Miami Radio Veteran To Lead New ‘iHeartLatino’

By on Sep, 9 2016 with Comments 0

MIAMI — Enrique Santos has enjoyed success at SBS, and then at Univision Radio.

Now, his job is to grab as many listeners as he can from their stations in the markets iHeartRadio competes against the two Spanish-language radio specialists.

Santos on Friday was officially introduced as Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of iHeartMedia’s newly christened iHeartLatino division.

It’s a much broader role than that of Alfredo Alonso, who served as a SVP for the company then-known as Clear Channel charged with building out its Hispanic radio initiative. This included the launch of the La Preciosa Classic Regional Mexican format, and the launch of “Mega” branded Spanish Contemporary stations in Houston and Miami. Alonso exited the company in January 2011 after six years, with his duties given to VP/Programming Jim Lawson.

Santos is a veteran of Miami’s Hispanic radio scene who has hosted mornings with former partner Joe Ferrero at SBS’s WXDJ-FM “El Zol 95.7” and, later as a solo act, on Univision’s WRTO-FM “Mix 98.3.”

In his new role, Santos will take on a bevy of responsibilities, including the creation of English-language programs across broadcast, digital, and social outlets for Latino consumers, and oversight of the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina annual concert event.

Technically, Santos is “joining forces” with iHeart; he will continue to work at his own Magnus Media radio programming operation, while working in alliance with iHeart.

But, Santos’ footprint will be widespread throughout the nation’s largest radio company by station count.

His first order of business came Friday, with the rebranding of Miami’s “Mega” – WMGE 94.9 – to “Tú 94.9.” In English, tú means “you.”

Come October, Santos will anchor a new morning program that will be offered to other stations via syndication through iHeart’s Premiere Networks.

“This new alliance recognizes the increasing importance and size of the U.S. Hispanic population, both Spanish and English speaking, and builds on Santos’ unparalleled profile within the Latino community as a top-rated on-air talent, trusted source, social and media influencer, content creator and community spokesperson and leader,” the company said in a statement.

iHeartMedia claims to reach 91% of the U.S. Hispanic population on a monthly basis — “more Hispanics than any other media company, including Hispanic-targeted media companies.”

Santos will also be charged with developing new Latino-focused programming and content, identifying and developing new talent for the company in the Hispanic arena; and playing a key role at the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.

“Enrique is a one-of a-kind talent, able to communicate equally as well to the Spanish and English speaking audiences,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman/CEO of iHeartMedia Inc. “He also has unparalleled relationships within the Latino music and advertising industries and we look forward to building on those opportunities. With the entire iHeartMedia platform and its enormous reach at his disposal, he will be able to amplify his already successful profile and talents as well as create new content and opportunities for iHeartMedia and our consumers.”

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining forces with iHeartMedia at this point in my career,” said Santos.  “From our very first meeting, Bob and his team impressed me with their leadership and intense commitment to serve our community as a major priority.  The iHeartMedia team’s forward looking approach coupled with the company’s massive reach provides the perfect foundation for us to create the next generation of transmedia entertainment for Latinos across the nation.”

Santos was represented in this negotiation by Michel Vega, CEO of Magnus Media, and Alexander Brown, Partner, The Concept Law Group.

About The Author: Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.

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