in Toronto, Canada.
Bobby Clarke, chairman of The Bridge 99FM & Irie Jam Radio, who brokered the landmark deal, said negotiations started about a year ago and concluded recently.
The groundbreaking simulcast kicked off on November 29 with Nicole ‘Nikki Z’ Duhaney of The Bridge 99FM and DJ Spex of G98.7FM.
The simulcast now airs Tuesday and Fridays from 8:45 am to 9:15 am during ‘Up and Go’ with veteran broadcaster Richard ‘Richie B’ Burgess. In addition, Nikki Z and DJ Spex will broadcast from 3:15 pm to 3:45 pm on Monday and Thursdays.
In addition, Irie Jam’s signature Saturday programme, ‘Primetime Saturdays’, will be live in Toronto from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. This time slot will feature the New York icons DJ Roy and Dub Master Chris, but there will also be a connection with the sensational DJ Roddy G on the Bridge 99FM.
“We are creating history as this is the first time that three commercial stations from Canada, New York, and Jamaica will be simulcasting, all in connecting Jamaica with the US/Canadian Diaspora. It is hugely significant as it allows listeners/viewers in these markets to be connected through a virtual media superhighway that will benefit them culturally.”
Clarke reasoned that the new arrangement would also create new revenue streams and inspire significant financial growth opportunities for advertisers.
“Advertisers are the biggest winners in this scenario,” he reiterated.
“Imagine you have a business selling honey on the sidewalk in Clarendon. You can now solicit customers in New York, Miami, Toronto and London. The Bridge will even help get your goods and services delivered to potential clients in these markets. This applies to all businesses including lawyers, hotels, Airbnb, restaurants and various financial institutions.”
The Bridge 99FM, launched in July 2021, is owned by Caribbean Global Network (CGN) Group, operators of IRIE Jam Radio, WVIP, 93.5FM in New York and is considered a significant voice to the Jamaican Diaspora in the tri-state region.
Presenters include former Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding, former Minister of Education and attorney Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Thwaites; Delano, of Renaissance sound system; Elise Kelly; DJ Kurt Riley, legendary comedian Oliver Samuels and broadcaster/entertainer Dr Kingsley ‘Ragashanti’ Stewart.
The G98.7FM radio station was founded in 2011 by Jamaica-born entrepreneur Fitzroy Gordon, serving the Greater Toronto area, and was recently sold to CINA Radio Group and named former iHeartRadio executive Gary Gunter as general manager. The 30-year radio veteran previously served as market senior vice president of sales with iHeartMedia in Norfolk, Virginia.
He also held senior positions with Radio One in St Louis, Baltimore and Detroit and Cox Media in Orlando, Florida.