- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Hispanic Media in Central California Fight to Survive

El Sol, News Report, Eduardo Stanley, Translated by Elena Shore Posted: Mar 17, 2009

Traduccin al espaol

Editor's Note: The economic crisis is taking a toll on Hispanic media in the Central Valley, where Spanish-language publications and even radio stations are struggling to survive. Eduardo Stanley is the editor of the Spanish-language newspaper El Sol in Visalia, Calif.

VISALIA, Calif. -- The word "crisis" is the same in English and Spanish. And media in both languages are experiencing it equally. In general terms, the problem is that income from advertising has been reduced dramatically. English-language publications also face another problem: the decline in the number of readers, who now prefer other ways of getting their news, such as the Internet. This problem has not seriously affected Spanish-language publications -- at least not yet.
LotusThe offices of Lotus Corporation, which owns four stations in Fresno
In San Joaquin Valley, the southern part of Californias Central Valley, which comprises eight counties (Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare), the effects of the crisis on Spanish-language media are evident.

In late 2007, the Spanish-language weekly Las Noticias del Valle shut down operations. The newspaper has been published in the city of Hanford, in Kings County, by the English-language newspaper Hanford Sentinel.

In late 2008, El Mexicalo, of Bakersfield (in Kern County), also stopped publishing after almost 30 years. This was the oldest independent bilingual publication in the San Joaquin Valley.

The outlook for radio is not much better. Two Spanish-language radio stations based in Fresno have disappeared in the last few months, becoming English-language stations: Sper Q and Beso.

The case of these radio stations is of particular interest because radio is hugely popular in a rural area like the San Joaquin Valley. They say that every farm worker works with a radio by his side. Early in the morning, hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers travel to the fields where they work while listening to the radio.

Nearly 4 million people live in this area; approximately half of them are of Hispanic origin. Six of the eight counties have the highest percentage of people living in poverty in California.

Education levels here are also low, another reason that explains the preference for radio rather than print media. All of the publications that still exist, without exception, are taking stringent measures to survive the current situation.

The crisis has affected us all and we had to implement measures to cope, said Miguel Baez, editor of Noticiero Semanal, based in Porterville (Tulare County). In almost two years our circulation has gone from 26,000 to 8,000 copies. Baez says his publication also cut a position, reduced its format and limited its distribution areas.

The largest Latino weekly in the area, Vida en el Valle, in Fresno, has also had to make adjustments. We went from being totally bilingual to being 80 percent English, said editor John Esparza. In this way, we saved considerably in translation and paper costs. The weekly, which publishes five sections and also covers the Sacramento Valley, decided to reduce its spending on travel. Even so, late last year they hired a reporter, an unusual move in the current economic climate.

Vida en el Valle has been published for 19 years by the Fresno Bee, owned by the McClatchy Corporation, which is facing its own serious economic problems.

The growth in the Latino population in recent years catapulted the emergence of Spanish-language radio stations here.

Three years ago, about 20 Spanish-language radio stations could be heard in the Fresno area alone. But not anymore.

"We had to deal with the situation because some of the stations were not 'rating,' said Kevin Ororke, general manager of Lotus Corporation, which owns four stations in Fresno. Before the economic crisis, all four were in Spanish.

The companys restructuring led it to close of Sper Q several months ago and move La Buena to 101.9 FM.

And almost a month ago, Radio Beso (107.1 FM) became an English-language station playing 1960s rock. According to Ororke advertising revenue had fallen significantly for both stations. The corporation will keep the oldest Spanish-language station in the valley and perhaps the state KGST La Mexicana 1600 AM, which has been broadcasting in Spanish for more than 60 years.

The English-language market generates much more revenue and this allows us to keep operating, said Ororke. We have an interest and commitment to keep stations in Spanish.

Lotus, a company based in Los Angeles, has stations in Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Tucson, Reno and Los Angeles itself.
 With the recent changes, Ororke says Fresnos Latino radio market will be dominated by two stations: Univisions 92.1 and La Buena, which will compete for the audience. Other local stations are having serious economic problems.

The vast majority of Spanish-language publications in the valley are owned by English newspapers. This is the case for El Sol, of Visalia in Tulare County, which is published by Visalia Times Delta, part of the Gannett Corporation, which also publishes a newspaper of the same name in Salinas. El Sol has also had to make some changes.

For example, it maintains a strict relationship between between advertising revenue and the number of pages it publishes (less advertising means fewer pages) and the paper has frozen extra costs and suspended its plans to expand.

We cant foresee the future, says Miguel Bez of Noticiero Semanal. At these times the goal is to survive. Noticiero Semanal is owned by the company Freedom, which owns six other Spanish-language newspapers in the country.

When we started, there wasnt much media in Spanish, added John Esparza. I think companies took advantage of the growth of the Latino population, but with this crisis, only the best prepared will survive.

Related Articles:

Is Spanish-Language Radio Immune from Economic Crisis?

Ethnic Print Media Vulnerable During Bad Economy

People Meters Threaten Ethnic Radio

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage