Miami’s independent online radio station Jolt Radio is turning 7.
On Saturday, Jolt Radio will be hosting its anniversary celebration at Gramps in Wynwood. The 12-hour event will feature music, activities, and live talk shows.
Founded by John Caignet, the Jolt concept was born three years before in 2007 during his time in college with his brother, Pedro.
“I started Jolt to contribute to the city and to make it a whole lot more interesting. I thought there wasn’t that presence in music or at least music appreciation for the city and I wanted there to be the vessel for artists,” Caignet said.
Originally he planned to go to school for psychology, but a chance encounter led him to the school’s radio station. He felt at home as soon as he stepped inside.
Caignet’s family has a long history in radio. His paternal grand-uncle was Cuba’s first radio novelist. Pursuing radio was a natural fit for him because his family ingrained into him and his brother a love for music, he said.
Caignet recalls his mother recording his brother and him as children speaking into a vintage sound system to his grandparents in Colombia. His father would collect old records and passed on his love for classical rock to Caignet, who eventually used the records for his first specialty show at the college station.
He wanted to replicate that love for music and radio on the air waves in Miami.
Since the launch of Jolt, Caignet said he’s been able to see a different side to the city, one that wasn’t so prevalent when he first began.
He credits much of the station’s success to consistency.
Although running a radio station can be difficult regarding cost and logistics, Caignet said the station had remained the same since its inception. He said Jolt has taught him that the creative community in Miami is rich.
“Not to toot my own horn but I feel Jolt has given Miami character. That’s not to say people haven’t done it before and I salute them, but I think at a time when Jolt started 10 years ago it was very needed in the city,” Caignet said. “One of my visions was to make it a full experience for artists who would come to the city and for local artists. We’re the specialists for that, and we’re as liberal as it comes. Everyone has a place where we’re at, and that’s the Jolt Mantra.”
Florencia Franceschetti started at Jolt Radio a little over three years ago and has seen the station grow from its previous home in Wynwood. Now, they broadcast out of Allapattah.
Franceschetti said thanks to Jolt she’s been able to interview some of her musical idols and discover great local bands and talents.
“I think that’s more or less where the essence of the radio lies. Jolt features and gives space to artists that are internationally acclaimed and to new local bands alike, there’s no favoritism,” Franceschetti said. “Aside from the music part of the radio, Jolt Radio has its door permanently open for people wanting to talk or do something about community issues or neighborhood improvement. Essentially Jolt Radio is on board with anyone trying to make Miami a better, safer and nicer place.”
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