What to do?

Garrett Wollman wollman@khavrinen.lcs.mit.edu
Wed Jan 12 23:27:37 EST 2005

<<On Wed, 12 Jan 2005 19:18:52 -0800 (PST), Roy Lawrence <lawrencemedia@yahoo.com> said:

> There is no doubt someone will make a fortune with
> Spanish programming. Guess we wait and see who is
> going to fold first.

WARNING: infodump ahead... 

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for someone (other than the brokered
operators currently in the business) to "make a fortune with Spanish
programming", in Massachusetts, despite the sizable Spanish-speaking
community.  Here are the top ten languages for the
Boston-Worcester-Lawrence CMSA, which includes the entire area of the
Boston-Worcester radio market, as tabulated by the 2000 Census (in the
category "language spoken at home"):

English		4,450,031 (81.7%)
Spanish		  312,861 ( 5.7%) (about half the national average)
Portuguese	  120,090 ( 2.2%)
French		   93,367 ( 1.7%)
Chinese		   70,537 ( 1.3%)
Italian		   55,202 ( 1.0%)
French creole	   43,373 ( 0.8%)
Vietnamese	   29,264 ( 0.5%)
Greek		   29,216 ( 0.5%)
Russian		   27,636 ( 0.5%)

Looked at another way: only about a third of non-English-speakers are
Spanish speakers.  Given the existence of several stations already in
the market which program mostly or entirely in Spanish, it's hard to
imagine any format which would be sufficiently lucrative based simply
on the Spanish-speaking audience to justify an FM.  This is not to say
that an FM format could not be built around a Spanish-speaking
audience -- but it would also need to appeal to the other 94.3% of the
population to have much hope of success.

By comparison, the Washington-Baltimore CMSA has 469,343
Spanish-speakers (about 6.6%) and no other language has more than
70,000 native speakers.  Other comparisons: Hartford is 8.5%
Spanish-speaking, with the next few being Polish (2.1%), French
(1.8%), and Italian (1.5%).  Philadelphia-Wilmington-South Jersey is
more English (the largest ethnic group there is African-American); the
numbers are Spanish 5.2%, Italian 0.9%, Chinese 0.7%.  Providence is
7.3% Spanish and 6.0% Portuguese; surprisingly, French (2.1%) outpulls
Italian (1.1%) there.  Springfield is close to the national average at
10.8% Spanish-speakin, with runners-up being Polish (1.7%), French
(1.7%), and Portuguese (1.1%).

Smaller New England cities tend to be more monolingual; Pittsfield,
Portland, and Burlington are all over 90% English-speaking, with the
largest minority language in Pittsfield being Spanish (1.5%) and in
the other two French (2.2% and 3.1%).


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