Sizing Up a Half-Century of Hispanic TV

The rich and underappreciated history of Hispanic television takes center stage in Kenton T. Wilkinson’s Spanish-language Television in the United States: Fifty Years of Development. Published by Routledge, the book brings an academic thoroughness to the story but remains accessible and fascinating for readers both inside and outside the industry.

Wilkinson, a professor in Hispanic and international communication at Texas Tech University, traces the roots of Hispanic TV’s dozens of channels, SVODs and stations back to Mexican theater and cinema in the early 20th century. It got traction, he shows, with the development of high-powered stations like KMEX Los Angeles and KCOR in San Antonio, Texas. KCOR was bought in 1960 by B&C Hall of Famer Emilio Azcárraga, who went on to run Univision, Televisa and Galavision and also owned the short-lived sports newspaper The National.

The narrative is more than worthy of book-length treatment, and Wilkinson delivers it cogently and with evident care. One hopes, in the telenovela tradition, there are future episodes of the saga to look forward to.