One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Hispanic media is the sheer size of its audience. There are approximately 40 million Hispanics in the US, the largest US minority, and 88% of them view Spanish language television (Porter 55). The number of Hispanic television viewers in Los Angeles is greater than the entire viewing audience in Boston (Ballve 20). In addition, nearly 80% of Hispanics listen to Spanish speaking radio and has resulted in Hispanic advertising growing at a rate of 20% in 2002 nearly 3 times the English speaking rate (Porter 55). These statistics translate into dollars as Hispanic radio and TV stations and their broadcasting networks bring in billions of dollars.
Before the media industry was worth billions of dollars while selling politics and products to millions of listeners, there were newspapers and periodicals. Kanellos points out that there are two distinctive Hispanic media in the US; the immigrant media, and the primarily native Hispanic press, which is directed at the US citizens of Hispanic descent (4). By the mid-nineteenth century, both natives and immigrants were creating Spanish speaking newspapers and periodicals (Kanellos 3). These circulations would form the genesis of the Hispanic press and the coming electronic media. Kanellos contends that in 1910, during the massive immigration of economic and political refugees from Mexico into the US, the Hispanic press began to define itself. Publishers and columnists advocated using the press for the "defense of the community" (Kanellos 4). According to Kanellos, "...defense meant protecting immigrants' civil and human rights, but just as important it also meant protecting the community from the influence of Anglo-American culture and the Protestant religion" (4). It is on this foundation that the Hispanic media has been able to build a cohesive base that centers on a common language.
Hispanic print media continued to flourish throughout the twentieth century and was joined by the introduction of the electronic outlets. According to Contexto Latino, there are over 750 Hispanic newspapers, magazines, and newsletters published in Spanish in the United States (cited in "Hispanic Media Facts"). As the print media base continued to grow, radio stations came online. In 1946 Raoul Cortez founded the first Spanish language radio station KCOR-AM in San Antonio Texas (Acosta). Nine years later Cortez started the first Hispanic television station, KCOR-TV (Acosta). By the year 2005, these numbers had swelled to 650 radio stations and 250 television stations ("Hispanic Media Facts"). This broad base of outlets covers politics, business, and editorial content that is united by the commonality of language.
The proliferation of Hispanic media sources has had a significant impact on the Latino community. Many of these outlets have stayed dedicated to the original intent of defending the ethnicity of the Hispanic community. Hispanic media has, as Ballve notes, been instrumental in promoting, "Spanish language and Latin American cultures as a central component of their identity" (24). Unlike English speaking outlets that run the gamut of all tastes and persuasions, Hispanic media has a common bond to all its listeners. This has promoted the participation of the Hispanic population in both local and national