A shakeup at Radio Mambí, Miami’s leading Cuban-exile station, has resulted in the ouster of a well-known morning drive-time host and a shortened schedule for a late-night host who has been on the air for more than half a century.
Bernadette Pardo will no longer host her longstanding “Pedaleando con Bernie” (Pedaling with Bernie) local-news talk program on the station, whose call letters are WAQI-AM (710). Pardo was laid off Thursday shortly after the day’s program ended. Her termination was effective immediately, so she was unable to get behind the microphone Friday to bid her listeners goodbye.
“It was very shocking,” Pardo, an el Nuevo Herald columnist, told the Miami Herald when a reporter called to confirm her layoff. “I’ve been there for 30 years, and we were doing fine in the ratings.”
Also affected by the cutbacks: Martha Flores, host of the nightly program “La Noche y Usted” (The Night and You). Known as the “Queen of the Night,” Flores, a radio veteran of more than 50 years, will continue on air, but for fewer hours, said Rosemary Ravinal, a Univision spokeswoman who called Flores a “legend.”
Ravinal said the changes were part of a “minor restructuring” of Univision’s Spanish-language radio network. Fewer than 20 people from Univision stations across the country were affected, she said.
Univision, which has its principal studio in Doral and a corporate office in New York, laid off at least 200 people a year ago after buying sites associated with the media-gossip site Gawker. It restructured Fusion, its English-language arm aimed at millennials, which has been rebranded as Splinter.
Mambí continues to be Miami’s most popular AM Spanish-language station, according to Nielsen ratings (FM stations do better). But its traditional, hardline exile audience has shrunk over the years as older Cubans have died. A major shakeup five years ago decimated its sister station, WQBA-AM (1140), which is also owned by Univision, after WQBA’s most popular personalities were shifted over to Mambí.
Then, Oscar Haza left for the higher-rated WCMQ-FM (92.3), better known as Zeta 92. Armando Pérez Roura — a 30-year Mambí icon — moved to WWFE-AM (670), La Poderosa. And Helen Aguirre Ferré departed to focus on TV and later work in the 2016 presidential race. She’s now director of media affairs for President Donald Trump’s White House.
Buying advertising on Mambí, however, continues to be a must for local politicians and their rivals trying to reach older, reliable voters crucial in state and municipal races.
A single ad block during Pardo’s old show Monday morning, which was being hosted by Lourdes D’Kendall, featured an attack ad against Miami City Commission candidate Joe Carollo — and one for his opponent, Alfredo “Alfie” Leon.