Tiempo No Mas
Soon, KVUE TV.2, the ABC affiliate’s digital side channel, will begin broadcasting Spanish programming instead of weather. “It is called Estrella and has been successfully providing programming to viewers all over the country on owned and operated stations in the Liberman Broadcasting group, for years. Beginning September 7, 2009, the programming is transforming into a network, which we will be carrying [it] on our second digital channel,” says Patti Smith, KVUE president and general manager. KVUE and other Belo owned TV stations aligned itself with Estrella (“Star” in Spanish) last spring.
Estrella says it will have the potential to reach an estimated 60-percent of the Spanish speaking audience in the nation 24/7. "The addition of Estrella TV immediately enhances the programming we provide to our important Hispanic viewers," said Belo Executive V.P. of Television Operations Peter L. Diaz. "Estrella TV complements these stations perfectly and provides even greater choices for our Hispanic viewers in these communities." [“Broadcasting and Cable”, 5-19-09]
“It is our desire to meet the entertainment and information needs of the Spanish-speaking audience in Central Texas with programming that has proven its commitment to the Hispanic community in Dallas and Houston over these past years,” Smith says. When Estrella TV Austin launches, it will have no locally- originated programming, such as news, Smith says. “As time goes on, it is definitely in our plans to do so,” Smith says.
Viewers looking for weather on KVUE TV.2 have been seeing a notice saying that Estrella TV Austin is coming soon. KVUE.2 has been broadcasting a loop of weather graphics with audio from the National Weather Service NOAA radio station in New Braunfels since going on the air. Many Austinites have come to rely on the commercial-free weather broadcast.
“We’ve always known how important weather is to our viewers and consequently, we’ve programmed that station with weather information for the past 4 years,” said Patti Smith, KVUE TV general manager. “I realize that, for some of our viewers, these changes and the loss of weather radar on KVUE.2 will be significant. With that said, KVUE remains committed to providing that information to our viewers and will do so in a variety of ways made available to us through technological advances.”
Smith says the same, if not better weather information will be available to viewers because advanced technology through www.kvue.com. “Ultimately, it is our hope that our viewers will recognize that with these changes, our goal to serve a variety of constituents with a variety of needs is paramount and that each of these needs can be addressed with unique information found on KVUE, KVUE.2, Kvue.com and KVUE mobile,” Smith said.
Certainly, a driving force behind this change is the growing Spanish-speaking audience in Central Texas. KVUE.2 is non-commercial and therefore non-revenue-producing when it shows uninterrupted difference. Weather is a driver. If KVUE and Belo could have found a way to monetize the weather on KVUE.2, it might have survived, but the surging growth of the Spanish-language TV audience in Central Texas cannot and should not be ignored. The Spanish broadcast of Univision on UHF Channel 62 is proving that truth in the ratings.
© Jim McNabb, 2009