By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ISLAND FM 102.9 has announced that it will be closing its doors and taking a “hiatus” after more than two decades in service.
The radio station delivered the news in a statement released to the media. The move takes effect today, February 1.
When contacted for comment yesterday, Eddie Carter, the station’s programme director, said there were several factors that led to the company deciding to discontinue operations, which he said did not come easy.
“Since the pandemic, we were unable to rebound. The customers that came back, you know unfortunately, and I understand completely from their aspect couldn’t come back at the levels they came back out at prior to the pandemic,” he told The Tribune.
“We lost a lot of other customers who just could not again, and I understand completely, who just could not afford to spend money on advertising at this period of time. So, it became, you know, an issue of the finances after a while as well.”
Less than a dozen staff members were still employed at the station, according to Mr Carter.
Island FM said when it began broadcasting in August 2001, the marketplace was already competitive but noted that it had a “sound that was completely foreign”.
The station also noted that over its lifespan, it experienced many great moments, “including making history as the first private radio station to stage a live debate between two aspiring Prime Minister candidates”.
“It was the lifelong passion of Island FM founder Sir Edward Charles Carter to promote the very best of The Bahamas. So, there was no debate or second-guessing, Island FM was going to be a great promoter of Bahamian music, Bahamian culture and indeed Bahamian Life,” the radio station’s statement added.
“Twenty-two years later and there are now over 25 private radio stations, ZNS and now a sound that is a bit more familiar. Island FM made a difference. It exposed us to our music, helped us to appreciate those rhythms that are uniquely ours.
“It saluted our most celebrated musicians while uncovering talent previously unknown. It told our stories through music, creative programming and wonderfully recorded interviews that showed the Bahamian story.”
Island FM also spoke to its popular themed programmes that the company said they will never forget.
“There was no bigger themed show than ‘Sir Charles Carter’s Bahamians’. With his familiar chant of ‘These are Bahamians’, each of these over 750 shows educated and entertained listeners of all aspects of Bahamian life like no previous show ever had,” Island FM said.
“‘Island Classics’ brought the great music of yesterday back to life while ‘Great Hymns of the Church’ did the same for the non-secular genre. Many of these shows focused on key aspects of Bahamian life like ‘Island Kids’, ‘Junkanoo Talks’, ‘Island sports talk’ and for the arts ‘Creative Nassau’.
“Let’s Talk Health’ for a healthier lifestyle while politics was the order of the day for ‘Parliament Street’ and even the one-of-a-kind show ‘Grumpy Old Men’ which featured music industry giants Ronnie Butler and King Eric Gibson.
“‘Rendezvous’ was successfully produced to help foster a better understanding of our neighbours to the south while our morning show ‘Da Mornin’ Boil’ became a flagship show and the wake-up call for many morning commuters.”
As for whether the station would ever make a comeback, Mr Carter told this newspaper it was definitely possible.
However, he hinted that if it did, there would be a new leader at the helm.
“We, the Carter family and myself –certainly believe in the power of Bahamian music and culture and we do believe that it could be a viable and financially stable and lucrative even business, but it needs some interjection of some young blood, I think, some young energy, fresh energy, probably for capital investment,” he added.
“I think it needs a different approach to maybe how today’s radio market is served best by a radio station and I think this is time that it’s somebody else and not me.”
The station also extended thanks to Michael Thompson for keeping them on the air, Streamco, the Catholic Diocese of The Bahamas and also, fellow broadcasters who the station said, “were always ready and willing to assist.”
“As Island FM steps back and pauses operations we thank it for reminding us of how great we can be, have been and should be. Forward, upward and onward together,” the station said in closing.