A first-of-its-kind Spanish-language news/talk radio station will launch on Long Island Sept. 1, the station's owner said Tuesday.
The new station, "En Vivo'' — or "Live" — will be a so-called "FM/AM" combination, broadcasting simultaneously from WLIM/93.3 and WLIM/1440, both formerly "The Breeze." The latter station, which launched in 1958, has a storied history and was once the AM home of WBAB.
Ronkonkoma-based JVC Media, which will launch "En Vivo," purchased both stations Monday.
JVC president John Caracciolo said in a phone interview Tuesday that while 1440's signal can be heard across Nassau and Suffolk, the new station will primarily serve listeners in Suffolk, where just over 26% of residents speak Spanish as their primary language.
Ana Maria Caraballo, morning host and program director of JVC's WBON/98.5 FM — "La Fiesta" — will serve as "En Vivo" station manager, Caracciolo said.
"This came together because of the need," he said. "With 'La Fiesta' we found that the community really wants to talk." Although 'La Fiesta' is primarily a music station, "we found there's a need and an audience that was not getting served."
The proposed all-talk-all-the-time lineup — which will be fashioned as the companion lineup to JVC's English-language Long Island News — will feature shows built around community outreach, and others that will offer information about lawyers, doctors, and "shows about money and mortgages," Caracciolo said. Some sports coverage (mostly soccer play-by-play) will be folded in as well, he said.
While there will be opinion programs, the emphasis will be on information: The major issues in Suffolk's Latino community "right now have got to be immigration, affordable housing and police protection, but this will be an outlet for them to express what those big issues are," Caracciolo said.
Originally licensed to Babylon, WLIM/1440 launched on Jan. 5, 1958, as WBAB, which played jazz but also had a significant news operation. Over the years the station drifted through various other formats (and call letters) — rock, oldies, country and a sports/music/talk hybrid in the '90s for Latino listeners. The station — which had been WNYG — became WLIM in 2019.
Both WLIM and 93.3 will simulcast JVC's "Big Hits"' 98.1 FM until the September launch, said Caracciolo.
With the purchase, JVC — which also owns the Catholic Health Amphitheater at Bald Hill, a 7,000-person outdoor concert and event facility — now has seven stations on Long Island and another 11 in Florida.