This article originally appeared in the Radio + Television Business Report on July 26, 2021.
By Adam R Jacobson
In September 2018, a forlorn AM radio station that had been serving Brazilians with Portuguese-language fare became the latest station to capitalize on the massive growth of the Spanish-speaking population in Central Florida. Only, it didn’t adopt another music format.
Instead, iHeartMedia gave birth to a spoken word format, today an anomaly in the Latin media world.
It now appears the decision was a savvy one.
Fifteen year old WRSO-AM 810, which uses an FM translator (or mini FM, with a limited signal) at 97.9 FM to reach Orlando, is getting its programming simulcast in both Tampa and Jacksonville, as of today.
This brings “Acción” to two other markets that have seen further growth of their Hispanic populations, with Jacksonville experiencing a particular surge from Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Colombians and others of Hispanic heritage flocking to the market for its cost of living and opportunities.
And, given the June 2021 Nielsen Audio ratings for Orlando, the timing couldn’t be better: “Acción” saw its strongest ratings in recent memory, fueled by a variety of topics heavy on news and insight.
In Tampa, “Acción” replaces WHNZ-AM 1250 and 105.9 MHz, which aired a mix of talk programming in English. In Jacksonville, “Acción” succeeds WFXJ-AM 930 and an FM translator at 97.3 MHz that had been home to “El Patrón,” a regional Mexican format, since May 2020.
Rapidly changing demographics suggest the population of Hispanics of Mexican descent is shrinking, compared to those from the Caribbean.
iHeartMedia Tampa and Jacksonville announced today that iHeartMedia Orlando’s Acción 97.9 – La Primera En Noticias will simulcast in both markets, effective immediately. The station can now also be heard on Tampa’s 1250 AM, 105.9 FM and 100.7 HD2 and Jacksonville’s 930 AM, 97.3 FM and 97.9 HD2.
Acción features such programming as “Acción en la Mañana with Luis Davila Colon and Jesus Manuel Torres” as well as a team of newscasters including Sandra Carrasquillo and Rafael Carderera. In addition, Acción features on-air personalities such as Peter Vivaldi, Hector Marcano, Wanda Hernandez, Dania Alexandrino, Xavier Villacísm, Diana Raquel and Mariano Gonzalez Solis.
“Acción represents a solution for the Hispanic audience eager for a Spanish speaking newscast and companies that are looking for this fast-growing audience interested in developing a life in the USA,” said Hector Marcano, SVP of Hispanic Strategy for iHeartMedia.
Local oversight of Acción is under the direction of veteran radio industry figure and iHeartMedia Division President Linda Byrd. Serving as Acción News Director is Jesús Manuel Torres.
In Tampa, Chris Soechtig, Area President for iHeartMedia West Central Florida, will sell Acción alongside Sarasota-based “Rumba 106.5,” which uses an FM translator to cover the Tampa Bay region.
In Jacksonville, Paul Rogers, Area President for iHeartMedia North Florida, Acción will be sold as a multicultural offering in tandem with “Black Information Network.”