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Media grande: Hispanic market ready for prime time

Growth of the Valley's Hispanic population has meant big changes within the media world that caters to it.

Spanish-language media has lured more national advertisers, which means more revenue and expansion for local television, radio and print publications that target the niche, some in the industry say.

"Hispanic radio and media has been growing for some time," said Jess Hanson, director of research at Clear Channel Communications in Phoenix, which operates eight general-market radio stations.

"It's a trend and not a fad that will go away; it's taking up market share, especially with younger audiences, and it has created a strong presence," he said.

Many media executives say ratings and revenue among Hispanic mediums have reached mainstream market levels. In addition, higher ad revenue and corporate takeovers have pumped more money into the industry, resulting in higher quality and more polished programming.

The most recent U.S. Census Bureau figures show an 88 percent increase in Hispanic residents in Arizona in the past decade and a Hispanic population in Maricopa County that makes up 25 percent of the area.

Here's a sampling of what's happening among several of the Valley's major Hispanic mediums:

Spanish-language TV

Univision moved its operations to the new space in early 2002, a "bigger and better" facility with all-digital TV production, according to David Glyn-Davies, local research manager for the station.

Also this year, Univision bought the USA Network, previously owned by Barry Diller, to begin the Telefutura network. The network, which airs locally on KFPH-TV 35, targets bilingual households and features movies and sports. Univision, which airs on KTVW-TV 33, features Spanish-language soap operas and news programming.

KTVW just scored third in the February Nielsen Phoenix ratings among adults 18 to 34 in all-day viewing, or time slots from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., Glyn-Davies said.

"We had to hire a staff for Telefutura this year too," he said.

The company's Valley and national rival is Florida-based Telemundo, which airs locally on KDRX-TV 48. The 24-hour Spanish-language network recently was purchased by NBC, which controls its programming and stations. General Manager Victor Carranza said the company employs about 35 staffers locally and airs a variety of programming from talk shows and news to soap operas and sports.

"I think we're in the middle of a media explosion," he said. "There are more Hispanics tuning into Spanish-language broadcasting than ever before."

Carranza said the company is in the process of broadening its coverage and improving market penetration by increasing power to its broadcast signal. Carranza also plans to "ramp up the news team" by adding more people and equipment this year.

Another Hispanic TV player in the Valley, Mas! Arizona, a cable news channel and joint venture between Cox Communications Inc. and KTVK-TV 3, recently completed its first year in the Valley. Cox also launched TeleLatina programming in late 2000, a package offering basic cable and 14 Spanish-language stations.

"We are increasing our presence in that market, we market more to the Hispanic audience," said Tony Maldanado, vice president of marketing for Cox. "That segment has dollars to spend."

On the radio

Clear Channel's Hanson said the Valley now has 14 Hispanic stations, up from four a few years ago.

Most recently, Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., or HBC, of Dallas purchased Big City Radio's Phoenix stations, KEDJ-FM 106.3 and KDDJ-FM 100.3 and converted the formats to Hispanic listening. The shake-up made headlines when national shock-jock celebrity Howard Stern was displaced from 106.3; he currently airs on KZON-FM 101.5 weekday mornings.

Hispanic Broadcasting owns three other Valley stations, including the highly-rated KHOT-FM 105.9.

Entravision's Duran said the company -- which owns three local Hispanic stations -- has been able to provide better programming and spend more money reeling in quality talent. He cites morning personality Piolin on KLNZ as helping to boost the station to its top-rated Valley position.

"More national advertisers have paid attention to the Hispanic's spending power," he said. "And ratings are attached to better programming. HBC has also raised the bar. Our stations have jumped in rankings."

Duran said Entevision's revenue for the first quarter of 2002 was $1.23 million, "a jump into general market ratings and revenue," he said.

Print media

Leta Miranda Garcia is chief executive at Prensa Hispana, a free weekly Spanish-language newspaper that recently changed its format from tabloid to broadsheet. Garcia said the new format allows the publication, which is available throughout Arizona, to include six sections, from local, city, national and international news with a focus on Latin America, to sports, food, business and more.

"There are definitely more high-quality news outlets for Hispanics in their own language," she said.

Also this year, La Voz, a Hispanic newspaper that reaches 50,000 readers weekly, merged with Ashland Media of Phoenix. Ricardo Torres and David Kaye serve as co-publishers of the newspaper along with Ashland's other publications, including TV y Mas and TV Shopper.

"Advertisers want to reach Hispanics in their own language," said Hispana Prensa's Garcia. "That's why there is Hispanic media."


Anne Robertson, bizjournals.com. April 19, 2002

Copyright © 2002 The Business Journal. All rights reserved.