Latin rock fans turning on their radios on Monday might find their favorite sounds missing from the dial. Super Estrella, Los Angeles’ only station for rock and pop en español, is changing formats this weekend, ending its radio broadcast after 19 years Sunday night and moving to an online-only stream, according to sweepers (brief announcements played between songs) that have been running since Thursday morning.
When moved off the airwaves, the station, which is owned by Hispanic media company Entravision, will leave a gaping hole in L.A.’s Latin rock radio market, much as the company’s beloved Indie 103.1 did for English-language rock when it went to a streaming model in 2009.
According to the sweepers, the station will cease broadcast on 107.1 FM at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. After that, listeners are directed to visit superestrella.com, a site that has already been updated to host four distinct DJ-free streams — clásico, rock, nuevo and Club SE — each reflecting one of Super Estrella’s hard-to-find musical specialties.
Representatives for Super Estrella declined to comment on the changes.
For nearly two decades, Super Estrella was L.A.’s go-to station for Latin rock, pop and Spanish-language alternative music, a rare format that — unlike the city's dozen or so regional Mexican and Spanish adult contemporary stations — served a niche audience of listeners not interested in hearing accordions, horns or romantic ballads.
Hits from megastar bands such as Maná, Kinky, Calle 13, Los Fabuloso Cadillacs and more were on constant rotation, alongside new songs from pop stars like Carlos Vives, Shakira and Pitbull. A rotation of daily DJs would give out tickets to see big-name touring artists and listeners would call in with their shoutouts, many exclaiming their love of the station, saying that after immigrating to the United States they finally found somewhere that played their favorite music.
Since last January, mornings meant El Show de Piolin, the popular if not controversial nationally syndicated morning show that Entravision brought back to broadcast after host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo’s SiriusXM contract was abruptly canceled after only a year. Though there are no signs that the show is ending (it is broadcast live in more than 40 cities), with La Super Estrella off air, it appears that his daily antics will no longer be broadcast in the L.A. market, at least for now. The fate of the other daily talk shows is unknown.
Also lost in the change to a DJ-free format is Super Estrella After Hours, an EDM and dance music show on which host Joe “Joe Energy” Diaz brought in Latino DJs to do interviews and spin hours-long sets of house, trance and EDM.
Diaz posted on Facebook about the station’s changes Thursday morning, saying “goodbye for now” and “see you soon.” In a comment on his post replying to a DJ who was originally scheduled to perform tonight (Saturday), he noted that in its six years on the air, After Hours had featured close to 500 DJs and, for more than 300 of them, it was their first radio appearance.
It is also unclear if the station will continue organizing its annual music festivals, including Reventón, a more pop-focused event (2016 was headlined by Sin Bandera), and La Tocada Fest, which since 2012 has booked everything from heavy metal (Mago de Oz) to ska (Maldita Vecindad) to L.A.-based Spanish rock star Enrique Bunbury in an effort to celebrate the diversity of Latin alternative music.
Super Estrella debuted in 1997 on 97.5 FM out of Riverside before adding the 103.1 FM simulcast in 2000. Entravision acquired 107.1 FM in 2003 and moved the format to that signal. According to Nielsen, Spanish-language radio draws about a quarter of radio listeners in Los Angeles.
Starting Monday, unfortunately, one thing they won’t be listening to is rock en español.