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Indeed, EXCL has nearly twenty stations across the country, and every one of them now specializes in Spanish-language broadcasting of various stripes. Radio Romantica is one such hybrid, focusing on an easy-listening style that Murphy says is targeted "at upscale Hispanic women between the ages of 18 and 49--women who enjoy a more assimilated lifestyle than the people who listen to some of the other stations in town. They may be second-generation Hispanic-Americans who are comfortable on both the Anglo and Hispanic sides of Denver life and who have never had a station like this before."

Even though Radio Romantica is essentially a satellite service that's piped to KJMN from San Jose, Murphy emphasizes that there will be a local presence thanks to an agreement with Metro Traffic and a news staff based in Denver. Thus far, he's been able to sell the Spanish-language media on the originality of the station--Univision, for example, provided live coverage of last Wednesday's sign-on, which featured an appearance by international singing star Anna Barbara. Moreover, Murphy's not to be sold short: In a little over a year, KMXA has become far and away the most listened-to Spanish-language radio station in the area, with a market share among Hispanics almost four times as large as that of its nearest competitor. Urban music fans who enjoyed having more than one Denver FM to listen to will no doubt be upset by the disappearance of Jam'n, as will the twenty KJMN staffers whom Murphy let go after installing Radio Romantica. But you can bet the employees at KS-107.5 are all smiles.

And Abdul-Khaaliq? At least now he has only one place to picket.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is Michael_Roberts@westword.com. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com

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