Seattle's Fisher Communications, already a major media player in the Northwest, wants to become número uno in its fledgling Hispanic...
Seattle’s Fisher Communications, already a major media player in the Northwest, wants to become número uno in its fledgling Hispanic TV market.
The company said Monday it is spending $20.3 million to acquire four Spanish-language television stations, and construction permits for two more, in Oregon and Idaho from Equity Broadcasting of Little Rock, Ark.
The biggest is KPOU of La Grande, Ore., a broadcast affiliate of Univision, the most-watched Spanish-language network in the U.S. The station is carried on cable in the Portland metropolitan area.
The deal, subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission, also includes two low-power Univision stations, which cable companies are not required to carry, in Boise and Pocatello, Idaho.
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“This is a strong and solid growth opportunity for us,” said Rob Bateman, Fisher’s chief financial officer. “The U.S. Hispanic market is one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., and they are migrating northward.”
That’s especially the case in Portland, now the 31st-largest Hispanic TV market in the U.S., with 69,000 television-owning households, said Bateman, citing research from Nielsen.
Seattle is the 28th-largest Hispanic TV market, with 78,000 households.
Fisher already owns 10 TV and 27 radio stations, spread across Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho. But the only Latin play among them is La Super Z, a radio station in Wenatchee.
Bateman said existing infrastructure in these markets would allow the company to rapidly integrate the stations as well as to build new ones, likely with Spanish-language content, in Idaho Falls and Twin Falls, Idaho.
Construction permits for the low-power, community-based stations for those two areas were acquired as part of the deal.
Bateman said the company does not have plans to introduce local programming on any of the stations it acquired.
The acquisition, Fisher’s first since 1999, comes two months after the appointment of Colleen Brown as president and chief executive.
Nationally, the number of Hispanic television households is projected growing 2.9 percent this year, to 11.2 million, according to Nielsen.
Josh Goodman: 206-464-3347 or firstname.lastname@example.org