104.3 The Shark’s Program Director John O’Connell on His Vision for the Future of Radio

Launched in August of 2015, The Shark broadcasts throughout Miami, Broward, and parts of Palm Beach County. 104.3 The Shark’s program director John O’Connell spoke to us about the vision the new station has for the future of radio — sponsored live music in South Florida — and it’s a grand one.

As the region’s only alternative rock option on the FM dial, The Shark will make its first big foray into  mid-scale music events on May 29, throwing an all-day indie-rock party featuring Young the Giant, Joywave, Bear Hands, JR JR, The Strumbellas, and Finish Ticket.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation.

On how next week's Undertow Jam at Revolution Live came together.
John O’Connell: A couple months back we had spoken about putting something together to kick off summer. We thought maybe we could put something together that was a low-dough affordable show, invite some quality bands that are climbing the charts. So we took a look at a few bands out there, five or six, and just made this a real quality show. There hasn’t been a real radio show in a few years. Let’s see if we can drive some of these bands that wouldn’t normally tour together and put them in one show.

On why it's being held at Revolution.
When we were looking for a venue, we wanted to make it small, we wanted to make it intimate, we wanted to make it exclusive. We thought 2,000 or less people would be cool the first time for an event that people would really want to go to. We figured if we made it that way, people would feel like they were part of something special. This is the first real big show we’re doing. We’re planning other big shows down the line.

On their expectations for the inaugural event.
What we’d like to do is keep it every Memorial Day weekend. See if we can keep the same theme: quality bands for low money.

On keeping radio relevant in 2016. 
If you’re talking about stuff like iTunes or Pandora, yes, there’s always going to be some form of competition... Our main goal here is to stay local, be local, and they can’t do that.  Sending out jocks and saying hello and shaking hands with people, none of those other services can do that.

On staying local.
We actually have local bands appearing on another stage. We’re working with Revolution to bring in a couple of other bands to play a little bit earlier on an outdoor stage that’s free for everyone.

104.3 The Shark's Undertow Jam
With Young the Giant, the Strumbellas, Joywave, Bear Hands, and JR JR. 2 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $23 plus fees via
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Angel Melendez is an unabashed geek and a massive music nerd who happens to write words (and occasionally take photos) for Miami New Times. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University and an accomplished failure at two other universities, Angel is a lush and an insufferable know-it-all, and has way better taste in music than you. His wealth of useless knowledge concerning bands, film, and Batman is matched only by his embarrassingly large collection of Hawaiian shirts and onesies.
Contact: Angel Melendez