Best Radio Station (2000)

WQBA-AM (1140)

WQBA is no longer La Cubanísima. If nothing else this is a clear indication that someone has finally figured out that the majority of Miami's Spanish-speaking citizens is not obsessed with Fidel Castro. The formatting changes that began in late 1997 -- after the giant Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) acquired WQBA and three other Miami stations -- have by now resulted in a much more pleasant listening experience. Yes, it's still a hard-line exile station at heart, and Ninoska Perez Castellon, la cubanaza herself, is still holding forth on Ninoska a la Una, comparing Fidel to Hitler (she's good enough to get away with it). But at least you don't have to hear this all day long, as you do on that bastion of bombast, Radio Mambí, which HBC bought along with WQBA but left untouched. Veteran Cuban-American broadcasters Agustin Acosta and Bernadette Pardo remain popular news-talk hosts on WQBA, but other personalities who never even mention Castro have been well received. For example the "Plant Doctor," Jesus Ramos, provides excellent gardening advice. The sports coverage is good, too, including but not limited to live broadcasts of Marlins and Dolphins games.


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