Spanish-language Radio’s Potential Growth Via Smart Speakers


MIAMI — When asked if they owned a smart speaker, nearly all of the Hispanic Radio Conference attendees raised their hands. But, what are Spanish-language radio station owners doing to promote their stations on this device heralded as bringing AM and FM back into the home?

That was the topic of the final conference session, which saw Triton Digital Director of Market Development Oscar Sermeno as moderator.

Understanding the opportunities smart speakers bring is key for Jose Antonio Ortega, CEO of Prisa Brand Solutions in the U.S. and EVP of Prisa Noticias LatAm.

For Ortega, how OTT has reshaped TV viewing will reshape radio. But, asked if Prisa is ready, he responded, “Ready for what? I think right now we are in a very early stage.”
With Sermeno not having a radio in the household, getting station skills in Spanish on an Alexa-powered device is still few and far between. Thus, Hispanic radio needs to propel this today.

For Jason Bailey, Sun Broadcast Group President and founder, “The opportunities in front of us are great – the best opportunity for radio in 20 years. We have radio back in the home.”

Again, ensuring it is a radio station that is accessed on the smart speaker is the top task. But, just how is a key question.

“Do we have to just repurpose our station to that smart speaker, or do we provide content that is exclusive to that smart speaker?” Bailey asked, adding that he’s “so excited” about smart speakers.

For Humberto Cruz, Head of Digital at Havas Media International, “radio” is “audio” – and from the agency space, for the last couple of years, integrated audio is how “radio” is viewed.

Cruz adds that spots integrated with content – and integrated with metadata – will ultimately define how the radio spot of today and tomorrow will be rolled out.

Then, there are voice-enabled ads – and if they work or not. This was the theme of the first comments offered by SVP/Business Development & Partnerships Charles Andrew Whatley.

Simply put, Whatley is speaking of an audio ad that has been technically enabled to voice command from the listener, and then being able to deliver data based on that advertiser.

For Hispanic consumers, that’s an added value. For advertisers, it’s the personalization they’ve craved.

Bailey loves the data-gathering aspect of the smart speaker, while the video part of the equation through expanded digital platforms is an area the radio industry has yet to jump on, for the most part.

Meanwhile, Whatley’s biggest piece of advice for Hispanic radio is that the first adopters of smartphones were Hispanics. Given their past position as tech-savvy consumers, this will weigh heavily on how new tech that benefits radio will be adopted.

Where does Havas think smart speaker advertisements are heading? “We’re always thinking about that,” Cruz said, with a group looking at different integrations. A priority today is now audio, he notes.