Acorn of an empire

Known as la voz de Ámerica Latina desde México (the voice of Latin America from Mexico), XEW was the first important radio station in the Spanish-speaking Americas, as well as the first to succeed as a significant commercial enterprise. In 1930, from this unprepossessing building in the centro histórico, broadcasting began and the station's success was meteoric. All of Mexico's greatest stars could be heard on XEW, from balladeer Agustín Lara to the romantic trio Los Panchos to ranchera singers Jorge Negrete and Lola Beltrán.

The station's owner, Emilio Azcárraga Vidauretta, was the first of three generations of media barons. His son, Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, known as El Tigre (the tiger), brought Mexico into the television age, and for many years his often-reviled network Televisa was the only game in town. (Now, "competition" has brought it only one equally puerile challenger, TV Azteca.) Today, el Tigre's son, Emilio Azcárraga Jean, presides over a media conglomerate that includes radio, TV, publishing, movie production, football teams and an airline. In the same building where they began, Televisa still produces the odd variety show.