March 1, 2011

House Lights:
One Estrella that deserves to fall

Apologies to Liberman Broadcasting.

The last time your Projectionist commented on anything involving Spanish–speaking radio or television in the States, it was about Televisa's control of the Univisión networks.

But then, I wasn't planning to comment on EstrellaTV, part of the Liberman Broadcasting group (just look at their station maps to see how much of the States they cover). This network is accessible in the New York metro area via WPIX/11 (as a digital side–channel).

Have you ever tried watching EstrellaTV? And how often have you ended up switching to one of the Univisión or Telemundo channels, for example?

Moreover, did you find yourself reaching for the remote to escape the likes of José Luis: Sin Censura? [Explore the NSFW site at your own peril.]

It is perhaps the most brazen and vulgar item on the EstrellaTV schedule. Even worse than the slots given oven to butchered movies (themselves minus all opening and closing titles — no way to show movies).

And it is now the target of a complaint filed with no less than the Federal Communications Commission — jointly filed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition — according to The Advocate.

The hyperlinked article also has some choice (again NSFW) examples of the "show" (such as it is) subtitled in English. I won't embed it here out of respect for my readers — not to mention respect for those working to bring profound and positive change in Hispanic radio and television. What the Liberman gang is doing is nothing less than criminal, and a betrayal of the trust of the audiences they want to attract in the first place.

Hopefully the fact that this complaint is being filed by two distinctly different entities will prevent the inevitable fallout from being swept under any rug.

Of course, the once–proud WPIX (itself part of Tribune) could distance itself from this quicksand by quickly ditching Liberman's disgrace of a network and either 1) court another entity with better programming or 2) start work on its own Spanish–speaking channel that can be programmed by those already living in the New York metro area. Unfortunately, with Liberman having a huge sway and a cash flow to match (they're not just a TV company), neither option is likely.

Maybe it would take bringing down the whole Liberman empire — and jailing their execs (and Mr. J.L. himself) — to send a serious message to those seeking to profit from the Latino communities of the United States: Respect their sensibilities first and foremost.

Or kiss your stars goodbye. It's up to you.

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