Cuban Americans

Boston Television Station WCVB Embraces Spanish Subtitles

Posted October 20, 2004 by publisher in Cuban Americans.

Greg Gatlin | Boston Herald

WCVB-TV (Ch. 5) will aggressively target Boston’s growing Hispanic population, when it launches a Spanish subtitles option on all its newscasts along with a broader outreach campaign.

The Hearst-Argyle-owned station says it will be the first in the market - and one of only a handful in the country - to offer instant translation of its newcasts and nightly “Chronicle” newsmagazine. WBZ-TV (Ch. 4) runs a short segment called “Centro” Saturday mornings with Spanish captioning.

Channel 5’s effort will get financial backing from General Motors’ “Hummer” division, which is looking to make inroads with the Latino population throughout the region. Veteran Channel 5 reporters Amalia Barreda and Jorge Quiroga will air a series of bilingual messages encouraging story ideas and news tips from viewers. And WCVB has teamed up with El Mundo, the local 30,000-reader Spanish-language newspaper, to share content.

WCVB cited census data showing Hispanics make up more than 15 percent of Boston’s population.

Broadcasters across the country are seeing fast-growing interest from advertisers targeting the booming Latino population. But Paul La Camera, WCVB’s general manager, said that’s yet to hit the Hub in force, though it’s coming.

Industry insiders say closed captioning is expensive, thus the deal with Hummer. Some stations have considered airing Spanish content on new digital channels.

Alberto Vasallo III, El Mundo’s vice president, says the partnership allows him to target the general public, including advertisers and potential corporate partners. “What that does for me is it puts El Mundo in the forefront of the minds of many decision-makers who may not have heard of us,” he said.

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