Clear Channel Bows 'Spanglish' Radio

New rhythmic format targets Hispanic youth.

Clear Channel Communications today (Nov. 12) unveiled its new "Spanglish" radio format on Houston heritage rock station KLOL, which becomes Mega 101 FM. The format combines Spanish hip-hop, reggaeton and pop/dance music.

The company heralds the format as "unprecedented," saying it fills a void for U.S. Hispanic youths who prefer upbeat rhythmic music.

KLOL is the first of a number of CC stations to flip to the bilingual youth format, part of a broader multi-market Hispanic programming initiative announced by radio's largest operator on Sept. 16. Responding to the country's fast-growing Hispanic population and the limited radio choices within that market, the company said in September that it would flip 20-25 of its stations to Spanish-language programming during the next 12 to 18 months.

To spearhead the initiative, the company hired Alfredo Alonso, formerly vice chairman and president/CEO of Mega Communications, a 20-station Spanish-language radio group.

Clear Channel says the new stations will sound like American radio, presenting music in Spanish and spoken content in Spanglish -- a combination of English and Spanish. Core artists include Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Akwid, Shakira and Juanes.

The No. 2 U.S. radio company, Infinity, has also become more aggressive in the Spanish radio space, forming an alliance with Spanish Broadcasting Systems.