Washington An automobile technician by day, Miguel Ramirez often returns home in a mostly white Dallas suburb to a world of romantic telenovelas, futbol or the latest U.S. news on Spanish-language TV.
“When there is a Mexican soap opera that is really juicy, my wife and her mother are so focused on watching you can’t talk to them,” Ramirez, 52, of Frisco, Texas, said with a chuckle. “It’s a chance for my young daughters to watch and learn since they don’t get to speak Spanish in school.”
An Associated Press-Univision poll finds many U.S. Hispanics who, like the Ramirez family, mainly speak English are turning to Spanish-language TV and radio. The main appeal: sports and entertainment, a cultural connection and a nagging feeling among some Latinos that English-language media portray them negatively.
The enduring interest in Spanish media has helped fuel a surge of Spanish marketing in a bid to reach the fast-growing U.S. Latino demographic of 48 million people — from Spanish music and college recruiting to a bit of politics — even as many cities and states consider English-only policies amid a contentious immigration debate.
“In the political world, there is this angst,” said Jose Cancela, author of “The Power of Business en Español” and a 30-year veteran of Spanish-language radio and television. “But the business and multinational world understand: To be engaged with the consumer you want to use every opportunity to create a touch point.”
The nationwide poll, also sponsored by The Nielsen Company and Stanford University, found U.S. Latinos spent at least some time each day — in many cases, several hours — consuming Spanish-language media. They included almost 90 percent of Hispanics who mostly speak Spanish who watched TV and roughly 75 percent who listened to Spanish radio.