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New network expands Spanish-language options

Local newscasts, sports program are planned

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / January 15, 2011

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Boston viewers will be able to see more local TV news, sports coverage, and daily horoscopes in Spanish.

Massachusetts Spanish TV Network, or MAStv, a Spanish-language network, launched this week.

Javier Marin, the former publisher of Spanish-language newspaper El Planeta, is teaming with WCEA Cuenca Vision, a Spanish-language cable channel based in Roxbury that has presented locally produced multicultural programs since 1986, to offer more Spanish-language programming.

Marin plans to launch a local newscast in Spanish at 6 a.m. and noon and a weekly sports program covering the Boston Celtics and the Red Sox in the first week of February.

MAStv debuted Tuesday with a daily morning magazine show called “Olga!’’ which is produced in El Salvador. The channel is also carrying a daily newscast from Medellin, Colombia.

“With MAStv, we will now be able to develop programs directly targeted to Massachusetts’ Hispanic audience,’’ said WCEA’s owner, Peter Cuenca, in a statement.

Marin, 43, said he is trying to fill a void on local Spanish-language television.

“There is very little local content for Hispanics in Boston on TV,’’ said Marin, who declined to disclose how much he is investing in the joint venture.

He is interviewing candidates for anchor jobs for the newscasts.

MAStv’s Spanish-language newscast will compete with Univision Boston’s WUNI-TV (Channel 27), which launched its local newscast, “Noticias Nueva Inglaterra,’’ in April 2003. The programs cater to a burgeoning Hispanic audience in Massachusetts. In the last decade, the state’s Hispanic population grew from an estimated 6.8 percent to 8.3 percent of the population, according to preliminary 2010 Census results.

Comcast Corp. also airs a weekly local public affairs and entertainment show called “Encuentro Latino,’’ which is produced by local husband-and-wife team Angel Salcedo and Yadires Nova-Salcedo.

Nova-Salcedo also hosts “Centro,’’ a weekly segment about Boston Hispanics on WBZ-TV (Channel 4).

In recent years, Comcast has in creased its on-demand Hispanic programming packages by importing more popular Spanish language networks from Central and South America.

Marin said he wanted to cultivate more homegrown programming, to better reflect the diverse Hispanic communities in the state.

“There are a lot of independent producers ready to show their programs, but there aren’t a lot of windows for them, and MAStv will be one,’’ said Marin.

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.