US media titan Clear Channel Communications cries ¡Viva Espanga! as it prepares to convert no less than twenty of its radio stations to Spanish over the next year and a half.

Adding to its existing eighteen Spanish stations, the move will give Clear Channel a key position in the Spanish market, rivaling Los Angeles broadcaster Univision Communications with its 68 Spanish-language stations.

In comparison with English-language radio, Spanish broadcasting is booming, with revenues predicted to climb by 10% this year.

Clear Channel's nationwide radio coverage of 1,200 stations is well-placed to broadcast to the growing number of Hispanics, who now make up 15% of the US population.

The new Spanish radio svp at the company, Alfredo Alonso, is keen to target the largely untapped market, which is increasing in profitability as Hispanic disposable income has risen at a faster rate (8.4% in the twelve years to 2002) than the country as a whole (5.1%).

However, the overall lower-than-average income of Hispanics means that Spanish-language radio stations charge 20%-30% less for ads than their English counterparts.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff