After years of strong growth, Spanish-language radio billings stall.
By Michael Caplinger
HISPANIC BUSINESS® magazine, Dec. 2001 Mirroring the downward trend in the radio industry generally, growth in the nation's top 10 Spanish-language radio markets increased a modest 3 percent this year, after jumping 23 percent in 2000. The lone DMA showing significant growth was San Antonio, up about 13 percent on the strength of several new Spanish-language stations. Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. (HBC) and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) continue to dominate the market. SBS is Hispanic-owned, HBC is not. Led by five HBC stations, Los Angeles is again the top market this year. KLVE-FM is a Spanish contemporary station, KTNQ-AM is a news/talk station, KSCA-FM features a Mexican regional format, and KRCD-FM and KRCV-FM share a Spanish oldies format. SBS continues to have a strong hold in the Los Angeles market as well. Its KLAX-FM and the new KXOL-FM, featuring regional Mexican and adult contemporary formats, respectively, are at number 6 on this year's list, with $20.47 million in billings. Miami also continues to be a hot spot for Spanish-language radio. HBC remains the area's leading broadcaster, but it has begun to see competition from SBS. HBC has four stations in Miami: WAMR-FM (adult contemporary), WRTO-FM (salsa hits), and WQBA-AM and WAQI-AM (news/talk). Meanwhile, SBS has a three-station combination serving the Miami DMA: WRMA-FM features an adult contemporary format, WXDJ-FM offers tropical music, and WCMQ-FM plays Spanish classics. Dallas is a newcomer to the top 10. HBC's seven-station group there has had a very strong year in an otherwise flat market. KHCK-FM is a Tejano station, while five other stations share a regional Mexican format. The seventh, KESS-AM, is a sports/talk radio station. HBC also dominates in San Antonio. Its six stations all have shown strong growth this year. The same could be said for the entire DMA, which has added several stations in 2001. KBBT-FM is a hip-hop/R&B station, KCOR-FM plays Spanish oldies, KCOR-AM is news/talk, KXTN (AM and FM) share a Tejano format, and KROM-FM features a regional Mexican format. With smaller stations in the San Antonio DMA showing similar growth, this could be a market to watch in 2002.
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