Spanish-language television has long featured telenovelas - soap operas with the hunky man with the perfect biceps, abs and smile and the women fighting for his affection.
But there should be more options than the formulaic soap operas, game shows and other programming with outdated clichés and stereotypes, said Francisco Moll, operations manager at television station WTAM-30 in Tampa.
That might change soon in Tampa Bay.
WTAM-30 has partnered with recently formed CNN Latino and will offer educational and informative programming that will be competing with the evening soap operas on popular Spanish-language stations such as Univision and Telemundo, Moll said.
Later this month, the low-power station on Franklin Street near downtown Tampa will begin broadcasting CNN Latino programming. Station officials anticipate the programming will be available to Verizon Fios customers within about a month and on Bright House cable by October.
“Creating a partnership with CNN in the broadcast industry, it’s something really significant, something that we value big time,” Moll said.
It raises the station’s profile, its reach and value, he said. “It will get the station out of a low-power station in Tampa to one that is competing with higher-end stations like Univision and Telemundo.”
The Tampa area will be among the first in the country to get CNN Latino programming, which was first rolled out in Los Angeles in January. Along with Tampa, the second wave of the CNN Latino launch will include stations in Orlando, New York and Phoenix, Ariz.
The CNN Latino-produced programs that will be broadcast on WTAM-30 in Tampa include documentaries and news programs similar to Dateline, political and topical debates and one-on-one interviews similar to Charlie Rose, CNN Latino officials said. There will be programming on travel, food, health, fashion, technology, architecture and popular trends.
Sari Famiglietti, marketing director for CNN Latino in Tampa, said the programming will be broader and deeper than the soap operas and game shows that dominate much of Spanish-language television and eventually will include local programming, including a local news program.
“We’re looking at filling the gap in the market,” Famiglietti said. “It will help to empower the Hispanic viewer. I believe they are yearning for it.”
Tampa is ranked 19th among Hispanic television markets with more than 220,000 Hispanic television households, according to CNN.
As of last year, there are close to an estimated 700,000 Hispanics in an eight-county area that includes Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Polk counties, according to the Tampa Bay Partnership, a local economic development organization.
CNN Latino has ambitious plans to expand to more stations across the country, said Cynthia Hudson, senior vice president and general manager of CNN Español and Hispanic Strategy for CNN/U.S.
“This is a brand new project,” Hudson said. “We have to crawl before we walk.”
WTAM-30 in Tampa will broadcast CNN Latino from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. The station also will offer Hispanic programming from Buena Vision of New York.