Hispanic radio targets young listeners

Sat Sep 6, 2008 1:34am EDT
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By Leila Cobo

MIAMI (Billboard) - Hispanic radio is showing new interest in reaching a bilingual and bicultural population.

After the 2004 surge -- and subsequent decline -- of Latin "hurban" formats that played predominantly reggaeton and hip-hop and targeted a bilingual, Hispanic youth audience, some stations are testing those waters again, with variants.

In August, Liberman Media switched KZZA-FM Dallas from a Latin urban format with little spoken Spanish to a mix that targets second- and third-generation Hispanics. KZAA now plays an even mix of English- and Spanish-language music and features bilingual DJs. The twist? All artists played on the station, even those singing in English, are Hispanic, reflecting a concerted effort to attract a Hispanic audience.

"We tried many common denominators, and we found that you can't put all Latins in the same basket," Liberman programming vice president Eddie Leon said, explaining why the station shied away from labels like "Latino" or "Hispanic" or even "hurban" or "urban."

But the one thing that everyone had in common, he said, was Spanglish.

"We're trying to target a second-generation Hispanic, and we're trying to make sure that what we play is representative of that audience," Leon said. "These are people that speak English and Spanish."

KZAA's core acts include Frankie J and Toby Love, both bilingual; Wisin & Yandel and Daddy Yankee, who sing in Spanish; and Colby O'Donis and Prima J, who sing in English.

LOCAL AND LATIN   Continued...

<p>Puerto Rican singer Daddy Yankee arrives at the 2008 Billboard Latin Music Awards in Hollywood, Florida, April 10, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>