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The RADIO HOST



Jack DiGiorgio

During his time as president of PSL Soccer Club, Jack DiGiorgio raised enough funds to build the much-needed clubhouse at Swan Park. ANTHONY INSWASTY

BY RACHEL CUCCURULLO

It was April 1968, when a 16-year-old Jack DiGiorgio and his parents made a seven-day trans-Atlantic journey from his birthplace of Mola di Bari, Italy, to Brooklyn, N.Y., not knowing any English.

“Many people don’t know this, but my real name is Gioacchino,” he said with a laugh. “Jack is much easier to say, no?”

DiGiorgio worked hard, finished high school, completed two-years at City University of New York-Manhattan and a couple of semesters at Baruch College. And in 2009, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Barry University.

In the ’70s, DiGiorgio was actively involved with a local cultural club in Brooklyn.

“I was part of this wonderful club, I mean it was not your typical club,” he said. “We put on plays, theater shows, art exhibits. I even helped put out a magazine.”

This community-driven organization soon helped him realize what would become his lifelong passion: radio.

“So, in 1978 a friend of mine ran a radio station — an all-Italian radio,” he said. “One day he asked me about announcing club activities, shows and those types of things on-air.”

Jack said he shrugged it off but agreed to run it by the other club members.

“Can you believe he insisted on me doing the announcements?” he asked. “Says he liked my voice and thought that ‘there was something’ about me.”

After several months of making announcements, DiGiorgio was given a chance to fill in for a host who was on an extended vacation. From then on, 26-year-old DiGiorgio was hooked. However, he had no idea it would blossom into a career. “By 1981, several time slots had opened at WHBI. I took over and eventually produced shows on my own,” he said.

Radio Uno is an all-Italian, 24-hour radio station. The station hosted dinner shows and dances, Italian music festivals and live-streams of Italian soccer games. DiGiorgio worked at all levels of the station and was promoted to vice president around 1989.

It was during this time, when General Development Corp. was in its heyday, that DiGiorgio purchased a small piece of land in Port LaBelle.

“I happened to win a grand prize from an Italian radio show that was telecast here in the U.S.” he said. “I won 7 million lira — which came out to about $9,300.”

DiGiorgio said it was fate when shortly after winning the prize, a GDC representative called and told him his land was paid off. The company gave him several options — build, sell or trade for land in Port St. Lucie. After discussions with his wife about the high-cost of living in New York, DiGiorgio decided to build in Port Saint Lucie.

He reminisces, saying “I visited Port Saint Lucie back in the late ’70’s and it stuck in my mind. I really liked it for some reason. It was very quiet and beautiful.”

DiGiorgio, wife, Rosa, and two sons, Dominic and Tonio, moved to the Sunshine State in 1989. He was still vice president for Radio Uno and built a studio to record programming in his new home. DiGiorgio would send the tapes up to New York, traveling quite frequently to check up on operations and attend large events.

“I loved what I did and I was good at it, so I figured I would try a show at WPSL,” he said.

From June 1989 to December 1993, DiGiorgio hosted a Sunday morning show that featured discussions on world matters, sports and music. He even was asked to help start Radio Azzurra, another 24-hour, all-Italian station in Hackensack, N.J.

“The going back and forth was too much after a while,” he said. “Especially for my wife and kids.” In 1994, he left Radio Azzurra and put down roots in Port Saint Lucie.

While DiGiorgio continued working in radio on the Treasure Coast, he became a coach for Port St. Lucie Soccer Club. Beginning in 1990, he coached his boys and served as club president from 1995 to 2001 while simultaneously becoming the referee assigner, assessor and certified U.S. Soccer Federation instructor through the Florida State Referee Association.

“I became president of this club and it was great because fútbol had always been a huge part of my life,” he said. “For many Italians, soccer is life.”

In 2002, DiGiorgio became the events director at the Port St. Lucie Community Center. He was there for six years and then moved to Port St. Lucie Civic Center when it opened in 2008. His most crowning achievement is Festival Italiano, an authentic Italian festival, which marked its ninth year in February.

As the festival’s events specialist, DiGiorgio schedules Italian singers, dancers, food vendors and artisans for the community to enjoy. He is also proud that admission to the two-day event is free.

“We Italians love a bargain and I have worked hard to provide a fun time for everyone, while making sure there is not an entrance fee,” he said.

His sons, Dominic and Tonio, also lend a hand in the planning. “It’s great having them help out, he said. “I could not do it alone.”

In addition to all of this, DiGiorgio hosted Saturday morning shows at WIRA 1400AM and La Gigante 1330AM and recently started another Italian radio show — The Jack & Dani Show. This time around his programming is on Facebook. “There has been a much better response to radio this way,” he said.

As for the future, “I hope that the city continues to grow and provides more support for small businesses and clubs,” he said. “These things are what make our home the best place to live.”



GIAOCCHINO ‘JACK’ DIGIORGIO

Age: 66
Lives in: Port Saint Lucie
Occupation: Events specialist, City of Port St. Lucie and radio host for The Jack & Dani Show
Family: Wife, Rosa; son, Dominic and wife, Barbara, 3 grandchildren, Gioacchino, Alessia and Valentina; son, Anthony (Tonio) and wife, Beth
Education: City University of New York-Manhattan, degree in business management; Barry University, B.A. in business administration
Hobbies: Soccer, collecting stamps and coins and radio
What inspires me: “The responses I get from people: happiness and joy.”
Something most people don’t know about me: “I love to live without getting rich, but rich from love from the people around me.”