Sandwiched between Detroit and Seattle, Miami ranks a depressing 12th among the largest radio markets in the country, according to Arbitron's spring 2012 rankings. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is second only to New York City.
So for longtime Miami radio personality Lazaro "DJ Laz" Mendez, accepting a new gig in L.A. was a no-brainer.
"He's very excited about becoming part of the SBS family," says Jesus Salas, executive vice president of programming for Spanish Broadcasting Systems, DJ Laz's new employer. "We're in the top six Hispanic markets; we own and operate 22 radio stations plus Mega TV. [Laz] just thought he needed a bigger platform to grow and continue to his career."
Laz's career began in Miami. And for 22-years, he was one of the city's most beloved on-air personalities. He was an influential player on the local party music scene and helped launch Pitbull's career in the early 2000s.
"He's one of those very rare talents that [understands] the on-air presentation not only because he's a mix DJ, but because he knows the timing really well -- when to hit a segment and when to move on," Salas says. "He's also been able to adjust with the time and keep growing with the different genres that have come throughout the last 20 years. He's remained very relevant with the market."
Earlier this month, Laz unexpectedly resigned from Power 96, triggering rumors that the announcement was an elaborate April Fools' Day hoax. But he soon confirmed the news on Twitter.
"Rumors are true, I am no longer with Power 96," he tweeted. "I wish them all the best. And to my coworkers and friends, thank you for everything."
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In an interview with NBC 6 later that night, Laz assured his fans that there were no hard feelings between he and the company. The decision to leave was something that he'd been thinking about "for a minute" because he wanted to explore different options.
"He told me directly that he was very grateful for the company he was working for all those years," Salas says. "He was very happy, he just wanted to grow."