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WMFV Gets First Full-time Reporter to Cover The Villages and Surrounding Area



[caption id="attachment_144081" align="alignright" width="173"]

Joe Byrnes, new WMFV reporter[/caption]

ORLANDO – 90.7 WMFE's sister station now has a dedicated news reporter. Joe Byrnes started on Feb. 3 as 89.5 WMFV's first full-time, general assignment reporter.

A versatile and veteran news reporter, Byrnes will examine and report on the political, societal and economic issues facing the fastest-growing metro area in the U.S., The Villages, and its surrounding counties served by WMFV – Sumter, Lake and Marion. He'll produce daily newscast items and weekly segments to air on WMFV and WMFE and web stories for the stations' websites.

"I'm thrilled to join the outstanding team at WMFV," Byrnes said. "Their commitment to quality journalism is my commitment as well."

Byrnes comes to public radio from the newspaper world. He joins WMFV from The Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star-Banner, spending the last decade as online news editor/digital editor. He spent the last 25 years immersed in Ocala and Marion County's community and government serving in various roles at the Star-Banner, including reporter, columnist, copy desk chief and local editor.

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New Census Bureau Estimates Show Counties in South and West Lead Nation in Population Growth, April 2019, Census.gov[/caption]

The Villages was the fastest-growing metro area in the United States from 2010 to 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population of the sprawling Central Florida retirement community has ballooned by nearly 38 percent since 2010. Elected and appointed officials often lack the scrutiny of a free and independent press, and the developers creating whole new towns out of vacant land are often perceived as cutting corners and bulldozing their way through residents’ interests. Byrnes will investigate these issues and include the voices of residents, business owners and others affected by the rapid growth.

"As for the people of The Villages and the surrounding areas, I want to listen," Byrnes said. "And I want to be a voice that brings them interesting news, answers important questions and airs their concerns."

Byrnes graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.

Connect with Joe on Twitter: @joebyrnes_news

WMFV's evolution:

  • 2017: 90.7 WMFE announced it would expand its public service in Central Florida with the acquisition of a new signal, WKSG-FM 89.5, north of Orlando.
  • 2018: The station went on the air in March 2018 as 89.5 WMFV, with a mix of news/classical. WMFV.org goes online.
  • 2019: WMFV changed format to news, mirroring WMFE’s schedule, except for an hour-long Growing Bolder program on weekdays.
  • 2020: WMFV's first full-time reporter, Joe Byrnes, comes on board to produce original reporting for the area.

This expansion of our coverage is funded by Ginsburg Family Foundation, in the spirit of longtime NPR listener Harriet Ginsburg.

About Community Communications Inc.:
Community Communications Inc. is a non-profit, member-supported, community-based public broadcasting company that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Leesburg and The Golden Triangle. Part of the community since 1980, Community Communications focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. Visit  wmfe.org and  wmfv.org for more information.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact Communications & Marketing Specialist Jenny Babcock at jbabcock@wmfe.org or 407-273-2300 ext. 112.