SBS Prepares For An Anniversary Party
By Adam Jacobson, from Radio+Television Business Report | October 23, 2018
MIAMI — With its stock trading at 14 cents per share and debt still very much an issue, Spanish Broadcasting System is nevertheless a leader among Hispanic media companies. With Mega TV making a profit and its radio stations seeing ratings vigor, the company on Thursday will celebrate its 35 years in operation.
A fiesta saluting SBS’s commitment to serving the Hispanic community since 1983, when President/CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. followed in the footsteps of his father, a Cuban exile who fled Camaguey for South Florida in 1960 following the ascension of Fidel Castro and the government expropriation of all privately owned businesses.
For the elder Castro, this meant the end of ownership of Radio Cadena Agramonte, which continues today under the control of the Cuban government.
Alarcon Sr. took to the New York airwaves, and was a host and PD. Twenty-three years after leaving Cuba, he and his son borrowed $3.5 million to acquire an AM radio station at 1380 kHz serving the New York metropolitan area. This was WSKQ-AM, and it was a major success. In its first year, billing came in at some $20 million.
On February 1, 1989, SBS brought Spanish-language radio to the FM dial in New York with the debut of WSKQ-FM on 97.9 MHz, following its acquisition from the The Jewish Daily Forward and shift of Yiddish-language WEVD to 1050 kHz.