Tuesday, July 26, 2011

As Hispanic population booms, Latino media in U.S. grows with it

July 25, 2011 | By Elizabeth Stuart

SALT LAKE CITY — In a saucy pencil skirt, permed hair ratted up high, Geovanna Martinez does a little jig down the length of the soundproof recording studio Salt Lake City's newest Spanish-language radio station calls home and grabs the microphone. She pumps her hips from side to side as the traditional Mexican music fades out and, with animated expression, exclaims, "La Favorita 104.7 FM: La que se escucha ahorita!"

"I dance because my mood is happy," said Martinez, 46, a Spanish language radio DJ of 15 years, pursing painted pink lips and tapping blue-glitter nails against the counter. "I love what I do."

La Favorita started out on a low-strength AM frequency in 2006, a small-time dream of a local Hispanic businessman with little reach beyond its Bountiful base. The radio station stepped onto the scene at just the right time, though: Utah's Hispanic population grew by 78 percent over the last decade, according to the U.S. Census, and La Favorita's listenership swelled right along with it. July 7 the company moved to Salt Lake City, switched to an FM frequency and started broadcasting from Payson to Bountiful.

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