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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

MEDIA: Latino Coalition Comes Out Against Telemundo Merger

Latino Coalition Comes Out Against Telemundo Merger

Claudia Peschiutta

Paxson Communications Corp. isn’t the only opponent of the NBC-Telemundo merger.

The National Latino Media Council, a coalition of civil rights and media groups, also has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to deny approval of the $2.7-billion deal announced in October.

In its petition, the council argues that media consolidation has led to rampant layoffs, hiring freezes and cuts in programming. Such actions, the council says, have left Latinos with fewer opportunities and resulted in a decline in the number of television stations owned by minorities.

“This is a community that has been taken for granted too many times in the past,” said Alex Nogales, president and chief executive of L.A.-based National Hispanic Media Coalition, one of 12 groups that make up the council. He added that NBC tried to dissuade the council from filing the petition and has since been seeking to meet with group officials to discuss their concerns.

“NBC’s planned acquisition of Telemundo has received widespread support within the Latino community,” the network said in a statement. “This makes it all the more regrettable that the National Latino Media Council took this action without first discussing their concerns with us.”

Telemundo President and CEO James McNamara said in a statement that the merger “will result in a stronger Telemundo with better programming choices and more jobs for the Latino community.”

The council was part of the coalition that succeeded last year in getting commitments from NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox to increase representation of minorities on- and off-screen.

Tightening at ABC Stations

Certain employees at local ABC stations are being asked to forego scheduled wage increases because of the recession, said John Davison, president and general manager of the network’s L.A. radio group.

“We were strictly asking them, not forcing them” to go without raises, he said.

The request was made of employees who have personal contracts, such as on-air talent, that go beyond standard union contracts at the four ABC radio stations KABC-AM, KDIS-AM, KLOS-FM and KSPN-AM.

Reaction to the requests have been “mixed” but some have agreed to forego their increases, Davison said. “It’s not as onerous as some of the massive firings you hear about,” he said. “I think it’s a very civil thing to do.”

JWT to Lose CEO

The head of J. Walter Thompson’s L.A. and San Francisco offices will be laid off before the end of the year due to changes within the ad agency.

Peter Stranger said his departure is involuntary but added that JWT “is top-heavy and somebody has to go.”

The redundancies in management, he said, resulted from the agency’s merger with Tonic 360 in San Francisco and the integration of work between JWT and another WPP Group property in L.A.

“I’ve got lots of plans,” Stranger said. “I’m not panicked at this stage.”

‘Out in L.A.’ Wins Ad Awards

Latimes.com, the newspaper’s Web site, won two “@d:tech” awards for an advertorial site created for Miller Brewing Co. earlier this year.

“Out in L.A.,” a site targeted at the local gay and lesbian community, was the best local marketing campaign and best audience-specific campaign awards at @d:tech, the annual interactive advertising and marketing conference recently held in New York.

“Out in L.A.” promotes Miller beers while providing entertainment content, such as calendar listings and bar and restaurant reviews. A second advertorial site created for Miller, “Noches del Pueblo,” was also nominated.

Despite a slow start, the advertorial sites have proven successful, said Steven Barth, general manager of the Times’ interactive division and vice president of classified advertising. “We would like to do more of them,” he said.

California Cares Campaign

A coalition of California philanthropic groups is spending some $2.5 million on print, radio and television ads to reverse the decline in donations suffered by nonprofit organizations throughout the state since September’s terrorist attacks.

Fraser Communications of Santa Monica developed the ads for California Cares, which includes The California Endowment, Southern California Association for Philanthropy and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

Full-Time in Seoul

The Los Angeles Times has for the first time hired a full-time bureau chief for its Seoul office.

Barbara Demick, formerly the Middle East bureau chief for the Philadelphia Inquirer, was one of nearly 20 candidates Times foreign editor Simon K.C. Li considered for the post. The newspaper’s Tokyo bureau, whose three reporters had been staffing the Seoul office on a rotating basis, has gone down to two reporters.

“Seoul is not a very appealing place to live and people who might otherwise have been qualified were not interested,” Li said. “When Barbara was enthusiastic, I jumped at it.”

In Other News…

Local news and talk stations appear to have boosted their ratings since Sept. 11, according to estimates for the September-November period released by Arbitron last week…Hip-hop and dance station KPWR-FM (105.9) launched a new Web site at www.power106.fm.

Staff reporter Claudia Peschiutta can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229 or by e-mail at

cpeschiutta@labusinessjournal.com.

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