April 28, 2006 – After owning Radio One for more than a decade, Randolph Knight is selling the station along with its FM sister stations, WVJZ and WWKS.
Knight is selling the stations to businessman and Internet maven Gordon Ackley, who is Knight's partner in JAMZ. Ackley will buy out that partnership. The sale price is in the neighborhood of $4.3 million, informed sources said.
Knight bought WVWI-Radio One from Robert Noble after it was destroyed during Hurricane Marilyn. He rebuilt the station literally from the ground up with a new broadcast station in Gregerie East in Sub Base and bought a construction permit for WWKS, which became KISS-FM.
Radio One, which is affiliated with CBS, is all talk radio. It is one of the most popular AM stations in the territory, with local news provided three times a day. Dr. Joy Browne and Dr. Dean Edell are two of the nationally known syndicated talk shows broadcast on WVWI.
KISS is adult-listening radio, which starts its day with the wildly popular "Tom Joyner Morning Show." WVJZ-FM (JAMZ) reaches the young adult audience with R & B, Hip-Hop, Reggae and Calypso.
Transfer applications for the sale have been submitted to the Federal Communications Commission. Knight said the application process usually takes 45 to 60 days.
Knight said Thursday he does not intend to leave the territory.
"I want to concentrate on diverse businesses," he said, "and focus on local philanthropy."
In 2001, Knight put up $1 million toward the building of a sports and fitness complex at Antilles School.
At the opening ceremony of the complex, which became the Mark C. Marin Center, Knight issued a challenge to the community in the form of matching funds to build an animal care center. Knight said he would match donations for the million-dollar project up to $500,000.
His push for the animal shelter has resulted in the Humane Society of St. Thomas going from 271 members in the three years since he issued the challenge to more than 2,000 members as of January.
Ackley comes to the table with a strong communications background. In 1977 he founded Ackley Caribbean Enterprises and is currently the chief executive officer of the privately held company, which brought VIAccess — one of the first commercial Internet services, and the largest — to the territory .
At first a dial-up-connection-only operation, Ackley's ACE later began offering the territory its first wireless digital subscriber line service.
Earlier in his career, Ackley created the Virgin Islands first wide-area radio dispatch and mobile phone SMR trunking system, according to the Ackley Communications Web site. Ackley developed a territorywide paging system and later formed Computer World, a retail operation that provided sales, service, networking and training in the computer industry. He sold that company to its manager a few years later. In 1999 Ackley sold VIAccess and its other companies under the Wireless World umbrella to Atlantic Tele Network.
Along with his partnership in JAMZ-FM, Ackley also co-owns Pirate Radio 96.1 (WIVI-FM) and three other FM stations in the British Virgin Islands.
It is unknown what Ackley's plans are for what are currently known as the Knight Quality Stations. He was out of the territory and could not be reached for comment.
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