Channel 12 unveils newscast in Spanish
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 9, 2006

Kerry Lengel

In response to rapid growth in the Valley's Latino population, Channel 12 (KPNX) will offer a Spanish version of its 6 o'clock newscast tonight.

Three interpreters will provide live translation of the newscast over the secondary audio programming (SAP) channel. Most contemporary television sets include the SAP feature, which allows stations to broadcast an alternative audio track, and it can be accessed through the remote control.

"In conversations with bilingual viewers, we became convinced that there was an appetite for 12 News in Spanish," said John Misner, station president-general manager. KPNX and The Arizona Republic both are owned by Gannett Co. Inc. advertisement

Channel 12 is the first Valley station to offer Spanish translation of local news. Two Spanish-language stations, Univisión affiliate Channel 33 (KTVW) and Telemundo's Channel 48 (KDRX), offer local news at 5 and 10 p.m.

Loui Olivas, an administrator and business professor at Arizona State University, said the translated newscast should attract a different audience than those who view local Spanish stations. Recent immigrants might choose Univisión or Telemundo, which includes more news from Latin America, while bilingual viewers and multigenerational households might prefer a different mix.

"It's a new chapter in the ongoing saga of reaching the Hispanic market, with all its nuances. It's not a homogenous market," said Olivas, who has researched the Latino market for 16 years.

Channel 12's foray into Spanish newscasting reflects a nationwide growth in Spanish-language media. In September, ABC began offering its entire prime-time lineup in Spanish (either dubbed or subtitled). In Phoenix, two additional Spanish stations have announced plans to launch early this year.

While Channel 12 is responding to the growing Hispanic market, Misner said TV ratings won't tell him how many viewers are choosing the SAP broad- cast.

"It's one of those things that you know is the right thing to do for a lot of reasons, and we haven't spent a lot of time thinking about how we're going to measure it," he said.

Reach the reporter at or (602) 444-4896.