Adrian García Márquez (left) and Francisco Pinto

By Rick Griffin

Spanish-language media company Estrella Media, based in Burbank, has become the 2020 Spanish-language media partner of the National Football League’s Los Angeles Chargers. Estrella TV Channel 62 in Los Angeles will serve as the Chargers flagship Spanish TV station and Estrella’s KBUE-FM Que Buena 105.5 and 94.3 will serve as the Chargers flagship Spanish radio station.

“Estrella Media is one of the largest U.S. producers of Spanish-language television content, and their vision for how they want to incorporate the Chargers across their media platforms has everyone in our organization excited,” said A.G. Spanos, president of business operations for the Chargers.

“With this being a year-round media partnership that extends well beyond just executing game broadcasts, we have created an avenue to even better serve our Latino fanbase which is, by percentage, the largest in the entire NFL,” Spanos added. “This partnership further ensures that our Spanish-speaking fans always feel connected to their team. We are proud and excited to welcome Estrella Media to the Chargers family.”

Adrian García Márquez, a San Diego native, and Francisco Pinto a native of Concepcion, Chile, have been named the 2020 Spanish-language radio broadcast team for game-day broadcasts on Que Buena. Garcia Marquez will serve as play-by-play announcer and Pinto will provide color commentary. Both have been fixtures in Los Angeles sports for more than two decades and previously teamed up as Spanish-language broadcasters for the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers.

García Márquez returns to the Chargers booth after 12 years. He was previously the team’s Spanish-language play-by-play announcer in 2008, when the team played in San Diego. He began his broadcasting career in 1999 as host of the San Diego Padres pregame show.

He then spent six seasons as “La Voz de Los Lakers” on television where he won an Emmy award for live sports coverage, two NBA Best Live Call awards and three Southern California Sports-Broadcaster Association awards for best TV play by play. He also has served as a play-by-play voice for FOX Deportes’ coverage of the NFL, MLB, College Football and Liga MX broadcasts. García Márquez has also served as the play-by-play announcer for Super Bowl LIV and the World Series on five occasions.

Pinto won the 2012 and 2015 NBA Broadcasting Award for Best Live Call and a 2013 LA Area Emmy Award for live sports coverage. Prior to joining the Lakers broadcast team, Pinto spent 12 years with KMEX-TV, Univision’s LA affiliate, where he was a sports anchor for seven years before switching to news and becoming a host on the station’s morning newscast, Primera Edición. Pinto has covered many of the biggest sporting events in the world, including two World Cups (2002 and 2006) and several NBA Finals, Super Bowls, World Series and world title boxing matches.

Game-day radio broadcasts in LA in English will be heard on iHeartMedia’s KYSR-FM ALT 98.7 and KLAC-AM 570 LA Sports. For the previous three years, since relocating from San Diego, games had aired on KFI-AM 640.

In San Diego, game-day radio broadcasts will air over iHeart’s KGB-FM 101.1 and KLSD-AM 1360 in English. A Spanish radio partner in San Diego has not been announced.

The NFL regular season starts this week with the Chargers’ first game on Sunday Sept. 13 in Cincinnati against the Bengals. The Chargers will play their 2020 home games at SoFi Stadium, also home to the Los Angeles Rams. Games at the recently constructed stadium will be played without fans in attendance due to Covid restrictions.

At an estimated cost of $5 billion, SoFi Stadium is believed to be the most expensive stadium ever built. San Francisco-based Social Finance Inc., or SoFi, secured naming rights in a 20-year deal reportedly worth $400 million. The stadium is expected to host other major sporting events, including the 2022 Super Bowl, college football’s 2023 national championship game, the 2026 FIFA World Cup and some of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Summer Olympic Games (sharing some of the pageantry with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum).

Wonderist Agency founders Laura Maly and Michael Anderson

Wonderist Agency Named to Inc. 5000

Wonderist Agency, a San Diego full-service marketing agency specializing in dental practices around the country, reports it has been included in the Inc. Magazine 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Company list.

The agency, founded in 2011 by Laura Maly and Michael Anderson, was listed by Inc. as No. 1,049, after posting 444 percent growth in revenue over the past four years.

“Our success is the result of our culture,” said Maly. “People here really care about helping small businesses and seeing them thrive. We put the client first and strive for consistency in what we deliver. This process has created full buy-in from our team and is the reason for building the type of culture that has gotten us to where we are today.”

Wonderist, offering marketing services, websites, social media campaigns and search engine marketing, has grown from nine employees four years ago to a staff of 35 employees who serve more than 300 clients in nearly all 50 states. It relocated to an 8,000-square-foot office Point Loma from Los Angeles in 2015. The company built 33 websites for clients in 2020 Q2 and 34 in 2020 1Q.

Maly, Wonderist co-founder, told Times of San Diego the company’s year-over-year increase in revenue growth was 93 percent (2017 to 2018) and 69 percent (2018 to 2019), but that Covid will lower the 2019-to-2020 growth to an estimated 25 percent increase. “While the dental industry got hit hard, it’s amazing we’ve still been able to grow and continue hiring, despite a roughly three-month shutdown of almost the entire industry,” Maly said.

KNX News Radio in LA Celebrating 100th Anniversary

KNX-AM 1070 News Radio in Los Angeles, Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station, will celebrate its 100-year anniversary this week.

The radio station began airing on Sept. 10, 1920, when Fred Christian, a former shipboard radio operator, launched 6ADZ as an audio feature for customers of his Electric Lighting Supply Company who had constructed radios they assembled from parts bought at his store.

Historian Richard Wagoner said Christian’s first transmitter was five-watts strong and used the 1500-AM frequency. “Five watts doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t, but in the early days of broadcasting, there wasn’t nearly as much man-made interference in the air as there is today and five watts would actually travel pretty far,” said Wagoner. In May 1922, Christian was issued the call letters KNX.

Beginning this week on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the station will air “KNX: A Century of Covering Southern California,” an eight-part series to commemorate the centennial anniversary. The station will celebrate Thursday, Sept. 10 as its official anniversary and is planning to air memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the past 100 years. The station is currently operated by media giant Entercom Communications Corp., based in Philadephia.

“The history of Southern California, this county and our world have been painted by so many legendary broadcasters over the years, which is a daily reminder of the historic brand that KNX is,” said Jeff Federman, regional president, Entercom Southern California. “I am proud to be a small part of the history of KNX and am grateful of the team here today carrying the torch that our predecessors passed to us. I look forward to celebrating 100 years of this iconic brand.”

“KNX is a historic brand, and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history,” said Ken Charles, brand manager, KNX 1070 News Radio. “This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

A statement from Entercom said KNX’s number of weekly listeners exceeds 1.24 million, according to Nielsen.

KNX-AM is one of three U.S. radio stations celebrating a centennial this year. KDKA 1020-AM in Pittsburgh is believed to have started around September 1920, although the actual date is often debated. WWJ 950-AM in Detroit recently recognized Aug. 20, 1920, as its founding date.

PRSA Discussing Virtual Engagement Hacks

The Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter will host “Creative Tactics and Virtual Engagement Hacks,” an interactive online discussion with Kaye Sweetser of San Diego State University from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9. Sweetser, a professor for SDSU’s School of Journalism & Media Studies, is recognized nationally as an expert in online public relations.

Discussion topics will include best practices for reaching target audiences through digital media and virtual events. Cost to participate is $25 for members and $40 for nonmembers. For more information, visit www.prsasdic.org, or send an email to katie.nieri@yahoo.com.

Melissa Cameron

In other PRSA news, member Melissa Cameron was recently honored with the 2020 PRSA Western District Platinum Service Award, the highest individual honor bestowed by PRSA Western District. The PRSA Western District comprises a dozen local PRSA chapters across five states with more than 2,000 PRSA members.

Cameron’s tenure on the PRSA SD-IC board of directors has included serving as 2016 president-elect and president in 2017 and 2018. She also served as co-chair of the PRSA 2019 International Conference, which was attended by more than 2,500 PR professionals. Cameron is a VP at Southwest Strategies, where she oversees communication campaigns for the company’s public utility clients.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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