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Fall TV 2020: Rafael Eli Award Winners Recall Eli’s Impact

Rafael Eli
Rafael Eli (Image credit: Future)

The honorees in the first class to receive the Rafael Eli Pioneer in Hispanic TV Award have shared their thoughts about what the award means to them personally, and reflections of the man for whom the award is named.  

Rafael Eli was the co-producer of the annual Hispanic Television Summit and a partner at Schramm Marketing Group. He lost his battle with coronavirus in April. He will be remembered on Monday, Sept. 21, during the Hispanic Television & Video Awards ceremony during this year’s virtual version of the summit. The ceremony kicks-off with a memorial video about Rafael Eli’s career, narrated by Cristina Saralegui, the Spanish-language talk show legend. 

Rafael Eli, Hispanic TV Pioneer, Dies of Covid Pneumonia

The summit is a keystone event in Fall TV 2020, a series of virtual events that kicked off Sept. 8 with the News Tech Summit and continues until Oct. 2. Other events during this period are the Advanced Advertising, Streaming TV and Audience Measurement summits. For more please visit the Fall TV 2020 site.

The Rafael Eli awards are presented in three different categories -- media, creativity and talent -- by Broadcasting+Cable and Multichannel News in recognition of individuals who are pioneers in the Hispanic TV industry. The recipients this year had personally known Rafael. They are Andrés Cantor, sports commentator for Telemundo Deportes (talent); Gene Bryan, publisher of HispanicAd.com and CEO of Hispanic Media Inc. (media); and the team of executives at d expósito & Partners (creativity), including Daisy Exposito-Ulla, chairman, CEO; Jorge Ulla, partner, chief ideation officer; Gloria Constanza, partner, chief contact strategist; Fernando Fernandez, partner, chief client officer; John Ross, partner, chief financial officer; Louis Maldonado, partner, managing director; and Paco Olavarrieta, chief creative officer.

Andrés Cantor

Andrés Cantor (Image credit: Future)

Andrés Cantor is Telemundo’s Emmy award-winning voice of soccer, and a veteran television sportscaster, widely known to U.S. fans in both Spanish and English. Originally from Argentina, Cantor got his start while still in high school as a U.S.-based contributing reporter for what was then Argentina’s most popular sports magazine. In the 1980s, at his first television audition, he was required to conduct a live sportscast. The station owner was so impressed with his soccer knowledge, and his enthusiastically inspired “play-by-play,” that he was hired on the spot. Cantor’s recognizable, long-winded “gooooal” made its TV debut shortly thereafter. Today, Andres Cantor is the most recognized voice of soccer in the country and has been featured on multiple TV shows, including a recurring role as himself on The Simpsons.

“I was introduced to Rafael Eli when he was at AT&T and involved with their sponsorship of Major League Soccer. Later, I worked directly with him when he was at Schramm, and promoting international soccer matches,” Cantor said. “I am honored get this award named for Rafael. It seems appropriate. He was a pioneer in soccer marketing, and I am being recognized as a pioneer of soccer television.”

Gene Bryan

Gene Bryan (Image credit: HispanicAd.com)

Gene Bryan had already had a long career in Hispanic radio and TVmedia sales when, in 1998, he founded HispanicAd.com, a leading digital publication serving executives in the Hispanic brand advertising and media business. “Rafael and I both attended high school in Puerto Rico.  We had that in common, and our relationship grew from there,” Bryan said. He has had a 20-plus-year commitment to the growth of Hispanic media. He and Hispanicad.com have been strong supporters of the Hispanic Television Summit since the summit’s first year. Bryan continued, “Rafael es mi hermano, he’s like my brother. He would always call to get my suggestions for speakers and the next set of award recipients at the summit.” He added simply, “I am humbled.” 

Daisy Expósito-Ulla

Daisy Expósito-Ulla (Image credit: d expósito & Partners)

The team at d expósito & Partners had worked with Rafael starting in 1994 when he first joined AT&T in the Hispanic marketing division. The team then was AT&T’s Hispanic agency as part of Y&R’s Bravo Group. “Rafael made us all better – at what we do, and how we work as a team,” said Daisy Expósito-Ulla. “He was someone who respected and nurtured creative ideas, and he was a heck of a lot of fun to work with.” Her husband and partner, Jorge Ulla, added: “Rafael did what he loved to do.” Their partner, Gloria Constanza, mentioned that Rafael was always focused on innovations in television programming for Hispanics, whether it was the launch of MLS or championship boxing. He “was passionate and committed to the Hispanic fan and often spoke about VOD way back” before it was widely available. The seven recipients from d expósito are unique. They have worked together for over 20 years and have earned a reputation as an award-winning team serving some of the leading brands in the Hispanic market, including AARP, McDonald’s and the U.S. Army to name a few.

The Hispanic Television & Video Awards ceremony, which includes the presentation of The Rafael Eli awards, will be hosted by two leading on-air personalities: Pamela Silva, co-anchor, Primer Impacto, and co-host of Univision’s Aqui y Ahora, and Luis Sandoval, West Coast correspondent for Univision’s ¡Despierta América!. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 12 noon E.T on Day 1 of the four-day “virtual” presentation of the 18th annual Hispanic Television Summit. This year’s summit is being offered free of charge (as a single track in the Fall TV Events lineup) for the first time. To learn more about this year’s event, go to www.FallTVevents.com

Contributed by Joe Schramm, president of Schramm Marketing Group and producer of the annual Hispanic Television Summit.