Musical company

Napa Valley radio company makes big shift to Spanish-language format

“There are a few Spanish radio stations in Sonoma County that reach Napa, but there is no community connection,” Narvaez said. “KVON won’t just broadcast music and news, but the radio hosts are from the county. The content is related to your neighborhood, your community.

(Will Marcencia is on the board of directors of the chamber.)

Narvaez, who is on Napa City Council, believes that an all-Spanish resort will help with linguistic equity in an area that has a large Hispanic population.

This means that people who speak only Spanish will not be left behind because they do not understand English. It also welcomes the consistency of programming instead of having to remember what times or days of the week the Spanish segments aired.

In Sonoma County, Melissa Galliani is the Managing Director of Santa Rosa-based Wine Country Radio. It hosts more Spanish programming in the region. It has two Spanish stations in its portfolio of five stations – KXTS 98.7-FM and KSXY 95.5-FM.

Ravi Potharlanka’s BC Radio purchased the stations in early 2021 for an undisclosed amount from Sinclair Telecable.

“I like their competitive spirit and their creativity to try something new. If you’re the only kid in town you don’t have to work that hard, ”Galliani said of the Marcencias. “I’m saying what’s good for a station is good for everyone. It’s good that people invest in their radio stations and deliver what the audience wants. “

Its stations bleed a bit in northern Marin County and southern Napa County, but for the most part, FCC licenses and signal strength dictate the range of the dial.

Other Spanish language stations in Sonoma County include: KJOR 104.1-FM, KSRT 107.1-FM, KRRS 1460-AM, KZNB 1490-AM, and KBBF 89.1-FM.

Business follow-up

Galliani told the Business Journal that she monitors ratings through Eastlan, a company that for 21 years has monitored radio stations in small and medium markets.

Arbitron, the former radio listening center, was acquired by AC Nielsen, which was the leader in television ratings. He created Nielsen Audio to monitor the radio side of broadcast listeners. However, it no longer serves North Bay.

Marcencia said, “We are such a small market that we are not rated. I almost see it as a blessing. We don’t do everything with grades in mind. Instead, Napa station owners make sure they’re in tune with what listeners want; with this information verified through surveys, remote broadcasts and other means.

Nielsen Audio reports that 270 million people listen to radio in the United States every week. Nielsen released a 2019 Hispanic Radio Consumer Report that said this demographic listens to radio 13 hours a week, with 96% of those consumers tuning in every week.

The report also states: “At 69%, Latinx adults aged 18 and over have the highest share of online time spent consuming audio and video; that’s 15 percentage points higher than for the United States as a whole. Additionally, they were 42% more likely to have watched subscription service content on their smartphones, further illustrating the importance of the smartphone in the entertainment lives of Latinx consumers.

Nielsen researchers also found that “language is a strong cultural connection,” with 71% of Hispanics speaking primarily Spanish at home or a mixture of Spanish-English.

The first all-Spanish station in the United States was launched in San Antonio, Texas, in 1945. Spanish radio of some sort has been available in this country since the 1920s.

When it comes to attracting advertisers, which is the financial way to keep any radio station on the air, Marcencia and Galliani believe that almost all businesses and government agencies need to reach out to English-speaking communities. and Spanish speakers. Local utilities need to reach customers, drought / water saving information needs to be disseminated, as well as government aid groups like First 5.

Both groups of radio stations also rely heavily on local advertisers.

Galliani said that in this job market, having stations in English and Spanish has allowed employers to try to attract workers through radio ads in both languages.

Spain’s KXTS station, better known as Exitos, is the main source of revenue for Wine Country Radio group in Sonoma County. Galliani attributes this to the programming of Erazno y La Chokolata in the afternoon and Don Cheto in the morning.

Although the Sonoma County Band does not have a news service, DJs can easily shut down regular programming in the event of an emergency to provide vital information to listeners.

Wine Down Media in Napa saw double-digit revenue growth from the change in ownership in 2017 through early March 2020. As audiences grew with people wanting information on the health crisis at the end of March 2020 , revenues had fallen by 70 points. , according to Marcencia.

“We end the year 5% below the 2019 numbers, which isn’t the best, but I’ll take it. I’m not even looking at 2020 as a benchmark, ”he said.

The best financial news for KVON is that advertisers haven’t jumped ship due to the format change.

“No one has canceled their partnership with us because we are switching to Spanish,” Marcencia said. “We definitely expect growth in the first quarter following launch. “