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By Roy Trakin

Emmis Communications has sold popular Los Angeles hip-hop radio station KPWR (Power 106) to the Meruelo Group for $82.75 million, pending FCC and other regulatory approvals of the assignment of the station’s broadcast license.

Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan made the announcement: “Power 106 has been part of the Emmis family for more than 32 years, so this day is bittersweet, but I am confident that the station and our team are in good hands. The Meruelo Group will be great owners of this historic brand, and take it to even greater heights.”

A Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) will begin promptly following the expiration or early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

In March 2017,  Power 106 (“Where Hip-Hop Lives”) was No. 15 in Nielsen ratings at 2.6 for Los Angeles, behind No. 13 iHearMedia’s KRRL (Real 92.3) with 2.7. While the former categorizes itself as a Rhythmic Top 40 and the latter as Urban, they’re largely battling for the same  demographic.

The Meruelo Group, whose Meruelo Media affiliate acquired Los Angeles TV station KWHY-22 in 2011 and radio station KDAY-FM in 2014, is the largest minority-owned media group in California.  Following its participation in the FCC TV spectrum auction earlier this year, Meruelo Media is now re-investing a portion of the auction proceeds into expanding its media portfolio with the acquisition.

Added Meruelo Group Chairman/CEO Alex Meruelo, “The acquisition of Power 106 is a game-changer for our group and our media division. As a fan and someone who has had a business relationship with this station for more than 30 years, I understand the importance of Power 106 to this community.  We are committed to bringing the resources, talent and passion necessary to make this legendary brand the #1 radio station in Los Angeles.”

Meruelo Group is a privately held, diversified management company founded in 1986 by U.S. Latino business executive Alex Meruelo. The company owns a diversified portfolio of 35+ individual properties across seven primary industries with over 8,000 employees, including banking and financial services, construction, hospitality and gaming, media, restaurant food services, real estate management and development and private equity investing.

Emmis purchased KPWR-FM from Century Broadcasting in May 1984.  The transaction is expected to close in the back half of 2017.


Settles with licensee of New York radio station

By John Eggerton

The FCC has ruled that a radio broadcast over a decade ago qualified as indecent and has reached a consent decree with WSKQ-FM New York in which it will pay $10,000. That was the word from Ajit Pai’s acting Media Bureau chief Michelle Carey.

The FCC, under chairman Tom Wheeler, ruled in March 2016 that the station did not violate an FCC rule against broadcast hoaxes but did not rule on the merits of an indecency complaint, saying even if it were indecent, the violation would not rise to the level of denying renewal of the station’s license—the complaints were part of a challenge to that license.

That March decision was appealed.

In the consent decree this week, the FCC’s Media Bureau upheld the finding that the hoax rule had not been violated.

As to the indecency complaint, the station had said that the broadcasts were not indecent. But the Media Bureau thought otherwise. “Based on our review of the record, we find that the broadcasts are of a nature that could support a forfeiture proceeding against Licensee for violations… but do not implicate Licensee’s basic qualifications, demonstrate a failure to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity over the Station’s license term of 1998-2006, or constitute serious violations.”

At issue was a Spanish-language broadcast March 8, 2005. The complainants said it used indecent language to describe “how a man desired to have perverse sexual relations.”

No tape or transcript was supplied and the licensee argued about what words had been used and, while conceding the song was racy, said it did not believe it was “in any way indecent.”

The FCC disagreed.

The FCC under Wheeler also struck an agreement with a Spanish-language station over an indecency complaint.

“The PTC applauds the FCC’s action to hold a broadcaster publicly to account for violating the longstanding broadcast indecency law,” said the Parents Television Council, which saw it as a sign of things to come.

“This announcement today should serve as a serious shot across the bow for all broadcast stations, whether they be radio or television, reminding them that the airwaves are public property. Broadcasters borrow the airwaves from the public for free; and in exchange for a broadcast license, they promise to serve the public interest. Congress, the FCC and the courts have all agreed that a broadcaster’s public interest obligation requires licensees not to air legally indecent material at times when children are likely to be in the audience,” said PTC president Tim Winter in a statement.


Music News Desk

iHeartMedia, which reaches 91 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population on a monthly basis announced last week ON THE MOVE with Enrique Santos, its hallmark English language Hispanic targeted content initiative that complements its already successful Spanish-language Hispanic offerings. Today, 53 percent of the Hispanic population in the U.S. are primarily Spanish-language first households and 43 percent are primary English-language households, and iHeartMedia will now deliver to both at scale across broadcast and digital platforms.

On the Move with Enrique Santos is the first English-language radio program to feature Hispanic broadcast powerhouse Enrique Santos, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of iHeartLatino, iHeartMedia’s new Hispanic platform. The new two-hour music-intensive Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) weekend program features what’s hot and moving in music, entertainment, lifestyle and current events targeted to the Hispanic community.

On The Move With Enrique Santos will originate from Miami and debut the weekend of April 15 on more than 100 iHeartMedia stations nationwide, including: WKTU-FM/New York, KIIS-FM/Los Angeles, WKSC-FM/Chicago, KYLD-FM/San Francisco, KHKS-FM /Dallas-Ft. Worth, WIHT-FM/Washington, D.C., WWPW-FM/Atlanta, WIOQ-FM/Philadelphia, WXKS-FM/Boston and WHYI-FM/Miami. The program will be available on iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service and will also be nationally- syndicated by Premiere Networks.

In September 2016, iHeartMedia joined forces with Santos to develop iHeartLatino, an unprecedented Hispanic multi-platform initiative building on Santos’ unparalleled profile within the Latino community and leveraging iHeartMedia’s reach of more than a quarter of a billion listeners monthly. Recognizing the increased importance and size of the U.S. Hispanic populations, both Spanish- and English-speaking, the new iHeartLatino division aggregates iHeartMedia’s vast portfolio of Hispanic targeted programming and content across multiple platforms – broadcast, digital, social and live events.

As one of the most popular Hispanic radio hosts in America, Santos has built an enthusiastic following and connection with his audience. In addition to the new weekend show, Santos will continue to anchor iHeartMedia’s Spanish-language station TÚ 94.9 with his top-rated program for Spanish-speaking audiences and nationally syndicated weekday morning show Tu Mañana con Enrique Santos, which broadcasts weekday mornings from 6 -10 a.m. local time.

“The Hispanic culture plays a critically important role in America today, and we take great pride in serving that community as well as helping our advertisers reach such an important audience,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia. “The addition of this new English-language program adds a new dimension and immediate scale which no other outlet can match and is unique to iHeartMedia.”

Born to Cuban parents in Chicago, Illinois, Santos gravitates fluidly between the Hispanic and mainstream American radio landscapes. Throughout his career Santos has continuously set ratings and sales records in the nation’s most diversified Hispanic radio markets, and has interviewed some of the biggest names in pop culture.

His clout also extends to the political arena where Santos has conducted historic interviews with prominent figures such as Sen. John McCain, Sen. Marco Rubio, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

The winner of the 2014 Premio Juventud in the My Favorite DJ category became part of the exclusive roster of Marc Anthony’s new agency MAGNUS Media last year. In 2015, Santos was also named National/Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year by Radio Ink and was awarded the prestigious Medallas de Cortez Medal. He is frequently invited to present and host some of the top award ceremonies of the music industry including ASCAP Latin Music Awards, Billboard Latin Music Awards, iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina and on the red carpet at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.


Discussions at a Radio Conference

When the industry’s biggest players gather together at the Hispanic Radio Conference, no topic is too big or too small, and no subject too controversial. They could discuss the impact changes at the FCC will have on you. Where digital programming is going, and where they see new revenue opportunities. How they are finding, developing, and retaining sales and on-air talent. They could speak about politics and the industry’s role in a new, uncharted landscape.

The Hispanic Radio Executive Leadership Roundtable is unscripted. But, because these are the industry’s leaders, their reactions and observations will help guide your plans and response to budgets, sales and programming for the coming year.

From Wall Street investors to your local direct sales, ratings, and technology, Hispanic radio leadership’s perspective on today’s industry will help you navigate what’s coming tomorrow.


Jose Valle served as president of Univision Radio from 2010 to 2015, leading the transformation and modernization  of what was a traditional radio group into a best-in-class “listener first” based organization. Over the last year, he served as president of Political & Advocacy Group Sales for UCI, overseeing political advertising strategy and sales to advocacy groups, trade associations, and campaigns for all UCI’s platforms. Earlier in his career he was VP/GM of Univision Radio Los Angeles. Before joining UCI, he was president and GM of Telemundo’s flagship station, KVEA.


Albert Rodriguez is COO of Spanish Broadcasting System, a job he had held since 2012. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and oversees the revenue and profit performance of the company’s consolidated operations, including radio, television, interactive and entertainment divisions. Previously, Rodriguez was the chief revenue officer of SBS’s television segment and GM of the Miami television market from October 12, 2010 to January 6, 2011, GM of the Miami television market from January 21, 2010 through October 11, 2010, and GSM for the Miami radio market from November 1999 through January 2010. Before joining the company’s television segment, Rodriguez was the GSM of SBS’s radio properties in Miami.

Norberto Sanchez is chairman and CEO of the Norsan Group, which runs Norsan Multimedia, a Spanish-language communications company that includes 12 radio stations in the Southeast, four of them covering the Charlotte market; the company also owns Spanish-language newspapers. Sanchez started his company in Atlanta and has gradually been moving more and more operations to Charlotte. Apart from the communications industry, the Norsan Group has a large role in the food industry, including a restaurant and catering division and Prime Meats, a USDA meat-processing facility serving the hospitality industry.

Ismar Santa Cruz is vice president/managing director of radio strategy for Univision Communications, overseeing content strategy, music genre curation, and continual success for Univision’s radio portfolio and leading programming initiatives for its 64 owned-and-operated stations in 15 top U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico. He also plays an integral role in Univision Music’s multi-platform strategy. Santa Cruz joined UCI to co-found the internal strategic consulting and consumer research division of Univision Radio. Santa Cruz has been instrumental in achieving double-digit audience growth year-over-year on broadcast and digital platforms, developing Univision’s Sonic Logo across all brands, and identifying Univision’s 2014 FIFA World Cup anthem, “Adrenalina.”

Enrique Santos is chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino, heading iHeartMedia’s Latin direction and strategy. His daily morning show is syndicated nationally via Premiere Networks and airs live from iHeart’s TÚ 94.9 in Miami. Born to Cuban parents in Chicago, Santos moves freely between the Hispanic and mainstream American radio landscapes. His bilingual broadcasts are a crossover hit, combining humor, social satire, and political commentary to bridge the cultural and generational divide of a diverse cosmopolitan audience. No matter how busy his schedule, Santos has never lost his community ties and continues volunteering as a reserve police officer for the City of Miami Police Department.

Your Editor Adds: And enjoy José Valle´s dry and effective sense of humor.