96.7FM Atlanta revives El Patron regional Mexican radio format, its 10th format flip in 20 years

The latest iteration at 96.7: El Patron.

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The latest iteration at 96.7: El Patron.

96.7FM, a south-skewing Atlanta radio signal, is switching to a regional Mexican music format Saturday, reviving iHeartMedia’s El Patron name that it has used in the past on 105.3.

El Patron ran on 105.3 from 2004 until 2018.

The signal (WBZW-FM) had been playing all Christmas music since early November after simulcasting a Spanish top 40 station Z105.7.

El Patron 96.7 will air a blend of Banda, Norteno and Rancheras styles of music. Artists will include Grupo Firme, La Adictiva Banda San Jose de Mesillas, Calibre 50, Los Dos Carnales, Banda MS and Christian Nodal.

“With the launch of El Patron 96.7, we are proud to continue the tradition of being the innovator and leader of Atlanta’s Hispanic media landscape,” said Z105.7 and El Patron 96.7 Program Director Orlando Rosa in a news release. “With the rapidly growing Hispanic population in Atlanta, as well as emerging musical tastes, this move puts us in a position to super-serve all of our Hispanic listeners, advertisers and the community.”

Over the past two decades, iHeartMedia (which was previously Clear Channel) has been unable to find a consistent format for this signal. It has tried more than 10 different formats over the years, sometimes the same one twice.

It has been rhythmic top 40 (Wild 96.7) in 2000-2001, a simulcast of an adult pop station Mix 105.7 in 2001 to 2002, alternative rock 96.7/The Buzz from 2002 to 2005, Hispanic Viva from 2005 to 2006, soft pop Lite from 2005 to 2006, classic country the Legend from 2006 to 2010, dance top 40 simulcast with 105.7 Wild from 2010 to 2013, alternative rock simulcast Radio 105.7/96.7 from 2013 to 2016, hip hop 92.3/96.7 the Beat from 2016 to 2020 and Spanish simulcast Z105.7/96.7 from 2020 until November, 2021.