Univision dumps El Piolin

Piolin arrives at the 25th Anniversary Of Univision's 'Premio Lo Nuestro A La Musica Latina' on February 21, 2013 in Miami, Fla.

There's some big news in Spanish-language radio. Univision's nationally syndicated radio show "El Piolin por la Manana" has been canceled and radio host Eddie Sotelo -- known to his fans as El Piolin -- is out.

Univision hasn't released a statement yet explaining why they canceled the show, and Sotelo hasn't either.

"El Piolin was a combination of NPR and Howard Stern in Spanish, for the Spanish-language masses," said Gustavo Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly, when describing the show and host.

Arellano says Sotelo was popular because he was a blend of everything: He was funny, played popular music and had newsmakers like President Obama on the show. But most importantly, Arellano says, Sotelo was his own audience.

"He was a guy that came to this country illegally, pulled himself up by the boot straps to find untold success in the United States and he told his audience if I can do that you can too," Arellano says.

Some have pointed to slipping ratings as the likely reason for Univision's decision. Arellano says Univision is known for constantly changing programming to stay ahead of the audience.

"In the past 15 years they've gotten into the radio business, they've gone into the CD business, they've gone into the website business, they really have everything ... They are the Standard Oil of Spanish-language media," he says.

Arellano says Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo is a distant second, but that it doesn't hold a candle to Univision.

"It would be like comparing Ford in its heyday to Schwinn Bicycles," says. "It's just not a conversation."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.


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