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Y107 Will Switch to Spanish Hits Format Monday

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Determined to tap into the “truly huge” Latino market, KLYY-FM (107.1) will begin broadcasting contemporary Spanish hits on Monday, including rock en espanol and ballads, said the station’s general manager, Sean O’Neill. It has been an English-language alternative rock outlet.

The new format is aimed at listeners 25-34, said Bryan Subotnick, executive vice president of Big City Radio, which owns the station.

“With five stations taking up 85% of all the Spanish-language listeners in Los Angeles, we feel there’s a tremendous opportunity there,” said O’Neill.

But O’Neill also attributed the format switch to low ratings with Y107’s modern rock format, which has aired for the past 3 1/2 years. This summer, the station was tied for 31st place in the market, down one place from the spring, according to Arbitron.

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Earlier this week, the station’s on-air personalities were fired, leaving the show deejay-less until Monday’s launch.

The station’s frequency will remain the same, but it will now call itself Viva 107. The format will be “contemporary hit radio,” relying on music by artists such as Shakira, Mana, Enrique Iglesias and Carlos Ponce. That’s similar to what is played on KSSE-FM (97.5), which bills itself as La Superestrella (the superstar) and which draws solid but not spectacular ratings, in part because its signal emanates from Riverside and doesn’t reach all of Los Angeles.

The intention to change KLYY’s format had been announced on Nov. 4 by Charles Fernandez, president and CEO of New York-based Big City Radio, which recently bought Hispanic Internet Holdings. Fernandez said he hoped to hear the popular Spanish Christmas song “Feliz Navidad” broadcast on 107.1 by the end of the year.

“He got his wish,” Subotnick said.

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