RJR shuts down AM, Nationwide goes off air

Published: Tuesday | March 31, 2009

Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter


The RJR Communications Group pulled the plug on its AM frequency yesterday, effectively yanking the Cliff Hughes-led Nationwide News Network off the air.

"Radio Jamaica Limited wishes to advise that, with effect from Monday afternoon March 30, 2009, it will cease operation of the RJR AM service," the group said in a short statement yesterday.

"Nationwide Radio, which had been heard on the service will no longer be available through the RJR AM band. The decision has been made after extensive discussions with the operators of the service during the past two years concerning the financial viability of the service."

The statement was issued minutes after the station stopped transmitting in the middle of Nationwide's flagship newscast at 5 p.m.

No surprise

The decision to end transmission was no surprise to Hughes, who was on air at the time.

"We have been in talks for some time and both parties accepted that broadcasting on the AM frequency was not financially viable," he told The Gleaner.

"I want to recognise the assistance that RJR and, in particular, its managing director, Gary Allen, has given Nationwide over the two years that we have transmitted on the AM frequency," Hughes added.

He admitted that Nationwide had sums owed to RJR, but said there was no dispute over the amount owed.

"RJR has been a professional partner and most understanding of our difficulty."

Hughes said that, with RJR's decision to cancel the AM frequency, Nationwide will fast-track plans to move to the recently acquired FM frequency.

"It would be in a matter of weeks and, in the interim, Nationwide will continue to be heard on the Internet."