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Radio host Ricardo Sanchez -- 'El Mandril' -- jumps to 93.9 KXOS

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Ricardo Sanchez, the No. 1 morning radio personality in Los Angeles until he was abruptly sidelined last fall, has switched stations.

Sanchez -- who goes by the nickname "El Mandril" -- announced this week in a Facebook post that he has joined a new radio station in Los Angeles, KXOS FM 93.9, and would begin broadcasting there on Monday.

The station KXOS is part-owned and managed by the Mexico City broadcasting company Grupo Radio Centro.

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"First I achieved the American dream of having success in the United States, and now I can achieve the Mexican dream of triumphing with the strongest radio company in Mexico," Sanchez wrote in Spanish in his Facebook message.

Until this month, the former janitor whose "El Mandril" radio nickname means the Baboon, had been affiliated with Spanish Broadcasting System's KLAX 97.9 FM, which brands itself as "La Raza."

There, Sanchez found huge success. Last spring, ratings for his show surged and, in June, it became the top-rated morning program in Los Angeles, according to Arbitron, now owned by ratings giant Nielsen.

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Sanchez' program topped competing shows hosted by Ryan Seacrest, Rush Limbaugh and another Spanish-language star, Eduardo "Piolin" Sotelo.

Then, in November, amid contentious contract negotiations and allegations of ratings manipulation, Spanish Broadcasting yanked Sanchez from its airwaves.

The Miami-based company would not comment on the situation.  However, several radio sources, including Sanchez's manager, confirmed that Nielsen was investigating allegations that someone associated with Sanchez's show had contacted members of the audience panel in Los Angeles that Nielsen used to generate its local ratings.

Nielsen would not comment on its investigation.

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Sanchez and his manager attributed the complaints to competitors who were jealous of the rags-to-riches success of "El Mandril."

Last month, Sanchez told The Times that he was instructed to show up for work each day at the Spanish Broadcasting studios in Los Angeles and just sit at a desk. He continued to record his syndicated program that aired outside of the Los Angeles market.

Sanchez's contract with Spanish Broadcasting apparently expired earlier this week.

LA Times staff writer Hector Becerra contributed to this report.

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