LA's Latino 96.3 FM Switches from Urban to Pop, Shakira Helps Launch Mega Brand

Shakira Mega 96.3 Press Conf 2014 650
Photo courtesy: SBS
Shakira, center, joins (from left to right) SBS' Bill Shadorf, vp west coast market manager, and Raul Alarcon, president, CEO and chairman during a press conference (May 16) to announce that urban station Latino 96.3 FM is changing its format to pop as Mega 96.3 FM.

Targeting the millennial generation, executives of Spanish Broadcasting System have rebranded the longtime L.A. urban radio station Latino 96.3 FM to the new pop-based Mega 96.3 FM in hopes of luring the coveted bilingual and bicultural audience.  

At a press conference announcement Friday, May 16, Shakira provided some star power to the new direct, speaking of the station’s format change, the growing Hispanic demographic and her personal life. 

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“As Latinos we keep growing … and we’re a community that needs to continue being united,” said Shakira, sporting a wide-brimmed black hat and a long pony-tail. “Mega is a vehicle for community and I’m happy to be part of this.”

The new station features artists such as Shakira, Romeo Santos and Enrique Iglesias—all whom are major international acts with a powerful reach. Formerly a hub for mostly urban and reggaeton music, the revamped 96.3 FM is now broadcasting Spanish rhythmic pop music that will regularly incorporate pop hits, ballads, bachata and tropical music that makes the new format, executives said, “the country’s first Latino general market radio station that appeals to all Hispanics.”

Alarcon, who crowned Shakira the godmother of the station, said that new station would be tweaked when it comes to the roster of talent and it will include personalities from Los Angeles and elsewhere as a way to target the 45 million Latinos living in Los Angeles. 

“We’ll have music that’s international and from all over the world,” Alarcon said. “This is really a different format and Southern California is more than ready.”

SBS is a major player in the marketplace with radio stations throughout the United States including New York, Miami and Houston. The Mega brand has also worked in New York and Puerto Rico.

When asked if the station was trying to complete with the Los Angeles-based K-LOVE 107.5 FM, Shadorf said the new station is very different than the competitor which skews to an older demographic.

“Just want to make it very clear this is not KLOVE,” Shadorf said. “This is (about) a hole in the market. The way I look at it, we love KLOVE, but we want to win and we’re creating our own place.”

Shakira, who jokingly asked if she could go on the air sometimes as a DJ, kept on topic with support of the station's new direction. Some press members asked if she was going to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to see her boyfriend Gerard Piqué play for the Spanish National Team.

“Yes, I’m going to Brazil,” she confirmed and added that she'll soon be promoting the upcoming single "Dare (La La La)" to her recently released self-titled album. The song is also included on the official World Cup album which went on sale May 12.

Another reporter asked if rumors were true that she was asked to pose for a gentlemen’s magazine. The singer/songwriter said she hadn't heard of the request, but offered a blushing smile and said "no, no, no” to appearing in such a magazine.


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