By Mariana Zamboni, 15, Hamilton HS
Print This Post
Mariana helps you navigate the intoxicating world of Spanish radio.

If you want to listen to Spanish language radio, Los Angeles is the place to be. As a matter of fact 11 out of the 40 highest-rated radio stations in Los Angeles are in Spanish, according to Arbitron, the company that keeps track of radio listening audiences. I’m happy that Latinos are becoming one strong voice, and that non-Spanish speakers are tuning in as well to learn about the Latin culture.

La Nueva 101.9 FM was number one in ratings for the fall quarter, but it’s not my favorite. I enjoy Latin pop music, so the FM stations La Super Estrella 97.5, K-Love 107.5 and Viva 107.1 are the ones I listen to most. La Super Estrella plays the best contemporary pop-rock and merengue music. Singer Shakira (who’s like a Spanish Alanis Morissette) and the band Mana (think The Police in Spanish) are the most requested in the pop rock category. "At 8 p.m. it’s really cool because they play the best remixes, just like a disco," said Nancy Portillo, 16. My friends and I don’t like their morning show with DJs El Diablo, El Pato and Mariana because they barely play music—they just talk. The station is based in Riverside, so the reception isn’t as clear as other stations.

Long before La Super Estrella went on the air, the only station I listened to in Spanish was K-Love. I didn’t really enjoy K-Love because they constantly play old songs from the 50’s and 60’s, but they do have some modern music if you know when to tune in. For a taste of modern music, check out "Las Cinco Calientes de las Cinco" at 5 p.m., when they play the five best songs of the day requested by listeners. Usually the songs are new—"Desnuda" by Ricardo Arjona and "Ritmo Divino" by Enrique Iglesias were recently top hits. If you write down the countdown and call when the number one song is played, you can win tickets to concerts or other prizes.

The K-Love show I never miss is "El Hit Parade de América" on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. DJ Javier Romero from Sábado Gigante plays the best 20 songs from the Billboard Latin charts.

Every Saturday night from 8 p.m. till dawn, K-Love plays merengue and salsa dance music. Merengue is the native sound of Dominican Republic. It makes you want to dance (partner optional), shaking your hips, arms and feet. Salsa comes from Puerto Rico and it’s slower than merengue, usually more romantic and you tend to dance it with a partner, cheek to cheek but still moving your arms and feet. Elvis Crespo or Olga Tañón sing merengue and Marc Anthony sings salsa. You won’t have a problem getting K-Love on your radio and I think they please everyone with their variety. That’s why for the last couple of years they occupied the number one spot in Arbitron, but in the fall they dropped to number three.

Viva 107.1 FM is a mixture of La Super Estrella and K-Love, playing old and new pop music. For example, you’ll hear Ricky Martin’s "La Copa de la Vida" followed by Juan Gabriel’s "Hasta que te conocí." Gabriel is a Mexican singer and songwriter like Elton John. I like this mix because chances are I’ll know many of the songs on Viva, while K-Love may play five old songs in a row.

You’ll find lots of Mexican music

Stations like Que Buena 105.5 FM, La Nueva 101.9 FM, and La X 97.9 FM play traditional Mexican music such as corridos, rancheras and norteñas. Corridos tell a story—the song ""Papa loves Mama"" by Garth Brooks can be described as an English corrido. With rancheras the trumpet and guitar stands out in the rhythm. Norteñas have this squeaky sound and the accordion is the main instrument. Alejandro Fernández and Pedro Fernández are my friend’s favorite in the rancheras category, Los Tucanes de Tijuana and Los Tigres del Norte for las norteñas, El As de la Sierra and Las Voces del Rancho sing the best corridos. Many of my friends recommend Que Buena KBUE 105.5 FM as the best Mexican music radio station.

Maricela Villaseñor, 15, said "KBUE 105.5 FM plays the best corridos all day long. Especially at 9 a.m., they play the 10 best corridos. It is the best!"

If you are into Latin music but still can’t distinguish between a salsa and a norteña, I suggest you ask the employee of a music store to help you find some CDs. Please keep in mind that the Latin and Mexican music mentioned in this article are only a few of the many rhythms the Latin culture has to offer (there are many more such as tango and cumbias). One thing is for sure: Latin music is here to stay!

Los Angeles’s highest-rated Spanish-language stations

KSCA-FM 101.9 (La Nueva)
Regional Mexican Music

KLVE-FM 107.5 (K-Love)
Spanish Adult Contemporary

KBUA-FM 94.3 (Que Buena)
Regional Mexican Music

KLAX-FM 97.9 (La X)
Regional Mexican Music

KSSE-FM 97.5 (Super Estrella)
Spanish Contemporary

KKHJ-AM 930 (La Ranchera)
Regional Mexican Music

KTNQ-AM 1020 (Ten Q La)
Spanish News and Talk 10-20

KBLA-AM 1580
Spanish News and Talk

KWKW-AM 1330
Spanish News and Talk

KLYY-FM 107.1( Viva)
Spanish Adult Contemporary

KWIZ-FM 96.7 (Radio Exitos)
Spanish Adult Contemporary

KRCD 103.9 and 98.3 FM
Spanish Oldies

Marc Anthony

Elvis Crespo

Rock Pop

Los Tigres del Norte

Las Voces del Rancho

Alejandro Fernández