Radio Latino

Ratings for spring 2006 give snapshot of Spanish-language market

A follow-up to last week's CP story about the emerging Latino media market: One of the questions left unanswered at the time was whether the Twin Cities had enough Spanish-speaking listeners to support not one, not two, but three Spanish-language stations.

The Arbitron ratings for this past spring weren't out yet, but they are now.

In the story, longtime Twin Cities radio vet Lupe Gonzalez, founder of Radio Rey (630-AM), maintained that there isn't a broad enough audience to support more than one Latino station. Of course, Gonzalez had reason to assert as much--there is suddenly some serious competition to his reign as the latin radio king.

La Invasora (1400-AM) went on the air just seven months ago--and the ratings show a divided listenership.

In spring and summer 2005, Radio Rey pulled a 1.1 and 1.4 share of the more than 2.6 million listeners in the Twin Cities market. For this past spring, that number had dipped to .9, while La Invasora posted a .4 for its first-ever ratings period--coming in at 25 out of 25. (Another Latino station that broadcasts out of Burnsville doesn't register in the ratings.)

Does this mean Gonzalez is right, and there's a ceiling on the Latino market? Not so, according the Alberto Monserrate, CEO of the Latino Communications Network, which runs La Invasora.

"That audience is less than half the potential Spanish radio audience," Montserrate says in an e-mail to Blotter. "There are at the very least 100,000 potential Spanish radio listeners (I'm being very conservative). We are working very hard to double the current Spanish radio audience, which would put us smack in the middle of the ratings instead of the bottom in all Twin Cities Radio."