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Record-setting gains for Spanish-language radio.

 

A steady decade of growth in the number of Spanish-language stations came to an end last year when the recession made general market formats a safer port in the storm. But after a one-year hiatus, growth in Hispanic formats has returned and a record 835 stations are now targeting Spanish-speaking Americans.   To chase the expanding audience base, agencies report double-digit gains in Hispanic ad budgets.

During the past decade the number of Hispanic stations has increased by 26%, coinciding with a rising population and growing multicultural advertiser budgets.  Eight percent of commercial radio stations now air some variety of Spanish programming, with the greatest concentration in the top 50 markets.  Even in markets 51-100, Hispanic radio only trails the ubiquitous English-language news-talk and country formats. Acento Advertising CEO Roberto Orci says the expansion mirrors what’s happening in America. “The population continues to grow and it’s been dispersing around the country so you have all these emerging Hispanic markets so that’s where you’re seeing the new radio stations,” says Orci, who also chairs the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.  He says radio is following other Latino-targeted businesses like grocery stores and restaurants, which become a station’s advertising base.

As more Spanish-language radio stations target the nation’s fastest-growing population segment, the question arises as to whether there’s enough revenue to support all the new converts.  BIA/Kelsey estimates $944.3 million was spent on Spanish-language radio in 2012, accounting for 9% of total industry revenue.  That’s more than twice what the segment billed in 2000 and parallels double-digit year-to-year gains in Hispanic ad budgets.  “Now that the economy is better, you’re seeing a lot of local advertisers are back on track and there are dollars to fill the airwaves,” Acento Advertising CEO Roberto Orci says.

National brands are also spending more to reach Latinos.  “There is no doubt that advertisers and marketers are increasingly taking notice of our valuable target audience,” Spanish Broadcasting System COO Albert Rodriguez said recently. “Hispanic America continues to grow rapidly while playing an increasingly influential and visible role in our country.”  The U.S. Hispanic population is still growing so it’s likely the number of stations targeting the demo will too.  “In big markets like L.A. you may not have a big growth in the number of stations,” Orci says.  “But you have English-language stations that are doing things to become more relevant to a more diverse population.”   Read a 10-year track of all formats from the Inside Radio database HERE.


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