Spanish TV Station To Add HD Programming


Aztecta Tucson 14 hosts Fabiola Schirrmeister and Paola Blumenkron interview guests for the locally-produced show "Arriba Tucson." Photographed by Derek Evans.
Azteca Tucson 14 hosts Fabiola Schirrmeister and Paola Blumenkron (with microphones) interview guests for the locally-produced show “Arriba Tucson.”
Photographed by Derek Evans.

Tucson’s newest Spanish-language TV station will soon air its four locally-produced programs in high-definition.

Azteca Tucson 14, an affiliate of Azteca América, will begin showing in HD next month. The channel’s network-produced shows already air in HD.

The station’s goal is to be the first choice for Spanish-language TV viewers in the city, says General Manger Rudy Velez.

The station’s two major competitors are Telemundo and Univision, but in February 2014, Azteca had the highest ratings among the three in some limited time slots, according to the Nielsen Ratings in the Tucson Market.

Jorge Gastelum, one of the two hosts for the locally-produced “De Vagaciones,” says they hope the station’s local focus gives them an edge over competitors.

“Being local is the most important thing,” Gastelum says. “We talk about Tucson things, stuff that happens in Tucson. That’s a big difference.”

“De Vagaciones,” a travel program of tourist destinations in Mexico and U.S. border states, is one of four locally-produced shows, which also include “Con Mary Rabayo,” “Estrellas en AZ” and “Arriba Tucson.”

Gastelum says it is important for the station, owned by LM Media, to produce all four programs in HD once that option is available, because viewers prefer the quality.

General Manger Velez says the price of the station’s upgrade to HD is confidential, but KOLD chief engineer Sonny Reschka says TV stations typically spend between $1 and 4 million on these type of projects.

HD programming is becoming a norm as the number of viewers continue to increase. By May 2012, almost 73 percent of households received HD programming, according to the Nielsen company.

“If you have the ability to produce in HD, you should show in HD,” Gastelum says. 

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