After Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) recently touted ratings gains for stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, SAG-AFTRA is urging management at the Spanish language broadcaster to extend fair contracts to its air talent in L.A. and Chicago.
“SAG-AFTRA congratulates SBS for the incredible growth it has been able to achieve, especially considering how competitive the Latin radio music market has become in the past year,” SAG-AFTRA Miami Local Executive Director Hertha Suarez said in a release. “This accomplishment is an opportunity for SBS to do the right thing and ensure that the very people who have helped make the company number one are being fairly compensated for their work and talent. As the only Hispanic-owned network in the United States, SBS should lead the way in ending the second-class status for on-air talent working in Spanish-language radio.”
In its first quarter earnings call SBS revealed that it owns the two most-listened-to Spanish language stations in New York: tropical “Mega 97.9 “ WSKQ-FM, which ranked fourth overall with a 5.0 share (6+) in Nielsen’s April survey, and Spanish hits “Amor 93.1” WPAT-FM, which tied for 13th place overall with a 2.9 share. Together the two stations delivered a combined 10.2 share 18-49 and a reach of 4.1 million listeners.
In Los Angeles, SBS regional Mexican “La Raza” KLAX-FM and Spanish CHR “Mega 96.3” KXOL-FM both finished in the top 10, regardless of language, in the April survey. Combined, they reached oven three million weekly listeners. The company also has two of Miami's top 10 stations with a combined audience of 1.8 million, up from 1.3 million one year ago, and three of the top five in Puerto Rico.
WSKQ-FM, KXOL-FM, KLAX-FM and regional Mexican “La Raza” KRZZ San Francisco ranked as the top Spanish language radio stations in the nation in February. SBS also boasted on its Q1 earnings call that it led all radio groups in audience growth among 25-54 year-olds in fall 2018, compared to fall 2017, with a 16% increase, based on Nielsen data.
Propelled by special events, barter, network and national sales, radio revenue at SBS surged 17% in first quarter 2019 to $34.0 million, up from $29.3 million in the same period last year.
Despite these ratings and earnings, SAG-AFTRA says in a release that SBS “refuses to extend a fair contract to their DJs in Los Angeles and Chicago who organized for SAG-AFTRA representation more than three years ago.”
In Los Angeles the two sides have faced off in court, eventually reaching a half million dollar settlement after the union accused SBS of numerous violations of labor laws. In October, the staff of regional Mexican “La Ley” WLEY-FM Chicago (107.9) voted overwhelmingly in favor of having SAG-AFTRA serve as their exclusive collective bargaining representative.
“SBS is enjoying a level of success that wouldn’t have been possible without its on-air personalities,” Suarez added. “We ask that they become an industry leader and do right by them by putting forth a salary that reflects the passion and dignity they bring to the job – and that keeps listeners tuning in – day after day.”
SBS owns 17 radio stations in the Hispanic population centers of New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Puerto Rico; as well as the Mega TV cable channel.