Dominican Today

The Spanish Broadcasting System, one of the biggest radio networks in that language in the United States, is reaching further into the growing Hispanic market with a new Latino television channel in South Florida.

Mega TV will begin broadcasting on Wednesday on Channel 22 in Miami in what will be the first foray by the radio network into the realm of visual media.

“We’re investing in the highest quality production and with a vision geared toward expansion. We believe that our success here will open doors to other markets in the United States and we expect to grow over the next five years,” SBS executive vice president Cynthia Hudson-Fernandez told the press.

“Innovative and daring” programming will be the formula with which the new channel will try to make its mark among young South Florida Hispanics, she said.

“Miami is the headquarters of Spanish Broadcasting Systems and it’s also the Latino Hollywood and so we think there’s a great opportunity for another channel directed toward Hispanics and ...

the youngest (viewers),” said Hudson-Fernandez, whose wide experience in television production includes stints at both Univision and Telemundo, with which the new channel will compete.

In South Florida, this segment of the television market - young people - is mostly Hispanic and generates more than $140 million in revenues each year, according to the firm’s calculations.

“SBS is the Hispanic firm that controls the most popular radio stations in the United States and produces thousands of hours of radio and Internet content each year, and Mega TV is part of a long-term plan to expand our production of content for Hispanics in a logical and effective manner,” she said.

SBS, founded in 1983 by Cuban-American Raul Alarcon Sr., is the largest Spanish-language radio station in the United States with 20 stations in seven of the country’s most important Hispanic markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco, as well as Puerto Rico, according to its top officials.

Hudson-Fernandez expressed confidence that the format of the channel, which initially will transmit its programming between 4 p.m. and midnight, will capture a hefty share of South Florida’s Hispanic viewership.

“Mega TV is audacious and different. We’re putting special emphasis on the quality and visual aesthetics that (viewers) seek at Anglo channels because they don’t (find them) on Latino channels,” she said.

“We understand what the likes of our target audience are and also where the deficiencies of our competition are in the television forum,” Hudson-Fernandez added.

At first, Mega TV will broadcast televised versions of its “El Vacilon” (The Joker) radio show, hosted by Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero, as well as its show “Zona Cero” (The Zero Zone), with Omar Moynelo and Javier Ceriani.

“Obviously, our strength is music, entertainment, jokes and our stars, and we’re creating interactive and kids’ concepts, programs that give people the chance to participate, as well as reality and variety programs,” SBS’s creative director said.

“We’re also taking our most popular radio programs to the small screen with comedy formats and talk shows,” she added.