Spanish Broadcasting System
|Traded as||NASDAQ: SBSA|
|Industry||radio/television and Internet|
|Founded||Newark, New Jersey, USA (1983)|
|Headquarters||Miami, Florida, United States|
|Key people||Raúl Alarcón, Jr., Chairman, CEO and President
Pablo Raúl Alarcón, Sr., Chairman Emeritus and Director
Joseph A. Garcia, CFO, Executive Vice President and Secretary
|Revenue||US $177 million (2006)|
|Operating income||US $84 million (2006)|
|Net income||US $40 million (2006)|
Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. (NASDAQ: SBSA) is one of the largest owners and operators of radio stations in the United States. SBS is also invested in television and internet properties, deriving the majority of its income from advertising through its media products.
Spanish Broadcasting System was founded by Pablo Raúl Alarcón, Sr., who started in Spanish-language radio broadcasting in the early 1950s when he started his first radio station in Camagüey, Cuba, and his son, Raúl Alarcón, Jr. Alarcón Sr. had acquired 14 radio stations by the time he fled Cuba with his family to the United States in 1960. In the U.S. he continued his career as an on-air personality at a New York radio station after arriving in the United States before being promoted to programming director. He subsequently owned a recording studio and advertising agency before borrowing $3.5 million USD to purchase the first SBS radio station, WSKQ-AM (La Super 1380) in 1983 with his son, Raúl Alarcón Jr. Alarcón Sr. would serve as SBS Chairman of the board of directors, while his son would serve as an account executive in the sales department.
SBS generated sales of about $20 million in its first year, confirming the influence of the growing Spanish-speaking audience. Raúl Alarcón, Jr. became President of SBS and a director in October 1985. In 1998 SBS purchased its first FM station, regional Mexican KLAX 97.9 FM in Los Angeles. The company went public in the fall of 199l, raising $435.8 million by selling 21.8 million shares at $20 per share. SBS bought its third station, New York's WSKQ-FM, in 1989 and reformatted it as Mega 97.9, La Mega, surpassing the market's longtime leader, the light rock station WLTW-FM, by 1998. A major turning point for Spanish radio occurred that year when media researchers at Arbitron rated La Mega's morning show number one over that of the radio personality Howard Stern.
In 2002 the company created SBS Entertainment, a concert production arm. It also diversified by purchasing 80 percent of JuJu Media, the operator of the Spanish-English Web site LaMusica.com, which offered Latin music, entertainment, news, and culture. Later that year, at the insistence of Alarcón Jr., SBS launched KZAB-FM (La Sabrosa 93.5), targeting the Central American population in Los Angeles. In 2003, WSKQ was the most listened-to Spanish-language radio station in the United States. That year Alarcón Jr. told Billboard magazine, "My opinion is that radio programming continues to be an art. It is not a science. I will not argue with the fact that research gives you a good indication, a good road map."
Raúl Alarcón, Jr. is the current Chief Executive Officer of SBS, a position he has held since June 1994. He also succeeded his father as Chairman of the board of directors on November 2, 1999. Alarcón, Sr. would continue to serve as Chairman Emeritus. Alarcón, Jr. is responsible for the company's long-range strategic planning and operational matters, and according SBS's website, is instrumental in the acquisition and related financing of each SBS station.
On June 3, 2011, the heavily Cuban-American community of Union City, New Jersey honored Alarcon Sr. with a star on the Walk of Fame at Celia Cruz Plaza. Alacron Jr. was present to accept the honors for his father.
SBS radio stations use one of six programming formats:
- Spanish tropical: salsa music, merengue, bachata, reggaetón dance music
- Regional Mexican: ranchera, norteña, banda, cumbia music typically originating from regions of Mexico
- Spanish adult contemporary: soft romantic ballads, Spanish pop music
- Spanish oldies: Latin/English music classics from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s
- American top 40: current pop music hits
- Hurban: (Hispanic Urban) reggaetón dance music
- KLAX-FM 97.9 La Raza HD1 (regional Mexican)/Raza Clásicos 97.9 HD2 (regional Mexican oldies)
- KXOL-FM Latino 96.3 HD1 (urban)/El Zol 96.3 HD2 (Spanish Tropical)
- WSKQ-FM La Mega 97.9 HD1 (Spanish Tropical)
- WPAT-FM 93.1 Amor HD1 (Today's AC)/La Nueva 93.1 HD2 (Spanish Christian music)
- WMEG (CHR - Latin/American top 40)
- WEGM (CHR - Latin/American top 40)
- WRXD (merengue music and bachata (music))
- WIOA (Spanish adult contemporary)
- WIOB (Spanish adult contemporary)
- WIOC (Spanish adult contemporary)
- WZNT (Spanish tropical)
- WZMT (Spanish tropical)
- WZET (Spanish tropical)
- WODA (urban)
- WNOD (urban)
- WLEY-FM (regional Mexican)
- WXDJ (Spanish tropical)
- WCMQ-FM (Salsa / Tropical)
- WRMA (Top 40 Spanish / English)
- WRAZ (Música Tropical Colombiana)
- KRZZ (Regional Mexican)
MEGA TV was launched on March 1, 2006 and operates as a Spanish-language entertainment station in South Florida, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas. The station's programming targets a young, U.S. Hispanic audience through televised radio-branded shows and general entertainment programs (music, celebrity, debate, interviews, personality based shows). Seventy percent of MEGA TV's programming is in-house created. MEGA TV is also available nationwide on DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse.
Arbitron sued SBS in order to force it to reinstall encoders used for the Portable People Meter system of audience measurement. SBS and other members of the PPM Coalition contended that the PPM system has had a major negative impact on their ratings and therefore revenue, and asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in investigate. Arbitron sued SBS for breach of a 2007 contract, including $2.5 million in payments owed since 2009. In February 2010, a court ordered SBS to reinstate, at least temporarily, the coding of its radio broadcasts for measurement by Arbitron.
- "Pablo Raúl Alarcón, Sr.", Spanish Broadcasting System, accessed June 4, 2011.
- Raúl Alarcón Jr.1956– , Reference for Business, 2nd ed., accessed June 4, 2011.
- "Raúl Alarcón, Jr.", Spanish Broadcasting System, accessed June 4, 2011.
- Sanabria, Santo. "Latinos honored in Union City", The Union City Reporter, June 12, 2011, pages 1 and 12
- Eggerton, John. "Court Orders Spanish Broadcasting System to Restore Arbitron Encoding", Broadcasting & Cable, February 15, 2010
- Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. 2006 Annual Report
New York radio station websites
Miami radio station websites
Los Angeles radio station websites
San Francisco radio station website
Chicago radio station website
Puerto Rico radio station websites