José Santos started his career in 1988 as a radio DJ (disc jockey / personality) in his hometown of Bakersfield, CA. He moved on to become a successful midday and PM drive personality (becoming the #1 most listened to radio personality in several of the markets he worked in). His first program director opportunity happened in 1994 at KSUV-FM (Qué Suave 102.9) in Bakersfield. Santos would later move on to program KESS-AM, KMRT-AM and KICK-FM in Dallas - Fort Worth (1994-1995), KOND-FM in Houston (1996), KLAX-FM and KXED-AM in Los Angeles (1996-97), and KRNC-FM in Fresno (1997).
In June 1997, Eduardo Caballero asked Santos to return to Bakersfield and join him as a manager for his radio and television operations. These properties included KSUV-FM, KRME-FM, and KSUV-TV, which would be launched as Más Música TeVe. This would expand Santos' knowledge in broadcasting by adding television to his résumé.
In late 1998, Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (formerly Tichenor Media) asked Santos to join their team in Chicago. Santos would operate and program at Hispanic Broadcasting's WOJO-FM (La Qué Buena 105.1) and WIND-AM (La Tremenda 560) in Chicago, IL., where he programmed and worked as an on-air talk show host on a program titled "Contacto 560." When you ask Santos about talk radio, he will tell you that "those were the best days of my on-air career."
In 2001, Hispanic Broadcasting asked Santos to oversee the operations and programming of their Las Vegas properties. This would lead to one of the best programming moments in Santos' career. In 2002, KISF-FM would become the most listened to radio station in the Las Vegas market. In November 2002, Amor 99.3 went on the air. From Winter 2003 through Summer 2003, Santos was programming the #1, #2, and #3 Spanish language radio stations in the market, beating out five other competitors, with his programming of market leader KISF-FM (Regional Mexican), KQMR-FM (Spanish AC), and KLSQ-AM (Spanish Oldies).
Throughout 2003, Univision Radio (formerly Hispanic Broadcasting) asked Santos repeatedly if he would move to the Los Angeles market to oversee their programming and operations. It would take several months of convincing, but with the support of Mac Tichenor, Gary Stone, David Gleason and Eleazar García, in August 2003, Santos moved to Los Angeles to oversee the programming of KSCA-FM (La Nueva 101.9), and later KLVE-FM (K-Love).
Under Santos's leadership, KLVE-FM (K-Love 107.5) Los Angeles became the #1, most listened to, radio station in Los Angeles and Orange County. KLVE-FM became the most listened to Spanish language radio station in the United States in 2005. Santos and KLVE won several broadcasting awards; including the coveted National Association of Broadcasters "Marconi Award" in 2005 and 2007, and was named Spanish Contemporary Station of the Year in 2004, 2005, and 2006 by Radio and Records Magazine.
In March 2007, Santos ventured into the independent consulting business and launched Santos Latin Media. It would all start with his first client, KRYP-FM, which would become the first Spanish language FM radio station, and later become the most listened to radio station and (first) Spanish language radio station to be ranked #1 in the Portland, OR market. Lotus Communications in Fresno, Entravision Communications, and Border Media would follow.
Santos Latin Media ventured into its first branded programming product with the launching of JUAN® on December 25, 2008 in Austin, TX. KFON-AM would be the first JUAN radio station. In one year, KFON-AM went from a 0.6 AQH Shares (12+) in the Fall 2008 to a 2.7 AQH Shares (12+) in the Fall 2009 Arbitron survey (over a 400% increase in market share). In November 2010, JUAN went on the air in five other markets, including Salt Lake City and Yakima. In March 2012, Santos Latin Media would partner with Sparknet Communications (the creators of JACK-FM®) and Westwood One (formerly Dial Global) to have the JUAN format distributed nationally. JUAN continues to broadcast from his garage, and plays what he likes (Tocando Lo Que Le Gusta™). The JUAN format is currently distributed through Synchronicity.
José Santos, throughout his career, has programmed, operated, and/or consulted in over 50 radio markets, with many outstanding broadcasters; including Univisión Communications / Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, Spanish Broadcasting System, Liberman Broadcasting, Entravision Communications, Emmis Communications, Salem Communications, Lotus Broadcasting, Border Media (BMP Radio), Cherry Creek Radio, El Dorado Broadcasters, Sinclair Communications, Glades Media, Townsquare Media and many others.