Posted In: Alternative / Modern Rock
About a week ago, it was announced that Grupo Imagen was selling Mexico City’s XHDL 98.5 and Guadalajara’s XHAV 100.3–the primary stations for its commercial Alternative/Rock format, RMX–to the owner of the revived “Heraldo de México” newspaper, who would then launch its own News/Talk outlet. The changeover took place overnight Friday/early Saturday.
The basic sale itself doesn’t surprise me a whole lot–as RMX was definitely a niche format that might’ve actually been on a few more stations earlier in the decade, and as there are already a lot News/Talk outlets there (perhaps to the point where it’s a “me, too” format that all owners want to have). Still, I’m a bit surprised that Imagen sold both stations (as the format has much more of a history in Guadalajara, to the point where some of the early stories on the sale incorrectly listed the Mexico City station under its pre-RMX format, and as it might’ve been sufficient to launch the new format in Mexico City alone)–and that it sold them to a group that was planning to launch what’s at least somewhat of a competitor to that company’s own flagship network (especially since it also has a newspaper of its own, “Excélsior”).
There are still Rock-leaning stations in both markets–although perhaps most of them (especially in Mexico City) are non-commercial. Still, RMX did very much have quite a following–and one of the big question marks over this past week was whether its signature “212” concerts/festivals would continue. (The short answer is that they should go on–although perhaps under a new name.)
That gets me to just how much the sale and eventual flip played out on social media. The various airstaff (especially Gonzalo Oliveros, who continued to be the format’s driving force until the end) were really active during the week–and were able to promote a series of hashtags that often became trending (starting with #AquiEstoyRMX, then #MiFotoRMX [for pictures], then #MiCancionRMX [for favorite/best-remembered songs], then the already-existing #212RMX [for the aforementioned concerts], then #GraciasRMX [for the bulk of the final day, which in turn led to #GraciasGonzalo], then finally #AdiosRMX). In fact, a “desperation” tweet to Guillermo del Toro was responded to. And, yes, there was apparently enough time for all of the weekday shows to have final broadcasts–while the last-ever show was on Facebook Live.
Emotiva despedida de #AdiosRMX. Este es cómo se despide un equipo de radio. Imagen les dio a los colaboradores tiempo suficiente para hacerlo con dignidad.
"A esta estacion de radio le daban 3 meses de vida… Los 3 meses se convirtieron en 13 años y medio." —@goliveros
— En Frecuencia (@EnFrecuencia) June 22, 2019
Antes de @RMXradio hice casting en 11 estaciones de radio en SLP, en ninguna quedé pero RMX me abrió las puertas…
MI HISTORIA CON RMX…
Con RMX me fui a vivir a San Miguel de Allende, la primera vez que entré al aire me quedé mudo de nervios, (aun me dan nervios) -abro hilo
— Capitán Peligro (@lalolocutor) June 21, 2019
Lamento que cierren- les mando un abrazote desde Toronto- https://t.co/iVIwXtRNJo
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) June 20, 2019
En la edición de hoy de @elheraldo_mx, se anunció que @Imagen_Mx venderá la XHDL-FM de la Ciudad de México y la XHAV-FM en Guadalajara al Grupo Andrade, dueño de El Heraldo de México, sujeta a la autorización del IFT. https://t.co/fnSyrTjtja
— En Frecuencia (@EnFrecuencia) June 16, 2019
The good news is that the void in Guadalajara (which actually might not have been huge anyway) has been at least somewhat filled by the launch of a new format for XEABCJ/XHABCJ, which is in the process of migrating from AM to FM: a local version of the mostly online Rock 101 format that includes some of the former RMX airstaff. That might be part of a larger expansion of the format’s broadcast footprint; currently, it otherwise exists as a staffed online stream, plus an affiliated evening show that’s carried on owner ABC’s primary national format and hosted by Luis Gerardo Salas (who not only runs this format but was the guiding force behind the original Rock 101 on the Mexico City station that’s now XHSON [hence the reused current name]).
However, Mexico City almost also lost its primary non-commercial Rock outlet–as the financial difficulties of federally owned broadcaster IMER came to a head, with a threat to make its Reactor (XHOF 105.7) pretty much automated, and to shut down its online/HD-only outlets (including XHOF’s Interferencia subchannel).
I couldn’t begin to think about if an existing commercial broadcaster in Mexico City would flip a station to a Rock-leaning format. However, I do know that there’s now a wild card–as Grupo Radio Centro’s own financial difficulties have resulted in it giving up on operating XHFO 92.1. That station’s actual owner (Grupo Siete) doesn’t own any other FMs in the immediate area, but does have a local AM–plus a good amount of stations in nearby markets (e.g., Cuernavaca, Pachuca, Puebla, and Toluca). What it chooses to do with its soon-to-be-reclaimed outlet apparently remains to be seen.
Finally, IMER’s and GRC’s financial issues may also have caused a fair number of departures by their Talk hosts. That might’ve helped the aforementioned new Heraldo format–which might have a stronger lineup than I originally thought.
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