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June 28, 2007
New Spanish-language TV in town

Amador.JPG

Local viewers of Spanish-language television will soon have another choice.

Media mogul Amador Bustos (pictured), whose 35-station radio empire includes four stations in his hometown of Sacramento, will be launching a new Spanish-language television channel in Sacramento on Sunday.

The channel, an affiliate of the Azteca America network in Mexico, will be called KSTV and will air on Channel 32 (for analog TV viewers) and on Channels 196 and 620 for Comcast digital cable viewers.

(SureWest cable subscribers will not receive the channel, but an Azteca America spokesman says the network is negotiating with “several cable operators.”)

At the start, most of the programming on the new channel will be from Azteca America, including soccer games, telenovelas and prime-time entertainment, such as comedies and dramas. There is also a national evening news show from Los Angeles.

Bustos says, however, that KSTV's goal – “hopefully within 12 months” – is to create a stable of local programming, including newscasts specifically designed for Sacramento and Central Valley viewers.

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Currently, the only Spanish-language news is provided by KUVS (Channel 19), a Univision affiliate.

“Univision has done an outstanding job, trailblazing in this (Sacramento) market,” Bustos says. “Sacramento is a mature TV market and I think it can support another station.

"We’ll be very competitive with them, just like Azteca America is competitive with (Univision) in Mexico. We have many resources that can help us.”

Certainly, Sacramento has proven to be a hungry market for local TV news. Channel 19’s 6 p.m. weekday newscasts have finished first in the market (English- and Spanish-speaking) for the 18-to-34-year-old demographic for eight consecutive ratings periods, according to Nielsen Media Research. In May, the latest ratings period, Channel 19 finished second behind only Channel 3 (KCRA) in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Bustos says that, starting next month, KSTV will share studio space with his Sacramento radio stations - in the former headquarters of Channel 31, which last year moved to sister station Channel 13’s West Sacramento facilities.

“We’ll also share (programming) between radio and TV,” Bustos says. “We’ll have recording artists coming in to talk to our radio (hosts) and, while they’re there, we’ll tape them to TV, too.

“That is relatively inexpensive, and we’ll do public affairs programs, too. Doing local (TV) news is much more complicated and more of a capital outlay. We need to generate revenue in the first 12 months to support starting local news.”

KSTV is the third television station that Bustos Media has acquired in the past year and a half. The company also owns TV stations in Salt Lake City and Milwaukee. The Milwaukee station, WBWT, is an Azteca America affiliate.

Azteca America has broadcast rights to Mexican Soccer League games. In late May, the MSL championship game on Azteca America boasted higher ratings than the NBA conference finals, the Indy 500 and a NASCAR race.

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