Latin Grammys pack bags for Miami trek

Greene meets with Cuban-Americans about exchanges

MIAMI — The Latin Grammys kudocast will relocate to Miami for its second edition, but with no guarantees the city will be its permanent home.

Following the formal announcement of the Sept. 12 live kudocast on CBS, Recording Academy prexy and CEO Michael Greene praised Miami as a Latin music center and gateway to Latin America.

But, he noted, Los Angeles and New York could also host the Latin Grammys — and Los Angeles is also more convenient.

“I told the (Miami) host committee that they need to be working for next year,” Greene said.

The inaugural Latin Grammys were held last year in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, home to the regular Grammys. Miami had been vying for the event, but a county ordinance that would have prevented Cuban nationals from performing scuttled its chances. (The ordinance was rendered unconstitutional.)

Though Miami officials and the music industry welcomed the event, local Cuban-exile politics are already in play.

The morning of yesterday’s press conference, Greene met with Jorge Mas Santos, head of the anti-Castro Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF) and co-chair of the Latin Grammy host committee, and other representatives of the Cuban-American community.

The CANF and other local groups oppose artistic exchanges with Cuban nationals, even though they are permitted under U.S. law.

While the two sides were able to agree on a number of points, differences do remain, Greene noted. Nonetheless, he said, “If I were a betting man, I would wager we will have Cuban nominees, and there is a possibility that there will be a Cuban national performance.”Nominees for the Latin Grammys will be announced in July. The kudocast will again feature bilingual Spanish-English intros and other commentary, with performances in Spanish and Portuguese. Last year’s broadcast averaged nearly 8 million U.S. viewers, said Eye web senior VP of specials Jack Sussman, who expects strong advertiser response.

Greene also announced the Recording Academy’s first international offices. The Latin Academy (LARAS) will open an office in Mexico City this year, while LARAS and the Los Angeles-based Recording Academy will bow a joint office in Madrid.

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