The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

22 July 2008

Phoenix Spanish News Talk Station Shutting Down


Border Crackdown Blamed For Loss Of Spanish Talker

Has a crackdown on illegal immigration really wiped out a Spanish- language news-talker? That's the claim in Phoenix, where a local radio station's failure is being blamed on Arizona's "hostile atmosphere" toward "undocumented immigrants".

KNUV-AM was more than just a Spanish outlet, however, it seemed to specifically target "migrants" from Mexico, many of whom have been in the country illegally.

In addition, it took radical political stances that were meant to cater to its lawbreaking audience. Last November, for example, KNUV battled local law enforcement over the description of a serial rapist, who was thought to be Hispanic. The station considered that to be "racial profiling".

Despite the station owner's overall financial collapse, today's Arizona Republic would have readers believe a recent local crackdown on illegal immigration, the state's legislature and Sheriff Joe Arpaio are all directly responsible for KNUV's failure.

From the story by Daniel Gonzalez:

"We will see more Spanish-language publications and media outlets closing because it's a tough economic environment," said Ricardo Torres, chief executive of Latino Perspectives magazine in Phoenix.

Torres, a former manager of Spanish radio stations in Phoenix, said that KNUV was torpedoed by the state's slumping economy and stepped-up immigration enforcement, both of which are driving immigrants from Arizona. That has led to a drop in listeners, which has translated into a fall in advertising revenues.

"The industries that rely on immigrants are hurting: construction, agriculture and hospitality," Torres said.

"And what is happening is the immigrant community is shrinking due to bad economic times and the current hostile atmosphere created by (Maricopa County) Sheriff Joe Arpaio and laws passed by the Legislature."

During the past several months, Arpaio has launched a series of crime sweeps in Phoenix, Guadalupe and Mesa that have resulted in the arrests of hundreds of illegal immigrants.

The state's employer-sanctions law, which took effect in January, has made it increasingly difficult for illegal immigrants to get jobs. It requires employers to verify work eligibility or risk having their business license revoked.

Phoenix is the eight-largest Latino-media market in the country. Launched in August 2005, KNUV's goal was to give Latinos information needed to get by in the larger community, said Heberto Limas-Villers, president of New Radio Venture, the company that owns KNUV and KNRV.

"We wanted to be as informative as we could so they could make decisions about anything from politics to education," Limas-Villers said.

The station's demographic is 35- to 64-year-old Latinos.

At its height, the 24-hour station had a team of 45 reporters, producers and anchors, making it much more expensive to run than a music station, Limas-Villers said.

The station covered street marches and immigration sweeps. Sometimes, interviews with illegal-immigration suspects were broadcast live from the backs of police cars.

Could the bloated staff roster have anything to do with the station's failure? Forty-five "reporters, producers and anchors" is a significantly greater number than one would find at some of the largest and most successful news- talk stations in the country.

Not since the early days of Air America Radio have we seen a head count like that!

Beyond that, what are the odds that illegal immigrants are inclined to fill out Arbitron diaries, even if they were somehow able to receive them?

So what's the real reason for KNUV's failure: the government, or a crappy business plan?

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  • Joe Arpaio for President

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 July, 2008 12:36  

  • Why are these foreign-language stations on the AM dial anyway, when all non-English programming should have been migrated to shortwave? keeps the "libs" off the dial, appeases the La Raza types, and keeps the illegals humming at the work.

    That's a neocon Trifecta!

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 23 July, 2008 13:30  

  • I live near Lawrence, and my ears are attentive to Spanish-oriented media I hear played in the Valley. All day long, it appears they play pre-recorded CD's or tapes because I almost NEVER hear an announcer or Spanish-language commercials ("Telefono ocho-ocho-ocho- etc) or station IDs. I know WNNW appears in the Arbitrons, but almost never WUNR (right now so weak people in Newton have trouble picking it up), WRCA (also on reduced power), or WTTT. I wonder if all the diaries are in English.

    By Anonymous Laurence Glavin, at 23 July, 2008 14:31  

  • Move the station to mexico, you'll find a lot of listeners there that understand what you're saying.
    Oh, and I'm sorry we didn't leave the lawbreakers in the country so your business could be propped up. NOT!
    Joe Arpaio for President!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 July, 2008 17:23  

  • Effectively. The reason for the station failure, was a "crappy business plan". A big PENDEJADA. The so called CEO and President, have a very good talent that he can use in the future: Write The big Book of Lies.

    He is tremendous for fantasies. And share those stupid thinking, as if were true.

    La buena Onda, NEVER had 45 reporters and producers. In Phoenix, the translator, editor and producer was ONLY ONE: ME.

    And I was always pushed to practice the "piracy" taking news and copyrighted features from KTAR and The Arizona Republic.

    Thus, I was the only professional journalist. And the only ONE working in the news Department, starting my days at 4:00 am, and translating, editing and producing 20 newscast every day, Monday through Friday, and 8 on Saturdays.
    So, I appeal to everybody, NOT TO BELIEVE on what Mr. Heberto Limas-Villers said. El es un "pinche" mentiroso !

    By Blogger Cesar, at 15 November, 2008 18:55  

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