I took a look at the ratings for KXOS, every single month, going back to the first full month (May 2009), when Grupo Radio Centro had taken over running the station. The analysis is intriguing, to say the least. Basically, audience share has fallen off a cliff for KXOS, of late. Without getting into great detail on the specific numbers, since they are proprietary to subscribers, the general results show that audience share, the last 3 months of 2011, are the LOWEST, since Grupo Radio took over running the thing. (You have to go all the way back to May and June of 2009 to show numbers as bad!) Just as significantly, if you look at each month starting with August 2009, and compare it to the two subsequent years, you will see that audience share dropped CONSISTENTLY, year over year over year, and this is true, with one exception, for August through December! (So, for example, Aug 2011 share was lower than Aug. 2010 share which was lower than Aug. 2009 share. The same is true for Sept. 2011, 2010, and 2009...the audience share DROPS year over year over year, both years. Same for Oct. and Nov.. 2009-2011. December would be the same way, except for the exception that the Dec. 2009 and Dec. 2010 share was UNCHANGED.
Grupo Radio Centro is, simply put, not getting ANY traction with KXOS. Apparently, their recent tactics to IMPROVE results (whatever they were), in the back half of last year, BACKFIRED BADLY. This makes the talk on rbr.com about the possibility of Merlin Media taking over KXOS from Grupo Radio all the more intriguing...and all the more PLAUSIBLE.
Really, with Grupo Radio Centro only operating ONE station in the U.S., and their now having nearly 3 full years to make a go of it, with absolutely nothing to show for it, one wonders, considering how they lost like $7 million (according to their Form 20-F) operating the station in 2010 (and I would imagine it would be worse in 2011), how much longer they'd want to sink money into a losing venture...especially considering how much they are now "kicking butt" on their core operations in Mexico.
Operating KXOS is taking a decent chunk out of their operating income. I just have to presume they would LOVE an opportunity to be able to "walk away" from the LMA agreement and put/call agreement, at no cost to them....it that were available to them. Stay tuned.
This doesn't surprise me. As a Hispanic myself, born and raised in the U.S. now living in SoCal, it's interesting to watch the evolution of Spanish-speaking radio listeners. As the younger folk are acculturated more and more to the American way of life, their tastes in music likewise move away from Spanish language music and talk. Immigrants become English-only speakers in as little as two or three generations removed from the old country. Plus--sealing the borders is working; there are fewer immigrants arriving in the U.S. from Mexico and Central America.
One thing I wonder about though--who does the listener surveys and how are they done? The Spanish-speaking population has to be difficult to keep up with and many would be reluctant to report their listening habits.
I think you're asking mostly the wrong questions. The issue is one of SHARE of the total listening base (of people listening to Spanish language stations), in the L.A. market. And for some reason. KXOS has been losing share, precipitously, from the approximate 2%+ of market share peak they had. Grupo Radio screwed something up here. Are they willing to cry uncle?