Hispanic Influence: New Heights, Missed Opportunities


By Adam R Jacobson

JuanGabriel_07Do you know who Juan Gabriel is?

If not, you shouldn’t be reading this, because you shouldn’t be a media executive in the U.S.

For those of you who have no idea who Juan Gabriel is, here’s a quick learning lesson.

Mr. Gabriel, who died August 28 of a heart attack at his home in Santa Monica, Calif., is quite simply one of the world’s most successful recording artists ever.

His album sales have surpassed 100 million copies worldwide. He has penned approximately 1,800 songs, many of which were massive hits in not only his native Mexico but in Spain, Cuba, and Argentina.

If it wasn’t for Juan Gabriel’s “Hasta Que Te Conocí,” a freestyle dance music singer named Marc Anthony would have never launched a highly successful career as a salsero, Billboard Latin music head Leila Cobo reports.

President Barack Obama commented on the death of Juan Gabriel, telling NBC News that his music transcended “borders and generations” and that “his spirited will live on in his enduring songs, and in the hearts of the fans who love him.”

The fact that you didn’t know much about a guy who was the Elton John, Liberace and in many ways the Elvis Presley of the Spanish-speaking world isn’t the problem.

The problem is “total market” media that is now actively pulling marketing and advertising dollars away from multicultural media outlets should have been the ones to tell you just how impactful and important Juan Gabriel was to your current and/or potential audience.

With the arrival of Nielsen’s fifth report on the Latino consumer, “From the Ballot Box to the Grocery Store,” the C-Suites of radio and television companies across the U.S. now have more research that shows how Hispanic purchasing power and influence is growing.

So, where were your stations when it came to covering the death of Juan Gabriel?

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