By Avia Collinder—

Ken Williams, a businessman with ties in Jamaica and the United States, has acquired majority shares in Hot 102 FM radio from the CVM Group.

Williams was CEO of Hot 102 for one year before the deal, which closed on December 31, 2013. He is now the principal shareholder.

The radio station has struggled financially over several years, but Williams says that with his connections to Caribbean communities abroad he plans to monetise Jamaican music in ways never tried before.

“We are very, very optimistic,” he said of business prospects for the station.

Hot 102 began in the 1980s as a regional station in Montego Bay known as Radio Waves, but later went national. At the outset, it was owned by a group of mostly western Jamaica businessmen and held under the name of Western Broadcasting Services.

Williams acquired the radio station last year from investor Michael Lee-Chin, who bought the station and other media assets in 2006 when he secured controlling interest in the CVM Group.

Broadcasting Commission head Cordell Green confirmed that the radio station was acquired by directors of the CVM Group. Green said that transfer of ownership has not affected operations as the sale was made to directors. However, he declined to name the other remaining shareholders.

Williams used a vehicle called North South Holdings Limited for the acquisition of Hot 102 FM, according to the Broadcasting Commission, but the entity is not registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica.

Ken Williams

Ken Williams

Williams declined to state the acquisition cost, but noted that he was already the second-largest shareholder after CVM Group at the time thedeal was struck.

Williams, a graduate of Fordham University, New York, has more than 25 years of experience in the media business, spanning both radio and television in Jamaica and the United States.

“We want to move ahead in being the best in voice and music, bringing Jamaica’s music to the world. We want to emphasise wholesome Jamaican music which has taken the world by storm in ways Jamaicans do not know. I do believe there is power in positive lyrics,” Williams told the Financial Gleaner.

Fairly new programming at Hot 102 FM, he said, includes ‘Jamaica Speaks’, ‘Mike 123′ and talk-show host Dicky Crawford.

“We are still music and talk. We are still perfecting. Ours is a work in progress,” he said.

Hot 102 operates from a single location at the Blaise Industrial Park in Kingston. The station ranked No. 17 with 0.9 per cent of the listening audience, according to the 2012 Electronic Media Survey conducted by Marketing Research Limited, which then determined that there were more than 25 stations – 24 with countable market share and the rest categorised as other.