Napa Valley radio company makes big shift to Spanish-language format
“There are Spanish radio stations in Sonoma County reaching Napa, but there’s no community connection,” Narvaez said. “KVON will not only broadcast music and news, but the radio hosts are from the county. The content is related to your neighborhood, your community.
(Will Marcencia is a board member of the chamber.)
Narvaez, who sits on the Napa City Council, thinks an all-Spanish station will help with language equity in an area with a large Hispanic population.
This means that people who only speak Spanish will not be left out because they do not understand English. He also praises the consistency of programming instead of having to remember the times or days of the week the Spanish segments aired.
In Sonoma County, Melissa Galliani is the general manager of Santa Rosa-based Wine Country Radio. It hosts more Spanish programming in the region. It has two Spanish stations in its five-station portfolio – KXTS 98.7-FM and KSXY 95.5-FM.
Ravi Potharlanka’s BC Radio purchased the stations in early 2021 for an undisclosed sum 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 so hard,” Galliani said of the Marcencias. what’s good for one station is good for all.It’s good that people invest in their radio stations and offer what the public wants.
Its stations bleed a bit in northern Marin County and southern Napa County, but for the most part FCC licensing and signal strength dictate the range on 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.
Galliani told the Business Journal that she monitors ratings through Eastlan, a company that for 21 years has tracked small- and mid-market radio stations.
Arbitron, once the powerhouse of radio ratings, has been bought by AC Nielsen, which has been 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’re such a small market that we’re not rated. I almost see it as a blessing. We don’t do everything with odds 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 report in 2019 on the Hispanic Radio Consumer which indicated that this demographic listens to radio 13 hours per week, with 96% of these consumers tuning in weekly.
The report also stated, “At 69%, Latinx adults 18 and older have the highest share of online time spent consuming audio and video; that’s 15 percentage points more than for the United States as a whole. Additionally, they were 42% more likely to have watched content from the subscription service on their smartphone, again illustrating the importance of the smartphone in the entertainment lives of Latinx consumers.
Nielsen researchers also found that “language is a strong cultural bond,” with 71% of Hispanics speaking either primarily Spanish at home or a combination of Spanish and English.
The first all-Spanish station in the United States was launched in San Antonio, Texas in 1945. Some Spanish radio has been available in this country since the 1920s.
When it comes to attracting advertisers, which is the financial way to keep a radio station on the air, Marcencia and Galliani believe that most businesses and government agencies need to reach English- and Spanish-speaking communities. Local utilities need to reach customers, drought and water saving information need to be disseminated, and 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 both English and Spanish has allowed employers to try to attract workers through radio ads in both languages.
Spanish station KXTS, better known as Exitos, is the main source of revenue for Sonoma County’s Wine Country Radio group. Galliani attributes this to the lineup 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, disc jockeys can easily shut down regular programming in an emergency to provide critical information to listeners.
Wine Down Media in Napa saw double-digit revenue growth from the time of ownership change in 2017 to the start of March 2020. As viewership grew with people wanting information about the health crisis, by the end of March 2020, revenues had fallen by 70 points. , according to Marcencia.
“We end the year 5% below 2019 figures, which is not the best, but I will take it. I don’t even consider 2020 as a benchmark,” he said.
The best financial news for KVON is that advertisers haven’t jumped ship because of the format change.
“No one has canceled their partnership with us because we’re going Spanish,” Marcencia said. “We definitely expect growth in the first quarter of launch.”