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Telemundo's San Diego O&O Goes Live July 1

The Telemundo station group will be kicking off July on Saturday by lighting up its new San Diego O&O, branded Telemundo 20 San Diego, roughly 2 ½ years after setting the idea in motion.

With about 30 new bilingual hires, as well as its own studio in the building it shares with NBC-owned KNSD, Telemundo 20 will go live at 6 p.m. with a half-hour program showing the final preparations for the formal launch of the station’s news operation two days later, July 3.

The station will air local four half-hour weekday newscasts at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., which will be the largest Spanish-language local news offering in the market, according to the NBCUniversal owned station group, which owns both NBC and Telemundo O&Os.

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Entravision’s XHAS, which is losing its Telemundo affiliation when KNSD signs on, will produce 90 minutes of local news a day as an Azteca America affiliate starting July 3. News will air from 5-6 p.m. and 11-11:30 p.m. KTCD, Entravision’s Univision affiliate, airs local 30-minute newscasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

KNSD general manager Richard Kelley, who will add Telemundo 20 to his purview, said the station’s robust news schedule will be a boon for San Diego’s Spanish speakers, who make up roughly one-third of the market. So will the station’s Spanish-language offerings on Facebook and app—the first in the market—as well as resources already in play at KNSD, such as a mobile radar storm tracker, he said.

“When this hits July 1 there will be a noticeable difference in quantity and quality,” Kelley said. “We are just going to become a better service for the market.”

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In the two-plus years since committing to a station launch, execs have focused on building a Telemundo staff and facility that can work in partnership with KNSD, and leverage the NBC group’s assets, while also maintaining an identity in its own right.

Housed in a new facility, Telemundo and KNSD have separate studios. The station’s new hires are bilingual.

Roughly 40% of staffers came from within the NBC and Telemundo station groups, including KNSD, Kelley said. Telemundo 20’s news team has been working with KNSD’s staff for three or so months.

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Kelley said having two, heavily bilingual news teams will bolster coverage. “We would really broaden our footprint for viewers when breaking news does happen,” he said. Not only is Telemundo going to benefit the Spanish speaking audience in the market and I think its going to benefit (KNSD) Channel 7.”

Telemundo 20 will air on KNSD’s digital subchannel and will operate as KNSD-D3. Cable subscribers will be able to access the station on channel 20. It will be delivered over-the-air on 39.20, which will cover the market as well as south of the Mexican border, Kelley said.