Anyone who has ever channel-surfed on cable has at one time or another encountered the soap operas, game shows, sporting events or news programs on Univision, the Spanish language television network. Univision reaches 95 percent of U.S. Latino households and is the fifth largest network overall, with an audience share of 80 percent in some time periods.
Scott Blumenthal is regional vice president for the LIN Television Corporation and owner of WISH Channel 8.
Confirming that Latinos are making a major impact as this area"s fastest-growing market segment, WIIH-Univision For Indiana will begin broadcasting on Monday, Feb. 3. Acknowledging community needs as well as anticipating the buying power of this burgeoning consumer group, Scott Blumenthal, regional vice president for the LIN Television Corporation and owner of WISH Channel 8, made the announcement before 60-some enthusiastic Latino community leaders. The broadcast schedule for the new outlet, airing 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Channel 17 (negotiations with cable outlets Time Warner, Comcast and Insight to add the station are ongoing), will include some of the network"s most popular programs, such as Privilegio de Amar (The Privilege of Love) and Sabado Gigante (Giant Sunday), as well as additional syndicated programming and local educational, community affairs and news programming. A half-hour local news broadcast, WIIH-Noticias a las 11 (News at 11), serving Spanish-speaking viewers, will debut one month later on Monday, March 3. Marco Dominguez, well-known local Latino personality and host of WBTU"s popular Nuestra Musica (showcasing Latino music videos and local community affairs) will share anchor duties with a partner to be announced soon. WIIH and WISH-TV, a perennial leader in the local news ratings, will share many production and news resources in a million-dollar, state-of-the-art, digital newsroom. The WIIH offices and studio will be located in the recently constructed LIN Television Hub, also home to WISH-TV, at 1950 N. Meridian St. LIN operates 24 television stations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The station will be low power, reaching approximately a 25-mile radius around Indy. Pat Rios, formerly the chair of the Indiana Hispanic/Latino Commission and one of the attendees at the announcement, notes, "This is another effort to bridge the community and connect us. It"s also a positive step towards recognizing or embracing the diversity that is now Indianapolis and a pivotal moment in the evolution of the Latino community." And what does this mean for Indy"s average non-Spanish-speaking citizen? Dan Henkel, a counselor for Shank Public Relations, says, "Hoosiers who love what they"ve tasted of Hispanic culture will get a better sense of what our neighbors bring from more than 30 countries. It goes way beyond the food and music that have made Indy a more exciting place to live. On Univision, we"re going to see Hispanics as executives, newsmakers, intellectuals and artists. In addition, WIIH will give us Anglos a chance to learn and improve our Spanish-language skills. Many of us, and now our children, learned English from Sesame Street. Now, the telenovelas and noticias can help us learn Spanish."