KRGV Debuts Spanish Translation of Its News

KRGV, an ABC affiliate along the Texas-Mexico border market, now provides Spanish-language translation of all the station’s newscasts on viewers’ secondary audio channels. Those watching “Channel 5 News” in English see no change, while viewers who wish to watch the newscast with Spanish audio can click on the SAP button on their remote.

“It’s the same newscast our viewers know and trust delivered live, in Spanish, from our Weslaco studios by a team of very talented translators,” said John Kittleman, KRGV general manager, in a press release. “Once our viewers learn how to choose the SAP option on their TV, they will have the choice of listening in English or Spanish.”

KRGV is a unique station—a big market leader in Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, where the population is in excess of 90% Hispanic origin, according to BIA/Kelsey. At least a third of the homes in the market are Spanish dominant, according to Kittleman, and many others receive the station signal on the Mexico side of the border.

KRGV, owned by the Manship Family, cranks out 36 ½ hours of news a week.

Said Jenny Martinez, the news director, “Spanish speaking viewers have chosen Channel 5 News as their newscast of choice for many years. Now they’ll be able to truly understand everything they’re hearing and seeing.”

Kittleman mentions two other examples of stations attempting similar initiatives. A station in El Paso had a translator for its 6 p.m. news, while another in Laredo too gave it a go. For various reasons, he says, neither one was a success.

“Our approach is very different,” says Kittleman via email. “We have hired a full time staff of 17 to make this a very rich and full experience for the Spanish listener for all newscasts. Our extensive research indicates the Spanish dominant homes in our viewing area would be open to watching Channel 5 News once the language barrier is overcome.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the L.A. Times and New York magazine.