Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Demand rises for Spanish media

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - As Kentucky's Hispanic population grows, so does the demand for Spanish-language radio, TV and newspapers. And media companies are trying to figure out how to harness it.

Radio giant Clear Channel airs La Explosiva, a five-hour, Spanish-language program of music, news and public-service announcements on AM-radio stations in Frankfort and Shelbyville.

"There's such a large demand from the Hispanic population to help break through the language and culture barrier," said Teresa Johnson, Clear Channel's operations manager in Frankfort.

But demand and advertising dollars aren't yet as high as many print and broadcast companies would like.

Major Spanish-language networks such as Telemundo and Univision haven't approached local Hispanic media to set up area affiliates, local executives said.

Local Hispanic media often lack resources and expertise to lure potential advertisers.

For instance, WYCS-TV donates airtime for its half-hour Amigos en Louisville show. Producer Claudia Peralta-Mudd says the show has yet to draw a demographic profile for advertisers.

Ben Ruiz, who runs Adhawks Advertising & Public Relations Inc. in Louisville, said marketing to Hispanic audiences makes up about 15 percent of his business. Companies such as Humana and Fifth Third Bank have taken out ads in Spanish.

Still, Spanish-language media continue to grow in Kentucky.

One of the most successful publications in Spanish is Hoy en las Americas, published by The Sentinel-News in Shelbyville. Hoy has grown into a 44-page biweekly with 11,000 copies distributed.

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