CLAIR BACKS JPJ AUDIO
At the end of last year, Clair Global invested in a controlling share of JPJ Audio. We sat down to talk about it with JPJ Audio Director/Shareholder, Bruce Johnston, who was surprised the news had stayed under wraps for so long. “As nothing was really changing other than a new partner, it was business as usual,” said Bruce. After he sent an official statement about it to all his staff and main contractors, he told AT, “All the feedback he’s got has been largely positive.”
According to Bruce, the decision wasn’t a light one: “It became obvious towards the middle of last year that Eric [Robinson, CEO of JPJ Audio and major shareholder Jands Production Services] was too sick to come back. He hadn’t been in the office for 12 months.” Eric sadly passed away November 11, 2015 from complications with cancer, but before he did, he wanted to make sure JPJ was in good hands.
Bruce: “Eric approached Troy Clair, they’ve been mates for 35 years, and asked if Troy wanted to buy JPS’ part of the company and keep the JPJ legacy going, after all it’s been going for 40 years. Troy thought it was a good idea, and we worked forward on that. The other options weren’t in the best interest for staff or the industry. Troy said JPJ Audio was a great company and why would he want to change that. He pointed out that being able to use each other’s inventories in the off-season would be advantageous, rather than spending more money on gear.”
Other than a global warehouse of inventory to call on, another side effect of Clair’s involvement in JPJ is the ability to tap into Clair’s IP and the opportunities it opens up for staff of both companies to work overseas. “Hopefully we can get them on tours around the world,” said Bruce. “It’s been easy for us to bring people here, but very difficult for us to send them to America.” Both those things will help JPJ Audio compete in the ever changing-world of audio, with the arrival of more international players. “There’s always going to be competition, and it only makes us better,” said Bruce.
The day to day running of JPJ Audio remains the same under CEO Jim Straw, and Bruce is still a Director/Shareholder, alongside Clair Global. Meanwhile, the structure of the company has become more unified with the previously separate entities of theatre and recording trucks now under the JPJ Audio banner. Bruce still has Johnston Audio as a separate install entity. “I’m in the process of moving to just supplying d&b and L’Acoustics in my installs now,” he said. “There’s so much competition, I’m just going to supply the best.”