Nevada The Proliferation of Spanish-Language Media

Spanish-language television, radio, and publications are the primary media for Las Vegas Latinos. Eighty-eight percent of the Latinos living in the Las Vegas area watch and read Spanish-language materials on a daily basis. Most Latino households in Las Vegas are predominantly Spanish speaking; in fact, 62 percent of

Latinos there speak only Spanish at home; and 12 percent of Latino household members are fully bilingual, speaking equal amounts of Spanish and English at home, which reveals some degree of acculturation.

Local Spanish-language media also help build a sense of community. Because local mainstream newspapers do not usually cover events in the Latino community in great enough depth, if they cover them at all, the growing Latino community’s need for news encourages the development of Latino newspapers. Las Vegas, Nevada’s largest city, is served by four weekly Spanish-language newspapers, the oldest being El Mundo, founded by Eddie Escobedo in 1980. El Mundo’s circulation has gone from 5,000 in 1980 to 30,000 today. The other newspapers are El Heraldo, Latin American Press Spanish News, and El Tiempo Libre. Ahora is a weekly newspaper published in Reno.

Spanish-language radio and television generally appear in Latino communities after newspapers do. Initially, only a few hours of Spanish-language radio is aired on stations owned by non-Latinos. As the Latino population grows, a few existing radio stations convert to an all-Spanish-language format, or new ones emerge to serve the Latino market. In both northern and southern Nevada there has been a proliferation of Spanish-language radio stations.

notes

1. The ethnic label Chicano was chosen by the Mexican-descent youth of the 1960s. Such choice represented their identification with their Indian rather than their Spanish background. It also identified them as more politically aware and active than someone who identified with the more conservative label of Mexican American.

2. Frey and O’Hare, 1993, 33. The demographers have focused their studies on the most rapidly growing areas of the state. Suburbs of Las Vegas such as Henderson and North Las Vegas are among the fastest-growing areas of the state. Latinos are moving to these suburbs in droves, which is indicative of their ascension to the middle class.

3. The great majority of the Latino population in Nevada is of Mexican descent (449,767 out of 563,999). The next three largest groups in the state are Salvadorans (17,325), Cubans (14,759), and Puerto Ricans (14,093). Hubble Smith, 2003, 1D and 5D; U.S. Census Bureau 2005.

4. By far the largest concentration of Latinos is found in southern Nevada, where the city of Las Vegas is located. Smaller numbers of Latinos live in other parts of the state.

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