Ricardo "El Mandril" Sanchez, once considered the king of Spanish-language radio, is no longer employed by his longtime Los Angeles station KLAX-FM (97.9) La Raza, which is owned by the Spanish Broadcasting System.
Sanchez has been off the airwaves for more than two months from his show "El Vacilon del Mandril" as he renegotiated his return to the station, but those talks fell through, according to someone familiar with the departure.
In recent months Sanchez kept reporting to work as part of his contract, which officially expired this week on Dec. 13, but his morning show was no longer being broadcast. The station features regional Mexican music. Sanchez, according to several SBS sources, was weighing his options as he negotiated a multi-million dollar deal. During the show's heyday it was simulcast in 24 stations across the country.
Calls to Sanchez were not immediately returned. An SBS official said the company is preparing to release a statement this week about the departure, but hadn't made it available at press time.
Published reports surfaced last year that an investigation was launched by Nielsen due to allegations that members of Arbitron's audience were contacted by members of Sanchez's show in an effort drive ratings. However, a representative for Sanchez has publicly said that the investigation did not show any violations. (Nielsen acquired Arbitron in 2013).
An official at Nielsen, who declined to be identified because of the company's policy, indicated that they could not comment on any specific situations, but offered the following statement: "Nielsen Audio is committed to the highest standards of integrity in our data and our panels. We work closely with our clients to uphold and maintain these industry standards."
Sanchez, whose nickname mandril translates to baboon, made a name for himself in Southern California and other markets across the U.S. His L.A.-based show proved successful among adults 18-49 and 25-54.
In a 2012 statement, Eric Osuna, VP of sales for SBS Los Angeles, said that Sanchez' performance made him a "branding power” that helped advertisers reach the fast-growing Hispanic consumer.
Sanchez, who was heard mornings Monday through Friday, had millions of listeners through the years. Many of them called the radio personality during their time of need and in return the radio personality would sympathize with them, often reaching out to help them financially as he offered a brand of humor that helped his rise in radio. Even L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti once said he was a major fan of the radio host who hails from Mexico.
In 2010, the L.A.-based Mandril Foundation was created to help people. A representative from the nonprofit said that Sanchez occasionally spends time at the offices in Huntington Park, but has the most impact being on the radio. "The goal of the Mandril Foundation is to help people struggling financially," said Dulce Serrano, who spoke on behalf of the nonprofit. "The foundation has helped single mothers and senior citizens."
Tax documents filed in 2012 show that Sanchez's nonprofit received $161,870 in contributions, gifts and grants. Salaries, other compensation and employee benefits totaled $54,785. Additionally, $17,309 was used for occupancy recent, utilities and maintenance. Sanchez, who is listed as the president/CEO, pays himself $18,899 for an average of 20 hours of work each week. Juana Gonzalez, listed in tax forms as secretary/CFO, makes $10,959 for the same amount of hours worked, according to those financial documents.
The Mandril Foundation, according to the 2012 tax filing, also paid out $10,000 to the Salvation Army and $12,013 to 19 individuals. Other funds went to machinery, bank fees, toys, telephone, clothing, meals, payroll, storage, food assistance, utilities, transportation, insurance and travel expenses, among other areas.
Sanchez rose as a major player in radio to the point that he became a ratings leader past the well-known Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, whose Univision Radio show was terminated in the summer of 2013 as allegations of sexual harassment surfaced. Sotelo has maintained that the claims on behalf of his colleagues are untrue. His new program "El Show de Piolin" launched on Sirius XM in October.
Sanchez has mostly been quiet about his next move and in his social media he's not made any comments about his future. But one thing is clear: fans continue to speak up on El Mandril's pages, many asking for his support and wondering where he may be.