Where is DJ Laz?
South Florida’s deep-voiced veteran deejay made a name for himself at Miami-based “Power 96” WPOW 96.5-FM, left that dance party station last year after almost two decades, and later joined WRMA 106.7-FM (renamed “DJ 106.7” to reflect his move there).
Now, the deejay known as the “Pimp with the Limp,” is no longer at WRMA.
The station, owned by Spanish Broadcasting System in Medley, has been simulcasting programming from what was known as “El Zol” WXDJ 95.7-FM, a Spanish tropical format of mostly salsa and merengue artists. And it has been rebranded as “El Nuevo Zol.”
DJ Laz, whose real name is Lazaro Mendez, did not respond Wednesday to interview requests on his social media accounts. Jesus Salas, executive vice president of programming at Spanish Broadcasting System, declined to comment except to say that the simulcast began Nov. 29.
Mendez, a longtime Plantation Acres resident, made waves in April 2012 when he suddenly departed “Power 96,” his home base of 22 years, where his dry-heave laugh and his club parties made him a local name.
Before he started at WRMA, billboards along Interstate 95 heavily promoted his arrival, teasing drivers with the question: “Where is DJ Laz?” When his new show went on the air July 4, 2012, Laz helmed his Fort Lauderdale-Miami market morning show from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays. Then he’d stay on the air for another three hours for his West Coast morning-drive shift on Los Angeles sister station, KXOL 96.3-FM.
Under Laz, WRMA’s format replaced romantic Spanish-language ballads with a mix of English- and Spanish-language top 40 music (mostly dance). The station was promoted as “Miami’s new party station.”
At the time of the switch, the Hollywood, Fla., native said he hoped the format would differentiate the station from South Florida competitors who either presented English-only hits or Spanish ones.
“Every radio station can play the same music. It’s what you do between the songs that is going to set you apart from everybody else,” he said in an interview last year.
But the dial shift and format change may have not clicked with audiences or management. WRMA ranked 22nd out of 30 stations in the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood-Miami market in percent share of overall listeners last month, meaning a weekly cumulative audience of 457,200 listeners, according to Nielsen Audio. Sister station WXDJ (the former “Zol”) ranked No. 13 with a 3.2 share of listeners for the same time period, or a weekly audience of 536,600 listeners for the same period.
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