Hispanic Radio: Group Heads Still Tackle Stereotypes When Seeking Buys

CORAL GABLES, FL– Univision Radio president Jose Valle sought the business of a bedding retailer for his stations after noting that the category had a zero share of Spanish-language AMs and FMs in one of its markets.

The response from the retailer? Nope. The reason? “They told me how Hispanics drink beer and sleep on a couch.”

Smashing such stereotypes continues to vex Hispanic radio operators, and educating clients on who Hispanic radio listeners truly are was voiced in unison by group heads participating in a “Super Session” at the Radio Ink Hispanic Radio Conference, held May 16-17 by the industry trade publication in suburban Miami.

Adelante Media Group CEO Jay Meyers noted that language shouldn’t be an obstacle but instead an opportunity. “The No. 1 objection to Hispanic radio is from automotive dealers. Why? They say they don’t have a Spanish-speaking customer service person. My response? I ask them if they have an online sales manager, and they say yes, because they’d be out of business if they didn’t have one. I then ask if they had one in 2007. Most say no, and I tell them that if they want to continue to see business growth then they’ll need to have one.”

Accurate and consistent measurement of Hispanic radio’s exposure to Latinos remains a thorny issue for industry executives, but each of the panelists had high hopes for Nielsen’s pending takeover of Arbitron, the dominant radio ratings firm in the U.S. Chris McMurray, president of Davidson Media Group, believes Nielsen will bring its existing resources to Arbitron, and that the result will be very beneficial for Spanish-language radio.

Jeff Liberman, COO of Entravision, would love to see a combined sample for radio and television consumption in a rated market. However, he notes that Nielsen has sample-size flaws and needs to shift from house-based to person-based measurement. “This could be great, or could be disaster,” he said of Nielsen’s pending takeover of Arbitron.

Univision’s Valle was more pragmatic when discussing Nielsen’s purchase of the radio ratings company, which enjoys a near monopoly on measurement. “[Arbitron] is the bible for measurement in our industry. But, it is difficult to give high-fives for our ratings accomplishments in one market and have difficulties with their measurement in another market. I just want a fair fight. Let the content, programming and marketing win the fight.”

Valle adds that Nielsen will widen its cost-per-point (CPPs) and yield single-sourced measurement in a market, which he believes will be a good thing for Hispanic radio. Liberman agrees: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a reach-and-frequency curve that includes both media?”

Adam R Jacobson


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