In the final weeks of 2019, LBI Media prepared to enter the next decade with new blood in its executive programming and sales ranks, reporting to a new Chief Executive.
Now, the company has shed any ties to its founders, José and Lenard Liberman, by changing its name.
Effective today, LBI Media is now known as Estrella Media.
It adopts the “Estrella” brand, used until now for the Estrella TV broadcast television network, by extending it to the Spanish-language radio properties and digital assets the Burbank, Calif.-based Hispanic-focused media company possesses.
And, it is a move that cements itself as a wholly different company than the one that entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019.
What does this mean for both advertisers and consumers? In an exclusive interview, Estrella Media CEO Peter Markham said “enhancements” are in the works across every division of the company.
“There is greater investment in our products — what content you see on our linear TV network and the content on the radio stations,” Markham says, adding that Estrella Media will place “a much larger focus” in its digital products.
“Consumers will see an updated look and feel to our products,” Markham adds. “There will be a lot of upgrades, and a modernization of how we deliver content to consumers.”
Estrella Media’s TV O&Os in Houston, Miami, and Dallas will remain integral components of the Estrella TV operation, with increased production across its stations serving Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston.
Estrella TV’s recently launched weekday network newscast En La Mañana remains based in Dallas. Meanwhile, more local news is on tap for Houston and Miami, where WGEN-8 has seen respectable growth under two-year GM Nick Valls.
Further explaining the company’s rebranding, Markham says, “Our new name, logo and mission speak to our company today and for the future, while aligning our television, radio and digital platforms under a single overarching brand. It also reflects the significant role Hispanics play in American culture and how we as a company can connect and inspire everyone we touch.”
With the debut of a late-night show, Cayó La Noche, on schedule for Monday night (2/3) at Estrella TV, Markham believes Estrella Media’s future “is very promising, and the opportunity in front of us is significant.” Taking the lead programming role for LBI Media’s Estrella TV broadcast TV network is Ivan Stoilkovich. For ad sales, the newest LBI Media executive is Jason Hall.
This very much includes the radio assets that serve as the foundation of what was Liberman Broadcasting, with properties in Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston.
“Radio historically has been fairly tightly integrated with TV,” Markham says. “[Estrella TV stars] Don Cheto and Pepe Garza got their start on radio platform, and Estrella is now an umbrella brand that we can rally behind.”
What is Markham’s two-year short-term view? “Making sure we’re putting the best product out across the current distribution footprint.”
This very much includes radio, with zero plans to divest. “Radio is a great business and we think our properties as part of Estrella Media is a fantastic business, when you think of the cross-pollination,” Markham notes.