Gainesille's Only Music Video Station

(Or: One station's rise to power, and its bitter end)


The Founding

Back in the earlyish 80's, some guys decided to establish a local music video station. They managed to find someone willing to invest some serious capitol in exchange for half-ownership of the station. That man was Bill Cosby, famous comedian. I am not making this up.

TV69 went on the air with a somewhat low-power transmitter (you could never get it without a thin sheeting of snow within Gainesville), but a surprisingly large collection of music videos.

Success and Fame

As one can imagine, the station was very popular with the college students, as you could call up to request a video and know it would get played. When someone discovered that TV69 was willing to play the original video for Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax", it got a ridiculous amount of air-time.

TV-69 even managed to show some local talent, with such video hits as "Clone Love" and even a locally made Dinosaur, Jr. video (Yes, Dinosaur, Jr. started off as a Gainesville band). When the punk band Black Flag came to Gainesville to play a concert at UF, TV69 got the band to come by the studio and do some guest VJing and promo spots.

Eventually, thanks to bands and artists that would come to play Hogtown or other cities nearby (Jacksonville, Tampa, etc.), they had numerous celebrity spots. Ronny James Dio, Sting, Black Flag, Bananaranamana, and even Bill Cosby himself.

Sudden Death

It all ended very suddenly and without warning though. The owners of the station decided to pull a hit-and-run operation, and in less than 24 hours the employees were sacked, most of the equipment had been ripped out and sold, and TV69 was off the air. The station manager literally walked in to find the rug pulled out underneath him.

Not long after that, the license for W69Y was re-established as a repeater station that broadcasts shitty Christian garbage day and night. Apparently someone found they could make a lot of money by having virtually no operating costs...


Last Modified: October 5th, 1996
Jeff The Riffer aka Jeff Mercer / riffer@afn.org