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Spanish Language Media After the Univision-Hispanic Broadcasting Merger: Brief Overview

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Abstract:

U.S. broadcast policy, as mandated by Congress, is premised on the broad public policy objectives of competition, localism, and diversity of voices. Two identical bills (H.R. 3027 and S. 1563) would prohibit the FCC from approving any assignment or transfer of a broadcast television or radio license used to serve a language minority without a hearing regarding the effects on competition and diversity in the programming and distribution markets for the specific minority language at issue.

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has approved the merger of Univision Communications, Inc., the dominant Spanish language media company in the U.S., and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, the largest Spanish language radio operator in the U.S. The new entity has upwards of 80% of the audience and 70% of the advertising revenue of Spanish language media in the U.S. The 31.6 million U.S. Hispanic population is not linguistically homogeneous; 6.8 million speak English only, but 7.4 million speak English "not at all" or "not well." Most bilingual Hispanic adults primarily watch news programming in Spanish. This report is a condensed version of RL32116, which provides detailed tables of demographic, viewing, and market information for the Spanish speaking population as well as detailed analysis of public policy issues. This report will be updated as events warrant.