DORAL, Fla. – Ahead of a planned meeting with leaders of a Democratic-backed group planning to buy Doral-based Spanish-language radio station Radio Mambí, a popular host on the radio station backed by hardline Cuban exiles, amplified fears that the station will no longer be a conservative bulwark.
Host Ninoska Perez Castellon decried “attacks and misinformation about disinformation” when commenting on the sale, and was later joined by U.S. Sen Rick Scott, R-Florida.
The new owners, however, are promising that the “voice of Cuban exiles” will remain as is. They traveled to Doral to meet with station employees Thursday.
The Latino Media Network, a startup founded by two political strategists who worked for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, reached a $60 million deal to acquire 18 AM and FM stations in ten U.S. cities from Televisa/Univision. The agreement announced on June 3 still needs Federal Communications Commission approval.
The network has raised a total of $80 million from high-profile investors such as actress Eva Longoria, who is also a Democratic political activist, and former Florida Republican Party chairman Al Cardenas, now a critic of former President Donald Trump. The debt involved is financed by Lakestar Finance LLC, a company affiliated with Democratic mega-donor George Soros.
The deal has been harshly criticized by Republicans in Florida, from the Cuban American House delegation to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis. Coalition members said they are exploring legal ways to contest the takeover.
Democrats have pointed to some shows on Radio Mambi and other Spanish-language radio stations when raising concerns about disinformation, especially following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Republicans say those accusations are used to distract from the Democrats’ lackluster performance among Hispanic voters in South Florida and Texas in the 2020 election.
FCC approval tends to take at least a year, but the owners expect it may take even longer because of the backlash from Miami.