Show Me The Money: Radio’s Reach Vs. Revenue


If the Hispanic population is growing as fast as US Census data indicates, why aren’t Hispanic radio stations getting more revenue they deserve? This question was at the core of a Thursday roundtable during the Hispanic Radio Conference that brought together agencies, radio managers, and statisticians. Moderated by Isabella Sánchez, Vice President of Media Integration at Zubi Advertising, the panel provided valuable insights on ad spending, audience reach, the role of influencers, and the need for creativity in the industry.

Patrick Quinn, President and CEO of PQ Media, opened with positive prognostication about ad spending in the Hispanic radio sector. Estimates indicate that Hispanic radio ad spending will reach $620 million in 2023, outpacing pre-COVID levels. In 2022, Hispanic radio experienced a growth rate of 8.8%, surpassing the 8.6% growth rate of the overall US market. The Hispanic population accounts for 19% of the US population but receives only 3.5% of total US ad spend. However, segments like experiential marketing are contributing to the growth of Hispanic radio.

The panel highlighted the continued relevance of radio as a reach medium across age groups. Steve Mandala, Chief Revenue and Local Media Officer at Estrella Media, stated that while the numbers remain consistent, there is still a significant opportunity for the industry. Mandala emphasized the need to reposition radio as an audio business, rather than just a traditional radio medium. Rick Ramos, Executive Vice President at Katz Multicultural Partnerships, stressed the value of original influencers within the radio industry and the importance of captivating playlists and talent.

The discussion also addressed the disparity in ad spending within the Hispanic radio market. The panelists attributed this disparity to the total market approach adopted by big brands, which tends to favor the largest companies rather than specifically targeting Hispanic stations. Marketers were encouraged to focus on showcasing the positive results achieved by campaigns that center around influencers.

Gloria Constanza, Partner and Chief Contact Strategist at d exposito & Partners, emphasized the need for creativity and innovation in the radio industry. She encouraged presenting unique ideas to clients, moving away from selling terrestrial radio as a standalone product, and considering podcasts and streaming as part of a collective offering.

The panelists discussed the importance of the agency and selling side building a close partnership, as well as the challenges posed by rating systems like Nielsen. They also highlighted the potential growth in ad categories for Spanish-language radio, including education, health/pharmaceuticals, financials, and travel/tourism.

The panel concluded on an optimistic note, acknowledging the hard work of radio sellers and expressing confidence in the industry’s future. With the economy improving and a better understanding of the value of the Hispanic voter, there are promising opportunities for Hispanic radio.

As the industry moves forward, the panelists suggested looking at the biggest spending categories locally, such as the automotive sector, and creating a sense of urgency during political seasons to avoid advertisers cutting back due to fear of being bumped. They also stressed the unique human connection that terrestrial radio provides in an increasingly robotic world.


  1. The best solution for this is Federal legislation. Congress needs to pass a Federal law with 2 components – first, AM Radio is protected and mandated for all new cars. Second, advertisers spending 10k or more on radio within a year MUST spend a minimum of 20% of their advertising budget pie, on Hispanic radio. This will help foster growth of these minority stations.

      • Wrong. In this case, Federal oversight and regulation is we think the best solution. Advertisers cannot be counted on to self-govern themselves. And the playing field should be equal and level.
        As for AM Radio, it is essential to the public interest.


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