Programming locally in markets with diverse Spanish-speaking populations can present a challenge, but also an opportunity to discover new talent, program directors said today at the Billboard Latin Music Conference.
Julie Garza, on-air personality and PD at WYMY in Raleigh, N.C., said the movement of other Latin American immigrants into her mostly Mexican market meant the playlist had to be adjusted.
The station’s one-hour daily experiment with Latin pop, reggaeton and bachata has recently been upped to two hours.
“It probably doesn’t satisfy them, but at least we’re trying,” says Garza of her new listeners. As for the regional Mexican audience, “they go to the club and dance bachata with their sombrero on.”
West Palm Beach, Fla.’s WRLX PD Raymond Hernandez cited a new movement coming up in the clubs: Cuban reggaeton, or “Cubaton.” Pio Ferro, VP of programming at Spanish Broadcasting System, also mentioned the genre in a Q&A earlier in the day as one that is emerging in Miami.
All the local program directors said they programmed local acts. On the national side, Ferro said SBS’ Latino 96.3 in Los Angeles filled a local niche, not with local music with a bilingual format-because there wasn’t already an English-language station in Los Angeles that could claim a majority Latin audience.
Eddie “Mozkito” Cruz, PD at KQSP near Minneapolis, Minn., says his independently-owned station thrives on a neighborly connection with its audience.
“They invite you to quinceañeras, weddings and barbecues, and we go. We’re interactive, we go to your house and we invite you the station,” said Cruz. “We have no connections with Ford or Verizon Wireless but they [advertisers] are knocking on our door.”