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TMCNet:  Spanish-language TV station changes programming: Cuts ? Six on-air personalities lose jobs

[March 07, 2009]

Spanish-language TV station changes programming: Cuts ? Six on-air personalities lose jobs

(Salt Lake Tribune, The Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mar. 7--KBTU Channel 23, one of a multitude of television stations serving growing numbers of Latinos along the Wasatch Front, has changed its programming, hoping to draw more viewers and improve earnings.

The station has replaced several half-hour-long news, sports and conversation programs and replaced them with short news and entertainment "capsules" that are interspersed among music videos.

Channel 23 "has simply changed to a formula that is more apt to our target audience ... we found that the audience really wants more of an entertainment-type program," said Eduardo Distel, regional vice president of Bustos Media, a Sacramento, Calif.-based radio and TV broadcaster.

The switch, made two weeks ago, cost six on-air personalities their jobs. It was driven by a sharp downturn in advertising revenue that has hit most Utah media, including newspapers, television stations and radio.

Capsules are produced by several people who work for Bustos' TV and radio stations.

"We've adjusted the personnel to make the changes and match the economic times," Distel said.

The advertising crunch has hit Spanish-language stations particularly hard.

"We have here in Salt Lake City more radio stations and more TV stations than Los Angeles, with less people. I can't believe it," Nelson Moran, operations and sales manager, said Friday.

About 315,000 Latinos live in Utah, mostly in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis and nearby counties. They are served by eight Spanish-language TV stations and 10 radio stations.

The competition is "brutal. You can quote that word. It's brutal," Distel said.

pbeebe@sltrib.com To see more of The Salt Lake Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.sltrib.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, The Salt Lake Tribune Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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