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TeleKaribe Takes Off From Poconos Home

The newest entrant in the Spanish-language pay TV arena has launched as the first U.S.-based channel to target the nation's growing Dominican population.

TeleKaribe, which launched in early November, aims to serve audiences both in the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic with originally produced content, including daily news capsules and up to 10 entertainment shows.

The network’s main studios and offices are in the heart of the Poconos: Hazleton, Pa. The small city's population is 37% Hispanic and of that percentage, one in five people are of Dominican heritage. TeleKaribe in November was added to Hazleton's Service Electric Cablevision as a Latino Tier offering at channel 299. It is also an over-the-top service available via Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google TV.

A localized version of TeleKaribe for viewers in New York is available over-the-air via a LPTV signal on virtual channel 65. Plans call for other localized versions of TeleKaribe in the Boston DMA; in Plainfield, N.J.; and in Puerto Rico, which has also seen growth in its Dominican population.

Meanwhile, TeleKaribe has been added by two cable television systems in the Dominican Republic: TCO Ocoa Vision in the city of San José de Ocoa, and Telecasa in Bonao. TeleKaribe takes channel 171 on both systems.

Max Garcia, a Dominican TV host who moved to the U.S. in 2013, is director of programming and oversees the operation from Hazleton. An official programming lineup was not available by deadline.

According to the Hazleton, Pa., Standard Speaker, TeleKaribe will soon reach out to "external producers" who could partner on a daily news program.

TeleKaribe's biggest likely competitor is Hemisphere Media Group's Televisión Dominicana, which is available on a host of U.S. cable and satellite-TV providers.