Radio and the Diversity of Hispanics

Family. Culture. Music. Language. Diversity. All of these words describe a group with a 2017 estimated buying power of $1.7 trillion – Hispanics.  And the best way to reach this group is with radio.

To Hispanics, everything revolves around and involves family.   Shopping for anything from groceries to cars is considered a family event.  Culture is as important to Hispanics as is family, and culture is more than language.  When it comes to music, language and diversity, radio is an important factor to reach this important and growing consumer segment.

Radio reaches Hispanics age 18+ more than any other medium every week. That is a clear and simple statement – right?  If you think so, read on.   The term Hispanic is often used to describe people of Latino or Spanish descent, but within the U.S., Hispanics’ heritage can be traced back to more than 20 Spanish-speaking nations.  When trying to reach Hispanics, it is important to consider the diversity that exists within this group.  Surprising to many, there is even greater diversity within this group when it comes to language, music and media preferences.

According to Pew Research, Hispanics are the youngest ethnic group in the U.S., therefore their language and media consumption are very different.  When it comes to radio, radio’s reach is strong among Hispanics of different language preferences.

Reflecting the diversity of the Hispanic population, the top formats for music will also vary by age group and language preference.  According to Nielsen’s Q3 2016 Total Audio Today, some of the top formats based on share and age group are: Mexican Regional, Pop Contemporary Hit Radio, Spanish Adult Hits, Spanish Contemporary, Spanish Hot AC and Country.  While this may appear to be a very broad range, there are distinct radio format subsets that Hispanics will consider more relevant to them due to their heritage, cultural differences and, of course, personal preference.

Tejano, sometimes referred to as Tex-Mex, represents the musical sound of the Texas area and can include sounds ranging from mariachis and bandas (a brass-based form of traditional Mexican music), to accordions and string bands.  Tropical is a “Latin beat” music format of Cuban/Puerto Rican origins with heavy layers of percussion, blaring horns and intense dance rhythms.  Reggaetón, originating from Panama, is a combination of Jamaican Reggae and Spanish-language hip-hop.  A more current and popular format just hitting the airwaves is Cubatón, which mixes reggaetón with Cuban beats and occasional rap.

The key for any brand to reach the Hispanic market is to be relevant and understand the differences and nuances of the culture and diversity (of both heritage and language) of the population.  Radio, with its incredible reach, is the single most effective medium to connect with the Hispanic audience.


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