MIAMI — If one were to pen a “History of U.S. Hispanic Radio’s Programming Greats,” names such as the late Bill Tanner or Billy Forquet, or perhaps David Gleason, Pio Ferro, Alfredo Alonso and Enrique Santos may come to mind.
Another longtime programming leader, one based in Los Angeles, is also on that list of veteran Spanish-language radio cognoscenti. And, he’s just joined Meruelo Media after a long stint at Univision Communications.
Haz Montana, who had been Vice President of Content for Univision Radio since September 2012 and, before that, the Operations Manager for its Los Angeles radio stations, has taken the role of VP/Audio Brands for Meruelo.
This puts Montana in a key role overseeing what comes out of the speakers for those listening to Rocker KLOS-FM 95.5, Classic Hip-Hop KDAY-FM & KDEY-FM, Hip-Hop KPWR-FM “Power 106” and the lone Spanish-language FM in the Southern California stable, KLLI-FM “Cali 93.9,” a reggaetón-focused station in a direct format battle with Spanish Broadcasting System’s KXOL-FM “Mega 96.3.”
In a statement released late Sunday (5/23), Meruelo Media President/CEO Otto Padrón explained that “after an exhaustive national search getting to know some of this country’s most amazing leaders in our craft of audio,” the locally based, highly respected Montana chose to accept the position.
“Haz brings the right balance of audio art and hard science perfectly nested within his steady brand of leadership, personal values and the confident entrepreneurial spirit we energetically embrace here at Meruelo Media,” Padrón said. “These very essential qualities are must-have requirements to steer our team and legacy audio brands.”
At Univision, Montana most recently had direct oversight of three national audio brands, found across six markets where Univision owns radio stations.
Montana joined Univision as its L.A. radio operations manager in 2005, following a six-year run as Program Director of the former KSSE-FM “Súper Estrella” — a massively successful rock en español-influenced Spanish Contemporary station that rode the Ricky Martin-to-Shakira wave. He launched KSSE under EXCL Communications, continuing through Entravision and winning a direct format war with the former operator Big City Radio’s “Viva 107.1” in L.A.
Before that SoCal success, which saw him steer KLVE “Radio Amor” and KRCD/KRCV “Recuerdo,” Montana had already made his mark in Hispanic radio. From December 1995 through August 1998, he served as PD of SBS’s WRMA-FM “Romance” in Miami, then a ratings leader following its debut under prior ownership led by Russ Oasis.
Furthermore, from 1991 to 1994, he was a “mental weapon” for Critical Mass Media, extensively traveling to consult with radio clients in their programming and marketing decisions. That experience led him to WRMA, and a career in Hispanic media.
A graduate of Michigan State University, Montana began his career in 1984 at Goodrich Broadcasting, a Grand Rapids operator of Rock and Top 40 stations that today owns a R&B station in the market.
“Hip Hop, Rock, Throwbacks, Latin Rhythm, and passionate talent — this opportunity is a dream come true,” Montana said. “I’m honored to be starting today with Team Meruelo. Above all, I’m excited about chartering a bold path in this newly reimagined role.”
Montana, who has won numerous Radio Ink honors, will be based in Los Angeles and reports to Padron.
Montana recently completed a course on Digital Business Strategy from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.