It’s Like a Second Language to Them

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Newspapers everywhere are hooking up with their local TV stations, but only in Little Rock, Ark., is a newspaper literally giving voice to a newscast. There, staffers of the bilingual biweekly ?Hola! Arkansas interpret the news in Spanish every weeknight on the 10 p.m. newscast of KTHV, a Gannett Co.-owned station.

Two of the paper’s employees receive the audio feed over headsets, and their live interpretation goes out over the station’s SAP (Second Audio Program), making KTHV the only Little Rock station offering local news in Spanish. “With Arkansas’ fast-growing (although still small numerically) Hispanic population, we thought it would be a good idea to be forward-thinking and serve that community, and provide local news,” says KTHV President and General Manager Larry Audas.

The partnership, begun in the summer of 2003, is all part of the ambitious plans of ?Hola! Arkansas owner Maura Lozano-Yancy. The paper now distributes 15,000 copies free in 50 Arkansas cities and towns, but that’s likely just a start, given the trajectory of its target demographic. Hispanics make up just a little over 3% of Arkansas’ population, but between the 1990 and 2000 their numbers increased some 347%.

To grow faster, and gain much free publicity, of ?Hola! Arkansas Hispanic Media & Publishing Co. President and Group Publisher Maura Lozano-Yancy has aggressively pursued partnerships with electronic media, including several radio stations.

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