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Local News

As Spanish TV News Show Goes Off the Air, Entravision Pledges Continued Local Coverage

Opponents of the shutdown say the company's plans won't make up for the loss of Noticias Univision Costa Central

As employees of Santa Barbara’s only Spanish-speaking news broadcast are picking up their final checks, the parent station of Noticias Univision Costa Central promised Friday to continue coverage in the area.

The broadcast has focused on local stories and reporting for the past eight years, but has been canceled because of financial woes. The show had been losing money for three years despite high ratings, and parent company Entravision Communications Corp. announced earlier this month that it would be taken off the air.

Officials from KPMR-DT, the station that featured Noticias, said in a statement issued Friday that its newscast will provide “expanded regional coverage of news and information serving the communities of the Central Coast, along with continued local news coverage of the Santa Barbara market.”

It said expanded news broadcasts will begin Jan. 2 and run Monday through Friday at 6 and 11 p.m.

“KPMR’s expanded on-air newscast will allow us to continue to provide news and information that is most relevant to the Santa Barbara market and the communities of the broader Central Coast region,” Gabriel Quiroz, general manager of Entravision’s Santa Barbara operations, said in the statement. “We remain dedicated to keeping our audience and local communities along the Central Coast informed about important local, regional and national news and events through our weekday on-air news broadcasts, the broadcast of Univision’s nationally syndicated evening news, public service announcements, community calendars, information provided on our Web site and other local initiatives.”

Local opposition to the shutdown has been vocal. A news conference was organized by community leaders earlier this month to urge Entravision officials to keep the show alive. Without the show, they argued, more than 200,000 Central Coast residents would be uninformed and at constant risk during a state of emergency.

Silvia Uribe, co-chairwoman for the Latino Democratic Caucus, which sponsored the news conference, spoke at that conference and with Noozhawk on Friday about the station’s move.

“What we’ve been asking Entravision for, and what they’ve declined to do, is to continue the local news broadcast,” said Uribe, adding that the company currently broadcasts from Salinas, but “we want local, not regional.”

She said she spoke with some of the staff of the show after reading the news release Friday, and that they were going to pick up their final checks.

“They’re not continuing to work,” she said. “They have laid off everyone already.”

Entravision representatives would not comment on the staffing of the show or whether some would be rehired for the expanded coverage.

Uribe said she believed about five people were on the staff of the canceled show.

“The main story is that we are left with no local news,” she said.

Local news station KEYT announced last week that it would broadcast its evening newscast with a Spanish language simulcast after Jan. 1.

Uribe called it a good compromise — for now.

She said she wants to see original reporting done, highlighting issues important to the Latino community, not just a rebroadcast of news in Spanish.

“Our community deserves to have their own news,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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