Hispanics listen to more radio than any other community in the country. Radio reaches 97% of the Latino population each month, and 99% of those 50 and older, according to a report by Jessica Retis, director of the University of Arizona's School of Journalism.
There is a currently a media battle to control this large market: the Spanish-language radio wars, said Peter Weber, who explains that the U.S. Latino population is diverse and has roots throughout Latin America, but notes that Cuban-Americans have a greater influence on the airwaves.”
Purchase of radio stations
In March of this year, a group of conservative investors launched Americano Media. They define it as the first conservative Spanish-language satellite radio station in the United States. Democrats warned that the new media could pollute the airwaves with pro-Trump conspiracies. "For those concerned about the misinformation problem hurting the Democrats' standing among Hispanics, this is a time of high alert," Democratic pollster Fernand Amandi said on NBC.
Around the same time, political activists and businessmen who worked for Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama began talks to buy 18 Hispanic radio stations across the country - including the popular Radio Mambí - and called the new network Latino Media Network. Many critics pointed out the fact that the purchase was financed by Lakestar Finance LLC, linked to tycoon George Soros.
The purchase was criticized by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who claimed that the Soros-funded group intends to "manipulate local media in Florida to push its Marxist agenda on voters."
Importance in elections
Currently, the Latino population is difficult to predict in any type of election forecasting. As a result, candidates are increasingly refining their strategies to persuade Hispanic voters. This is where the power of the media comes to light.
Soros' company’s funding to acquire these 18 stations could be related to the dwindling support of the Latino population for progressive politicians. BBC News reported:
Political analysts say the battle to reach Latinos through radio will be crucially important for Democrats hoping to stem their party's decline among Latino communities in Florida, South Texas or Arizona.
"Democrats don't seem to be satisfied with the control they have over the national Hispanic networks; they want more... It's clear that this is a group that is receptive to conservative messages, and so it's natural for South Florida media to adjust their programming to meet the needs of that community," said Giancarlo Sopo, a political analyst who worked for the Trump campaign in Florida.
A group of Republican lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Senator Marco Rubio, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting a "thorough" review of Latino Media Network's $60 million deal to purchase the 18 stations from Televisa Univision. The lawmakers noted that the new owner "could exert an influence over nearly one-third of all Hispanics in the country."
Some Democratic congressmen tried to do the same with America CV Network because of their interest in Radio Caracol 1260 in South Florida. "The airwaves are the people's airwaves, and the FCC has to scrutinize every sale to make sure the information is good for the public, and it could very well be possible that this is not good for the public," Congressman Darren Soto told The Miami Herald.