The company buying Carson City radio stations KPTL-AM and KZZF-FM plans to change to FM station's format to regional Mexican programming, a company executive said Wednesday.
"Regional Mexican programming refers to the northern and western areas of Mexico and features mariachi and other traditional music," said Abel A. DeLuna, president of radio stations for the DeLuna family-owned Moon Broadcasting.
Moon's purchase of the stations from Carson businessman Dwight Millard for $3 million is in escrow and is expected to close June 13, with Moon taking over the stations the next day, according to Millard.
DeLuna said Moon plans to convert KZZF to the 24-hour Hispanic format when the company takes over but plans to keep the "oldies" format - and as much of the staff as possible - at KPTL.
"The AM, I think, will be as is for the immediate future. We want to keep the staff and the oldies format," said DeLuna, 25. "They seem to be doing real good there."
Los Angeles-based Moon Broadcasting already owns six stations in California -an FM in Tulare, two FMs in Santa Maria, an AM in Santa Rosa and an AM/FM pair in Barstow - and an AM/FM pair in Yakima, Wash, DeLuna said.
He said the DeLuna family became involved in radio stations when his father purchased a station in Santa Rosa in 1993.
"My father, who is also named Abel, started a record business called Luna Records, which became the largest independent Spanish label until he sold it to Sony Records 18 months ago. He now works for Sony," DeLuna said.
"The radio business was a natural extension of the records because it provided exposure to Luna's artists and served the Hispanic community in the San Joaquin and Central valleys."
He said KZZF would retain its call sign and Moon will bring in an on-air staff, possibly including a couple of broadcasters now working at other Moon stations. Management of the stations has not been determined yet, he said.
The stations will also remain in their location at 1960 Idaho St. for now, but a move closer to Reno may be possible in the future, DeLuna said. That's because KZZF, whose FM signal covers the Truckee Meadows, is considered a Reno station while KPTL-AM is a Carson City station.
"I don't think we will have much problem convincing Reno-area advertisers of the benefits of marketing to this population," DeLuna said about the prospect of selling Spanish-language ads. He said Moon Broadcasting has already converted some of its other stations from English to Spanish-language.
An earlier attempt to convert KZZF to a Spanish language station collapsed in May 1999 when high winds toppled a 140-foot antenna tower on Slide Mountain that carried the FM signal to the Reno area.
KZZF/KPTL general manager Mike Millard said at the time that subsequent engineering problems prevented bringing in programming developed by Reno Spanish-language station KQLO for broadcast by KZZF. KZZF instead switched from an adult contemporary format to oldies.