New York Issue

Latin Radio turns to more dance music…

Being a Cuban-American that grew up in Miami (except for two months of each year spent in Los Angeles during summer) and having been a part of the music community from an early age allowed me to enrich myself with so many different genres of music including Salsa (El Gran Combo, Ruben Blades, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Grupo Niche), Merengue (Johnny Ventura, Wilfrido Vargas, Los Hermanos Rosario), Rock-Pop (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Santana, Malo), R&B (James Brown, Tower of Power, The Jackson 5, Curtis Mayfield, Betty Wright), Latin Jazz (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Cachao) and Afro-Cuban (Mongo Santamaria, Machito, Benny More, Gina Martin y La Orquesta de Obdulio Morales), just to name a few. In my teens, I mostly enjoyed listening to the Anglo radio, and during the disco era I became a “disco head”… that was the music richness of growing up in Miami.

In 1979 Super Q emerged as the first bilingual radio station in the USA, which would forever change and help influence what was to become the “Sound of Miami”. The station was a melting pot of the best music in both the Anglo and Latin markets that catered specifically to the bilingual Cuban youth of Miami – the largest Latino Community at the time.

Then the interest of the major Record Labels wanting to cash in on the Latin market began to grow and radio stations started going back to playing “only Latin music” or “only this and/or that genre”… never again has there been anything close to Super Q, even though some tried and failed due to corporate/research/bullshit.

Recently with the decline of immigration, the “Americanizing” of young Latinos and the ever-evolving digital technology, Latin radio has once again seen the need to reach that bilingual demographic and so it had to reinvent itself by adding a lot of the uptempo dance oriented songs that work in the Anglo market to its programming, discovering and breaking their own songs, and ultimately driving the Latin artists and labels to produce more dance oriented music – something that Latin Club DJs have been doing for years.

Heavy players like Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and the Black Eyed Peas, which made a name for themselves in the Anglo market before crossing over to Latin radio, have influenced this new “electro-house,” “electro-pop” and “electro-urban” type sound that is now being programmed in Latin radio all over the USA – a fact that we welcome with open arms. As more remixes are being played, the Latin radio Mix show and Club DJs have become more important at helping break new talent, so it’s looking like a bright future for those who “Live, Love & Breathe” Dance music… now I just wish that some of these Latin DJs would play a bit more of the great Latin Dance music out there and less of the proven Anglo hits that you can hear at every street corner.

Due to these changes, in the upcoming issues of the magazine we will be working on a new chart that will include the hottest Anglo Dance tracks being played at the Latin clubs nationwide.

Lets keep dancing forever!


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