Reggaeton: Fad or Genre? Radio No Tiene La Respuesta

Agustin Gurza poses that question in yesterday's LA Times. His emphasis is on commercial radio– hardly the best way to judge culture or media these days.

Radio stations that flocked to the thumping Latino hip-hop style have seen their ratings slip in recent weeks. In at least three markets — Las Vegas, Dallas and Miami — stations that gambled on the music's growing popularity have since switched back to more traditional musical formats….One year after the genre exploded onto the scene with Yankee's revved up hit "Gasolina," reggaeton is suffering from a lack of new artists and fresh material.

What reason does commercial radio give for the ratings decline? Too much experimentation, says Pio Ferro, of the Spanish Broadcasting System, owner of LA's Latino 96.3.:

Ferro doesn't blame reggaeton for the ratings dip at Latino 96.3. He blames it on the decision to experiment with new English-language hip-hop tracks that were not proven hits.
"That was a mistake," said Ferro. "The radio stations that play the hits and play them frequently do better than the stations that play a bunch of new music and don't let anything get established. People love to hear what they know, and they know what they love."


As I have said before, there is plenty of energy left in the reggaeton tank. Gurza concludes on this note:

Radio is starting to feature new tunes with fresh names, including the irreverent Calle 13 and three other Puerto Rican duos: Wisin & Yandel, Yaga & Mackie Ranks and Rakim & Ken-Y…. Meanwhile, back in Puerto Rico, where it all started, reggaeton remains as hot as ever.


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