Hispanic Radio Podcast: ‘AM Revitalization’ en Español


Has FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s championing of “AM revitalization” through the introduction of FM translators as a rebroadcast outlet truly revitalized the radio industry?

Absolutamente … says Hispanic radio veteran George Mier. Thanks to strategically placed translators serving Tampa and Orlando, his family’s Q Broadcasting Corp. is soaring in Central Florida.

Hispanics who crave unique Spanish-language programming are fueling Q’s growth. In Hillsborough County, Fla., home to Tampa, Hispanics of Mexican heritage have grown in number. Q responded by grabbing an FM translator for WAMA-AM 1550a Tampa-licensed Class D AM with 10kw during daylight hours but just 133 watts at night it acquired from ZGS Communications in May 2016.

As a result, WAMA now has an FM signal that covers greater Tampa-St. Petersburg much like a Class A — with a transmitter from the tallest tower in downtown Tampa. The nationally syndicated Piolín por la Mañana airs in morning drive. From 10am, it’s all local.

Class D sibling WTIS-AM 1110 has a better signal, but challengers with even bigger FM facilities. Q took the station to Spanish Adult Hits as “La Mega,” and added a translator atop that same Tampa tower.

Meanwhile, an hour east via Interstate 4, a surge in the area’s Hispanic population was further accelerated by the migration of Puerto Ricans who left their homes following Hurricane Maria, following others who shifted to Kissimmee and St. Cloud in years past.

As a result, the Orlando radio market has been flooded with signals big and small targeting Hispanics and, in particular, Puerto Ricans. Q’s Class B WONQ-AM 1030 has been there for it all, as one of the market’s original Latino voices.

Today, WONQ is focused on talk radio … en español. Its sibling, Class D WURF-AM 1140, is in “test mode” as a reggaetón-intensive Latin Urban station using the “Urbana” brand.

In both cases, FM translators are chiefly responsible for these stations’ good health.

We learn all about Q’s new heights — first in Orlando and then in Tampa — in this exclusive Hispanic Radio Podcast hosted by RBR+TVBR‘s Adam Jacobson.



Want to fully learn about the potential Hispanic radio has for your cluster of AMs and/or FMs? Consider attending the 2019 Hispanic Radio Conference in Miami!

For full details, visit HispanicRadioConference.com, which also houses all episodes of the Hispanic Radio Podcast.