The United States is known as a nation of immigrants, and the country's Hispanic population is one of the fastest-growing groups. That can be seen clearly in Canyon County, where, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 23 percent of the population is made up of Hispanics, compared to 7.1 percent in Ada County.
Canyon County boasts churches, community centers, radio stations and a few magazines that offer service in Spanish. Among a handful of well-known Spanish radio stations in the Nampa-Caldwell area, La Gran D, KDBI 101.9 FM, is the most popular, owned by Adelante Media Group, along with Latino KQTA 106.3 FM.
"It's a station that people have been in love with for years now," said Gustavo Acosta, on-air talent for La Gran D. "It's a beautiful thing getting to coexist and meet so many people, whether in person or through phone calls."
Brought together by the longing to hear a ranchera or merengue song that reminds listeners of their home country, family and culture, La Gran D is accompanied by Salt and Light KCID, among others.
Salt and Light Radio 1490 AM is a Catholic, listener-supported station. Put together by Ernesto Solis and Patricia Canto with the help of Bill Teske, this nonprofit station is an attempt to "build stronger individuals, families and a stronger community," as Canto describes it.
"It's all part of an effort to reach out to other [Hispanics] who need some guidance or who are looking to hear a beautiful message in a familiar language," Canto said.
The station is the Spanish version of KGEM 1140 AM, and Teske, vice president of KGEM, acknowledges the importance of Spanish-language media in Canyon County, since it has the power to bring people together and provide an outlet for Hispanics.
Other types of media, including print and television, are also blossoming: Telemundo, owned locally by Cocola Broadcasting, Buena Vista, a local print and online Hispanic directory, and Mirada Magazine.
"Mirada Magazine has been around for a little while now," said Magdalena Juarez. "It's great having these outlets for our families and to teach our children why and how they should value our culture."
It's both exciting and terrifying to move to a different country, but that feeling dims just by hearing a familiar song or phrase, reminding Hispanics that no matter how far they are from their families, they're not alone.