Vandals destroy Sarasota radio station causing $15,000 in damage

Owners forced to shut down after equipment destroy
Posted at 11:38 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 07:45:46-04

The owners of 444 Radio in Sarasota were vandalized on October 19.  The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, but in the meantime the airwaves for the small online talk radio station are silent.

“We lost everything,” Evan Baccalao said.

Baccalao and Jay Martin are the owners of the radio station. On Oct. 19 they got a call that their back door was open and the inside was vandalized.

“When I walked in the place was just absolutely destroyed,” Baccalao said. “At first, I was glad nobody was here. Nobody was hurt.  So, I was relieved."

For nearly two years Baccalao and Martin have been working seven days a week 10 to 15 hours a day providing talk radio to a growing internet audience. The day before their studio was destroyed Baccalao said they were about to launch several new shows.

“We are streaming from noon to seven. And on Wednesdays we are on from noon to midnight,” Baccalao said.  

The company employs 15 workers who are now out of the job. The worst part for Baccalao is that whoever did it only stole money, and destroyed all of their equipment.

“I would've been OK. Maybe a little better if they just stole everything,” Baccalao said. “We are taken aback.  The powers off and now the bills are starting to get crazy and we are just trying to keep our heads above water take it one day at a time and try and get back as quick as possible.”

Baccalao said they have 200,000 unique listeners per month. They are worried if they don't get back up and running soon they will have to close their doors for good.

“I’m angry,” Martin said. “Honestly, I've been depressed because this is basically what I've wanted to do. And now, I need to get a part time job doing something else.”

The company needs to raise $15,000 to replace their microphones, computers, and other equipment that was broken.

“We've been working trying to get the equipment over years and years and years it's tough now,” Baccalao said.  

If you’d like to help the company get back their talk radio show back on the air click here.