News Column

Spanish-language Radio Stations Make Ever Stronger Signals

Dec 4 2000 3:26PM

December 2000 - In the top 10 Spanish-language radio markets, growth this year is expected to be a healthy 23 percent overall. The Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. (HBC) and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) have been dominant again, but smaller rivals El Dorado Broadcasting and Lieberman Communications hold strong toeholds in the top 10, with largely regional Mexican music programming in Houston and Los Angeles, respectively.

The Los Angeles market leads, with three HBC stations KLVE-FM, KTNQ-AM, and KSCA-FM. The format at these stations at the time of our sample was contemporary Spanish for KLVE, news/talk/sports in Spanish for KTNQ, and regional Mexican for KSCA. Lieberman Broadcasting also placed well in the Los Angeles market. Two of its stations, KKHJ-AM and KBUE-FM, operated in a regional Mexican format, while KWIZ-AM broadcast adult contemporary.

SBS controlled the New York DMA with two stations, WSKQ-FM and WPAT-FM. The former has a tropical format, and the latter plays romantic favorites.

Miami is perhaps the most diverse programming region for Spanish-language broadcasting. Market dominance is contested strongly between HBC and SBS. HBC has four stations and a mix of formats: WAMR-FM provides adult contemporary, WRTO-FM is salsa/merengue, WQBA-AM offers talk, and WAQI-FM is news/talk. SBS, on the other hand, has three stations in the DMA on this year's list. Interestingly, its entrants are all FM music stations: WRMA-FM is adult contemporary, WXDJ-FM is tropical, and WCMQ-FM broadcasts all-time classics.

Houston has been a very active growth area for Spanish-language radio, and the top-grossing stations there belong to HBC. KLAT-AM is news/talk, KLTN-FM offers regional Mexican, both KOVE-FM and KOVA-FM feature international programming, and KRTX-FM is Latin pop/urban. El Dorado Communications also has three stations on the top-grossing list in Houston: KQQK-FM (tejano) and KXTJ-FM and KEYH-FM (both regional Mexican).

Another station to watch may well be Spanish Broadcasting System's WLEY in Chicago, which broadcasts regional Mexican music. This station just missed the top-grossing list this year but reported a growth rate of 23 percent, matching the performance of the overall market.

Source: Hispanic Business magazine

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