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Univision Jacksonville Plans Spanish-Language Local News Within A Year

Univision Communications

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The outlet is launching two local shows on its cable channel, and the city’s Hispanic population should be able to watch local news in their native tongue in about six months.

Univision Jacksonville spokesman Victor Cora has lived in the city for three decades. He says in that time he’s seen the Hispanic population explode.

“When I saw a Hispanic some place I would want to take him home,” Cora says. “I say that jokingly, but there were very few Hispanics at the time when I first arrived here. Since the 2000 Census, the population has more than doubled.”

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Univision Jacksonville launched in late November with one locally produced TV show and local advertisements, and Cora expects Spanish-language local news to launch next summer.

He says national Univision programing, which has existed in Jacksonville for the better part of a decade, will be punctuated by local break-ins, much like the NPR-local news model.

Still, Cora says there are  challenges unique to the First Coast.

“It’s a sense of how spread-out the Hispanic population is because Jacksonville, to this date, we don’t have what you would be familiar with and what other Hispanics would be familiar with – what we call the barrios: your Little Havanas in Miami, your Kissimmee area and your Ybor City,” Cora says. “Right now to identify with Hispanics in the Jacksonville area you still have to do it through ZIP codes.”

So in addition to relying on Univision's national-programs viewership in the River City, Cora says the station will have to put more effort into Latino outreach than what they’ve had to in more Hispanic-saturated areas like Miami or Tampa.

Univision Jacksonville broadcasts on digital cable channel 18.1.