Georgetown, DE – Jonathan Burbano grows excited as he talks about the way that he mixes music with sound effects and creative messages to build a solid image at what is now the most popular Spanish-language radio station in the region.
He plays with unconventional production tricks – weaved into dramatic promos and sweepers – that make it clear to listeners of Maxima 900 that the AM radio station is fun and edgy but yet full of real information that immigrants need.
“What Jonathan has done is taken our AM station and made it sound like one that could be on the radio dial of any large metropolitan city,” said co-worker and radio personality Romina Lankford.
As Maxima 900 approaches its one year anniversary on Aug. 16, the staff celebrates the rise of a station based in Georgetown that formed practically on the fly in a homegrown style. Today, it’s a thriving place with dynamic programming and a following that extends throughout Delmarva and, literally across the globe through their online stream that captures 2,000 listeners per day. Just this month, Arbitron rated Maxima 900 as the most popular Spanish-language station in the region.
“We’ve worked hard to develop a station that people want to hear because it moves them at their core. We’re innovative and hip with what we do and how we do it and we’re relevant to their lives,” said General Manager Kevin Anadrade.
Case and point: More than 1,200 listeners signed up for a chance to attend a Ricky Martin concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The station holds contests each month for major concert tickets – and often throws in limo transportation.
Part of their success stems from the work that Burbano, 36, has done in elevating the brand of the station since his arrival in March from Ecuador. The station previously played mostly jingles. It now has a database with almost 100 promos of various sorts.
“Each tells a story in 15 seconds or less and they all reinforce the station’s image and brand in creative ways,” he said.
Since the age of 8, Burbano has been mesmerized by the power of radio. After school, he visited a friend who was a radio announcer in his hometown of Ambato, Ecuador and soaked in everything he saw. By the age of 16, he had his own show playing Bob Marley music. He’s always kept a foot in radio station even while in college.
“I enjoy all sorts of music. But Bob Marley makes me happy. I love the melodic sound and the positive messages,” he said.
Though he doesn’t play much Reggae in his afternoon show called “Sonico” on Maxima, he loves to get listeners swaying as they tune in. His target audience is young people. With his co-host Dayana Yuncosa they chat about a wide variety of topics from the trivial pop star updates to serious feedback on political debates. In between they entertain with countdowns and giveaways.
Burbano’s true passion, however, lies in creative design. His first major contribution at Maxima was developing a new tagline, something fun and catchy. He came up with” Maxima 900. Te enciende, no te quema (Maxima 900. Heats you up but doesn’t burn).
“With the tagline, we were able to define our goal of sharing a warm energy with our listeners but never overstepping boundaries that would force them to feel burned out,” he explained.
The tagline clicked and today it’s vocalized repeatedly when listeners call in for giveaways and concert packages.
They also respond to Burbano’s promos that focus on very specific messages. In one promo about the radio’s online stream, he blends the tagline with the point that Delaware listeners are part of a worldwide audience.
The promo, translated into English, goes: From Eiffel Tower to Big Ben, from Mar de Plata to Alaska, from Manhattan to Copacabana from Acapulco to Madrid. We consider ourselves responsible for the global warming. www.maxima90zero.com.
“Jonathan works magic behind the scenes. He has really helped shape the image of this station,” Andrade said.
Burbano is in Delaware as a consultant with his wife, Maria Pamela Villacres, and their children Nicole, 15 and Martin, 11. He is one of 15 people who make up the Maxima team.
Maxima is part of Andrade’s Hola Media Network, an innovative broadcast company based in Delaware that has developed successful shows regionally and internationally. Based at Great Scott Broadcasting headquarters on U.S. 113 in Georgetown, Maxima broadcasts 24 hours a day.
Their ties to the community are deep despite their youth. Currently the phones are ringing off the hook with listeners casting votes for their favorite nominees for the Hola Awards, an annual event that Andrade created to honor true community leaders. The awards show is now organized by Maxima staff.
Said Andrade: “For us the growth of Maxima makes the point that the Latino community is strong and thriving and that we benefit from the expertise of creative people who really know how to achieve success.”
To learn more about Maxima 900, visit www.maxima90zero.com.