Ricardo Sanchez

Ricardo ‘El Mandril’ Sanchez’s Spanish-language morning show on KLAX-FM (97.9) beats out KFI-AM’s talk block, according to Arbitron. (El Mandril / July 9, 2013)

There is a new top dog in local morning radio, and he's speaking Spanish.

Ricardo "El Mandril" Sanchez of regional Mexican music station KLAX-FM (97.9), who'd been in seventh place as recently as April and was fourth in May, leapfrogged to the No. 1 spot in the June numbers released Tuesday by Arbitron, attracting 5.3% of the available audience weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m.

That's the period generally considered prime time for radio, because there are so many people listening then as they get ready for work or school.

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KFI-AM (640), which has dominated that time period for the last four years with local host Bill Handel and the first hour of Rush Limbaugh's nationally syndicated show, was second for the survey period that ran from May 23 to June 19, capturing a 5% audience share.

Sanchez, who has been in the morning slot at KLAX for the last two years, credited his rise to the fact that "the Hispanic market is growing more than ever and Hispanics are very passionate and listen more to radio."

In the overall standings for the Los Angeles-Orange County market, KIIS-FM (102.7) and KBIG-FM (104.3) tied at No. 1 for the second month in a row, averaging the same 5.6% share of audience that they had notched in May.

Rounding out the Top 10 were, in order, KAMP-FM (97.1), KOST-FM (103.5), KPWR-FM (105.9), KRTH-FM (101.1), KFI, KSCA-FM (101.9), KROQ-FM (106.7) and KLVE-FM (107.5).

lee.margulies@latimes.com