As reported by Sara Fischer for Axios, Latino Media Network – the Hispanic media company partially funded by philanthropist and activist George Soros – names Sylvia Banderas Coffinet chief operating officer. Banderas Coffinet most recently served as general manager at Vox Media. Latino Media Network’s acquisition of the conservative Radio Mambí network of Spanish-language news/talk stations from TelevisaUnivision aggravated some conservatives who petitioned the FCC to deny the license transfers. The petition was rejected. The Radio Mambí format goes back to Amancio Víctor Suárez’s launch of programming created by anti-communist Cuban exiles in the mid-1980s. The group of 18 radio stations will gradually be turned over to Latino Media Network throughout this year. Company co-founder Jess Morales Rocketto is quoted saying, “We’re not the first business owners with our own political leanings,” while adding that they are focused on commercial success and not “imposing a political agenda.” Read the Axios piece here.
A piece in the Christian Science Monitor by Simon Montlake takes a deep dive into the battle for Hispanic listeners – and voters – on the nation’s radio waves. The recent sale of Univision’s “Radio Mambi” (WAQI-AM, Miami) to George Soros-backed Latino Media Network and that company’s acquisition of other AM signals in Florida, New York, Illinois, Arizona, California, Texas, and Nevada created a stir and cries of “left-wing censorship” from conservatives. The rhetoric surrounding these deals is part and parcel of the politicized nature of media in the modern world. In the piece, Montlake observes, “The $60 million takeover – and the reactions it has sparked – is another flashpoint in the national battle to win over Latino voters, a fast-growing demographic that has long leaned Democratic but has lately grown more receptive to Republicans. So far, most Spanish-language radio in the U.S. has been focused on music and entertainment, not news or commentary. Which in the eyes of many makes it an untapped and lucrative means of political persuasion.” Read the Monitor story here.