Why Radio Can’t Afford To Ignore The Multicultural Majority


This week, the Hispanic Marketing Council unveiled It’s Time: The Growing Power of the Multicultural Majority. This research reveals that non-Hispanic whites (NHW) between the ages of 13 and 49 are now more influenced by Hispanic, Black, and Asian cultures than ever before. This pivotal shift has important implications for radio, audio, and audio advertising industries as they navigate an increasingly multicultural audience.

HMC Research Chair Nancy Tellet opened with the idea that, “While culture wars may rage on in the media, we see Gen Z and Millennials normalizing and celebrating cultural diversity and exploration in the content they consume, the music they listen to, and the brands they choose. There is no longer a world where ‘whiteness’ is the default identity surrounded by multicultural satellites— for 13-to-49-year-olds, the walls between the worlds have melted, and that’s a wake-up call for many brands.” Tellet says this is evident not only in their lifestyle choices but also in their consumption of audio content, including radio shows, podcasts, and music.

As the traditional notion of a white American “general market” fades, there’s a growing need to understand how multicultural influences are reshaping the landscape of audio and radio content. For instance, the study noted a 30% increase from 2020 to 2023 in NHWs citing “hate & racism” as a top-three issue. Moreover, there has been a 26% jump in NHWs who have a positive view of the multicultural majority. These shifts suggest that the media audience is becoming more receptive to diverse perspectives, thereby creating a more inclusive environment for multicultural advertising.

In the realm of media consumption, nearly 75% of individuals aged 13 to 49 are open to watching content featuring casts from different cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, six out of 10 people in this age group are willing to watch shows in languages they don’t understand, illustrating a hunger for cultural diversity that extends to audio content. About 81% expressed a desire for Spanish-language content to be made available to them through dubbing or subtitles, signaling an appetite for multilingual radio and podcasts as well.

The study also highlighted the effectiveness of in-culture spaces in reaching multicultural audiences, especially among Gen Z. It revealed that culturally diverse advertising campaigns resonate more with Gen Z and Millennials, regardless of language. These younger demographics, who are more likely to engage with audio content, pay greater attention to brands that use in-culture advertising strategies, a trend that audio advertisers can’t afford to ignore.

These findings match what was discussed at this year’s Hispanic Radio Conference in June, where industry experts discussed the underutilization of Hispanic radio stations in advertising spend, despite the fast-growing Hispanic population in the US. Hispanic radio ad spending is projected to reach $620 million in 2023, with a growth rate that surpassed the overall US market in 2022. Despite making up 19% of the US population, Hispanic radio receives only 3.5% of total ad spend.

In summary, the study is a call-to-action for broadcasters audio advertisers, which HMC believes needs to adapt swiftly to the changing demographic realities in the United States.


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