In a move aimed at recapturing past ratings glory, Univision Radio has unveiled a new morning show called “El Bueno, La Mala y El Feo” (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), which emphasizes popular Regional Mexican music and banter by a trio of hosts.
The four-hour Spanish-language program, which debuted Monday on Univision's Los Angeles station KSCA 101.9 FM, fills the time period previously held by Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo.
Sotelo once was the most popular personality in Spanish-language radio. But in July, Univision yanked Sotelo's program from its schedule amid allegations of sexual harassment, which Sotelo has denied. Sotelo now hosts a morning program on competing SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Since last summer, Univision has filled the morning hours at its Top 10 station in Los Angeles with Regional Mexican music. Radio stations around the country that depended on Piolin's program were left scrambling to plug the gap left by Univision's sudden termination of Sotelo's radio program.
"Univision has a tremendous challenge to try to reverse the steep ratings declines after the cancelation of Piolin's show perhaps not as much in Los Angeles but in other markets," said Adam Jacobson, a Spanish-language media consultant.
Jacobson added that while Univision's Los Angeles station has held its own in the ratings, other markets, including Phoenix, have seen audience members flee to rival stations.
Univision's new program is a blend of Regional Mexican music and topical conversation between the three personalities: Raul Molinar “El Bueno;” Sylvia del Valle “La Mala;” and Andres Maldonado “El Feo." Maldonado has worked at Univision's Los Angeles station.
"It's a new concept, we think it is an innovative format that is going to resonate with our audience," said Evan Harrison, Univision Radio's executive vice president of content and entertainment. "It's going to be a balance of talk and music -- but be more music-intensive."
Univision joins a growing group of media companies that have tweaked their formats after discovering that music programs were delivering higher ratings than traditional talk shows.
The three hosts on Univision's new show will attempt to blend humor, sarcasm and interviews -- standard fare for radio. Univision stressed the new hosts are "regular people," who will talk about trending topics culled from social media.
"We are calling it reality radio," Harrison said. "The hosts will talk about topics that our listeners are interested in."
In addition to Univision's Los Angeles station, the new show plays in Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and in the Rio Grande Valley. The show will run in the mid-day hours in Houston, and the other Texas stations. Univision plans to eventually introduce the show in San Diego, San Francisco, Fresno, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Dallas and Chicago.