- In the summer of 1986, KCBS-TV announces a change in its news format to a 10-anchor, 20-minute “news-wheel.” KCBS-TV does not include any Latinos, even though 32% of the local population was estimated to be Hispanic.
- The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is created in the fall of 1986, in Los Angeles, California, as a response to the lack of Latino representation in local news. The founders include Armando Durón, Esther Renteria, and Alex Nogales.
- The NHMC New York Chapter is created. Marta Garcia is the founder along with two co-chairs: Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund president, Juan Figueroa, and the Institute for Puerto Rican Policy, Angelo Falcon.
- Universal Studios agrees to fund the Hispanic Film Project, a project of NHMC. This program produces two half-hour dramas, developed by young Hispanic filmmakers, each year since 1989. In 1994 the project was spun away from the NHMC into a free-standing foundation of its own.
- NHMC reaches affirmative action agreements with both KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KABC-TV Channel 7. (Read more details about the dramatic turn of events at KCBS-TV.)
[From “This is Not a Border” by Chon Noriega]
Starting in 1986, [NHMC] met with general managers of the local stations, working out an agreement with KCBS. When the new general manager refused to honor the agreement, he made the mistake of writing to the coalition on corporate letterhead informing them that “CBS Inc. and the station do not subscribe” to the concept of “goals and timetables for Hispanic employment at KCBS-TV” – even though affirmative action and equal opportunity policies were FCC license requirements at the time. Renteria faxed the letter to a friend in Washington, D.C., who specialized in FCC law. Bob Thompson, who would thereafter serve as the coalition’s pro bono lawyer, informed her that the general manager, as an officer of the corporation, had placed the entire CBS network in jeopardy. In a carefully orchestrated move that played off the time difference between the two coasts, Thompson faxed the letter to CBS in New York at 8:00 A.M. so that when the coalition arrived to set up a picket line in front of KCBS in Los Angeles at 9:00 A.M., they were promptly informed that the manager had been fired four hours earlier and that the network was prepared to meet with them.
- NHMC and the Puerto Rican Forum meet with officials of television stations in New York City. The negotiations result in two affirmative action agreements with WABC-TV and WCBS-TV and two actions filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against WPIX and WNET in regard to the unacceptable employment practices of these television stations.
- NHMC files challenges opposing the license renewals of 24 Texas radio stations. The complaints prompt the FCC to launch one of the most widespread reviews of broadcast hiring practices.
- NHMC negotiates agreement with Telemundo. Telemundo agrees to increase Latino representation within its seven owned and operated stations as well as on the network’s board. It also creates local news and public affairs programming, and solicits community participation.
- NHMC files a petition to deny the transfer of control of Univision from Hallmark Cards to Perenchio TV. Part of the petition’s argument is the fact that Perenchio TV was owned in substantial part by two foreign media companies, Televisa of Mexico City and Venevision of Caracas.
- NHMC negotiates an agreement with Univision to develop children’s educational programming in exchange for the NHMC dropping its appeal of the FCC decision to deny its petition. Univision is given two months to develop the children’s programming. For every month delay, Univision is fined 80-90 thousand dollars. Univision is fined for a three-month delay. NHMC gives the penalty charges to MALDEF for their scholarship fund.
- NHMC begins focusing its efforts on one network: ABC. This strategy reflects the coalition’s limited resources, but it also dovetailed with increased media hearings and reports in advance of the planned overhaul of the Communications Act of 1934. Renteria testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
- After nearly a decade of coalition efforts, only two television stations are not in compliance in Los Angeles and New York: KCAL (owned by Disney) and WWOR.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>
- NHMC calls its first “Latino Summit on the Media” and some 30 major national Hispanic organizations come to discuss media problems facing U.S. Latinos. The conference participants decide to participate in a national boycott of ABC to send a message to all networks. ABC is chosen because the network had not kept its promise, made by ABC-TV President Michael Eisner, that a Latino-themed series would be on ABC by the fall of 1994. NHMC protests outside of the network’s owned and operated stations and also refrains from watching ABC’s primetime shows on May 5th.
- After the murder of Selena, a popular singer, Howard Stern makes shameful remarks against her. NHMC asks advertisers of “The Howard Stern Show” to drop their sponsorship of the show. Several advertisers drop out. NHMC files a petition to revoke the license of KLSX, a Los Angeles station carrying the show, on the basis that it promotes hate and racism through indecent speech thereby violating the “public trust.”
- In April, NHMC announces its action against three talk show hosts, including Howard Stern, for their shameful remarks regarding Selena.
- Sacramento disk jockey, Jeff Katz, on KSTE-AM, suggests that drivers “should be awarded a sombrero bumper sticker” for hitting undocumented immigrants attempting to cross into the United States from Mexico. Katz added that for every 10 bumper stickers collected a motorist would “earn a free drink or meal at Taco Bell.” NHMC mobilizes the community against Katz and the station. Katz is fired.
- The FCC makes its decision regarding NHMC’s 1993 petition to revoke Disney’s KCAL 9 license renewal for failure to properly recruit and employ Latinos. The license is not revoked but KCAL 9 is fined.
- NHMC extends its boycott to include both Disney and ABC launching the “No Nos Quieren,” campaign targeting Disney products and theme parks. The campaign gains support from Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and California State Senator Richard Polanco, Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus. Molina states, “For me, this campaign starts with my simple decision as a mother not to take my daughter to Disneyland.” Polanco writes to ABC President Eisner: “Given your company’s long, deep association with the state and particularly Los Angeles, I find such reports [with regard to Hispanic employment] disturbing. As you are aware, equal opportunity is critical to the success of our democratic society. All of us lose when there is a perception of unfairness.”
- ABC announces that it will broadcast “Selena,” “A Walk in the Clouds” and “My Family/Mi Familia.” NHMC President and CEO, Alex Nogales, comments that he is glad they are doing this but “they have to do a hell of a lot more.”
- NHMC files petitions to deny against three Disney Radio Stations: KABC(FM), KTZN(AM), and KLOS(FM), for violating the FCC’s equal employment opportunity rules, using evidence drawn from FCC Form 395, the annual employment report that each station is required to file.
- In December, ABC enters into an agreement with the National Council of La Raza to air a two –hour award ceremony during prime time the following summer.
- NHMC announces it will suspend its action against Disney/ABC TV network after eight Latinos are hired/promoted into directorships or vice presidencies. Disney pledges millions of dollars to Hispanic organizations, with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) receiving considerable donations. Disney begins contracting with Latino owned firms.
- NHMC joins the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA). NHLA brings together Hispanic leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, major issues impacting the Latino community and the nation as a whole.
- The National Latino Media Council (NLMC) is established, with NHMC serving as Secretariat. NLMC is an umbrella organization comprised of prominent national Latino groups. NLMC partners with Asian Americans, Native Americans and African Americans to make it an ethnically diverse action.
- On May 28, 1999, Greg Braxton of the Los Angeles Times writes an article revealing that, of the 26 new shows debuting in the fall on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX, not one had a Latino or other person of color in a primary or secondary role. NLMC’s first action is a “BROWNOUT” of ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX.
- As a result of the “BROWNOUT”:
- FOX flies their Senior Vice President to NYC to interview actors of “every ethnicity” for the following year’s shows
- NBC removes a slanderous remark from Will & Grace
- ABC & NBC add more people of color to their schedule
- CBS announces a Latino-themed show
- TV GUIDE launches a 16-page color insert in Spanish.
- NHMC and other NLMC members sign historic Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the presidents and/or CEO’s of ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX to “diversify the Networks’ workforce and Board of Directors, as well as open up procurement opportunities to all people of color.”
- The New York Times writes a front-page story on the efforts of NHMC’s New York chapter to gather ammunition to challenge the license of WSKQ-FM over the content of “El Vacilón por la mañana.” Marta Garcia, the group’s co-chairwoman, said the station’s morning-show fare is not only crass and insulting, but violates Federal Communications Commission regulations against indecency. In 2006, NHMC files a petition to deny with the FCC against WSKQ-FM. The petition is filed on behalf of the Catholic Community of St. Agnes, a Catholic parish in Paterson, New Jersey. The Church sends hundreds of signatures from parishioners as well as recorded examples of radio indecency on tape. Ultimately, NHMC’s actions lead to the departure of the program’s popular host.
- NHMC demands an apology from KFI AM-640 talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, of “The John and Ken Show,” for proceeding to deride, insult and demoralize immigrants by taunting them about their immigration status, level of intelligence and nationality. KFI representatives apologize at an NHMC press conference but the talk show hosts do not appear in person to apologize for their actions.
- The Washington Post reports, “For the second year in a row, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox received lousy grades from a media watchdog that monitors diversity on network television.” Alex Nogales said to the Post, “They can say, ‘We have 30 percent more Latinos’ if we’re talking about the fact that they have one Latino to start with …We’re not talking about hundreds of people. We’re talking twos and threes and fours.”
- NHMC and NLMC launch the first Writers Program, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- NHMC holds its first Local Impact Awards Luncheon.
- NHMC and NLMC release the “Latino Television Study” that challenges the Nielsen Ratings system’s approach to measuring Latino television viewership. The study, conducted by Rincon & Associates of Dallas, Texas, concluded that despite the growing Latino presence in the United States (with 39 million Latinos in the U.S. and 4 million in Puerto Rico commanding estimated buying power of close to $653 billion) Latino television viewers, especially those who watch English-language television, are severely undercounted by Nielsen Media Research. The study points out that the undercounting can lead to the premature cancellation of Latino-themed programs and reluctance among television executives to produce and air new Latino-themed shows. This, in turn, leads to diminished employment opportunities for Latino actors, writers, directors and other behind-the-camera professionals, as well as significant loss of revenue from advertisers seeking to reach Latino audiences.
- NHMC participates in a public campaign to have Nielsen stop the undercounting of Latinos. Two bills are introduced, in both houses of Congress, that would require Nielsen to be accredited by Media Ratings Council (MRC). The legislation doesn’t move forward, but the threat of increased regulation moves Nielsen to make positive changes in their counting of Latinos.
- A grant from the Ford Foundation starts NHMC’s media policy program. NHMC joins forces with a national coalition of media advocates, the Media & Democracy Coalition. NHMC is one of the few organizations in the coalition represented by and representing people of color.
- NHMC files a petition to deny the Comcast/Time Warner Adelphia transfer. Comcast, the largest cable company in the nation, and Time Warner, the second largest, announced a deal to buy the bankrupt Adelphia cable company and divide the properties between them. The deal would give these two companies control of more than half the cable lines in the U.S., as well as dominating the top U.S. regional markets, which would greatly reduce competition.
- The Writers Program is moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Hollywood, California at the suggestion of television network executive Kevin Reilly.
- NLMC and NHMC meet with Public Broadcast System (PBS) representatives to discuss diversity at PBS. Congressman Serrano and other New York leaders attend the meeting. WNET and WGBH, two PBS stations, each produce one third of all national programs airing on PBS. The diversity discussion with PBS will occur over the course of many years.
- NLMC/NHMC organize an FCC hearing on media ownership in Los Angeles. Close to 300 people attend the hearing held at the USC campus. For four and a half hours FCC Commissioners Copps and Adelstein, the only Comissioners who accepted an invitation to attend the hearing, heard the public’s frustrations regarding broadcasters not fulfilling their public interest obligations. Concerns that were brought up at the hearing include the quality of local news reporting, children’s programming and lack of diversity of ownership. Speakers shared their concern with the vulgarities and crass content they hear on Spanish-language radio programs. They asked the FCC to do a better job of monitoring the Spanish-language airwaves. According to the Los Angeles Times, the most impassioned group was one affiliated with Semillas Del Pueblo, a charter school in El Sereno. In June, a talk show host on KABC-AM (790) alleged that the school’s leaders were racist separatists and called for its closure. The school received a bomb threat and had to be evacuated. The school’s co-founder demanded that the FCC revoke the station’s license.
- In October, NHMC partnered with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) in New York to pull off the largest of the three FCC hearings at Hunter College. Close to 600 people were in attendance. Again, only Commissioners Copps and Adelstein accept the invitation to attend the hearing. As the Daily News reported, both Commissioners cited statistics showing blacks, Latinos and Asians own only a tiny percentage of radio and television stations and newspapers.
- A great Latina leader and co-founder of the NHMC, Esther Rentería, passes away at her home in Montebello, California at the age of 67. Esther was a skilled journalist who was committed to increasing the presence of Latinos in broadcast media. In 1969, she was the first Latina to appear in a nightly newscast with the premiere of “Ahora!” on KCET-TV, and in 1970 she worked as an associate producer on “The Siesta Is Over,” a series based on issues relevant to the daily lives of Latinos in the United States.
- The FCC approves the $12.3 billion sale of Univision to Broadcasting Media Partners, Inc. after Univision agrees to pay a record $24 million fine and improve the quality of its children’s programming. NHMC had filed a petition against Univision on the basis that the company had failed to comply with FCC regulations that require broadcasters to show at least three hours a week of educational shows for children. The Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc. (“UCC”) also filed a similar petition against Univision. Both groups argued that Spanish-language teen telenovelas, that Univision aired as children’s programming, did not qualify as kids shows.
- Univision agrees to establish an advisory committee for educational and informational TV programming and conducts training sessions to ensure that its employees understand the FCC rules and policies surrounding the agreement.
- NLMC members meet with Paula Kerger, PBS President, and other PBS executives and consultants to discuss Latino employment, procurement, governance and philanthropy. Ms. Kerger agrees to work towards diversifying all areas at PBS. To this end, Kerger announces the creation of a new position at PBS – Director of the PBS Diversity Initiative.
- The NHMC New York Chapter plays an integral role in the “Defend the Honor” campaign, one of the country’s largest Latino grassroots movements. The campaign was targeted at PBS’s exclusion of Latinos in the documentary, “The War.” After the community uproar, filmmaker Ken Burns agrees to include Latinos in the documentary. “I can’t grasp how a 14-hour documentary on World War II that took six years to complete would exclude the contributions of 500,000 Latinos that served our country proudly. Without the Latino perspective this documentary is inaccurate and should not be broadcast in public television,” said retired Congressman Esteban Torres, NLMC Chair.
- Alex Nogales is invited to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on Localism, Diversity and Media Ownership. Nogales emphasizes to the Senate that the state of minority ownership in the media is in fact ‘in crisis,’ and therefore no changes should be made to the FCC’s current media ownership regulations until the commission completes a comprehensive study of minority ownership. Nogales points out that Latinos comprise 15% of the U.S. population, yet own just 15 of the more than 1,300 full-power commercial television stations in this country. Further, Hispanics own just over 300 radio stations out of more than 10,000 or just under 3 percent.
- NHMC moves to its new headquarters in Pasadena, California.
- NHMC opens a virtual office in Washington DC.
- NHMC begins its leadership role in educating the Latino community about the upcoming Digital TV (DTV) transition. Alex Nogales is featured as an expert guest on a Univision show with Cristina Saralegui.
- NHMC is awarded a Social Science Research Council grant, in partnership with the UCLA Chicano Studies Department, to research hate speech in the media in Los Angeles. This important research is the first of its kind and will produce qualitative information to demonstrate how inflammatory and anti-immigrant rhetoric in the media is manifesting into increased hate crimes against Latinos.
- NHMC kicks off its “Latino Leadership Media Training” program by successfully training California State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-CA, District 22) and Castulo De La Rocha, President & CEO of AltaMed Health Services. The program trains Latino experts across the country and across disciplines on how to effectively deliver their messages on local and national television. Once trained, these qualified spokespeople can be placed on newscasts and public affairs programming. Senator Cedillo, invites NHMC to train the members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.
- NHMC joins the Internet for Everyone (IFE) Campaign, a massive, bipartisan alliance of private- and public-sector groups that works to build popular support, economic clout and political momentum behind a comprehensive national broadband plan. The goal of the IFE is to see that every American gets connected to a fast, affordable, and open Internet – and that our leaders in Washington take a more assertive role in making this happen.
- NHMC holds its first national roundtable discussion with the goal of arriving at legally defensible solutions to hate speech.
- NHMC retains the Institute for Public Representation (IPR) to help combat hate speech in the media. IPR is a public interest law firm and clinical education program at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. IPR attorneys collaborate with NHMC and other civil rights groups to find ways to combat hate speech while at the same time respecting First Amendment freedoms. The IPR hate speech team includes acting director, Victoria Philips, and staff attorney and teaching fellow, Jessica Gonzalez.
- Following President Obama’s election, NHMC takes part in a meeting with administration appointees Kevin Werbach and Susan Crawford, who are responsible for transitioning the FCC and making recommendations for reforms to policy and process. NHMC brings up the needs for FCC to enhance its diversity commitment and presents the following: (1) A more diverse FCC will lead to a better understanding of the impacts of FCC decisions on diverse communities; (2) Media consolidation is resulting in media content that hurts communities; (3) Hate speech is especially impacting Latino communities; (4) Civil rights organizations believe that hate speech is connected to hate crimes; (4) According to the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council there is almost 0% minority employment at non-minority owned stations.
- NHMC hold a national press conference at the Press Club in Washington DC to announce its campaign against hate speech, citing the fact that hate speech and hate crimes against Latinos were at an all-time high. The strategy includes filing a petition of inquiry with the FCC, asking the agency to open a docket to investigate the pervasiveness of hate speech in the media and its possible casual relationship to hate crimes. Over thirty organizations sign a support letter for NHMC’s petition that is directed to the FCC.
- At the press conference, NHMC also unveils preliminary findings of a study conducted by the U.C.L.A. Chicano Research Center which quantifies the types of hate speech utilized by three hate mongering talk show hosts in speaking about Latinos: Michael Savage, John Kobylt and Ken Chaimpou, and Lou Dobbs.
- NHMC also asks the National Television and Information Administration (NTIA) for an update on its 1993 report titled “The Role of Communications in Hate Crimes.” The Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), and Congressman Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, write a letter to the NTIA asking the agency to update its 1993 report. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) asks Secretary of Commerce, Carlos M. Gutierrez, for an update on the NTIA study. In his letter Senator Menendez states:
- “Day after day, we hear rhetoric like: ‘the Latino invasion’, ‘illegal alien lobby’, ‘amnesty agenda’, ‘criminal illegal aliens’, and ‘socio-ethnocentric interest groups’ broadcast on our nation’s television, radio and internet outlets. I am concerned that this rhetoric could have a harmful effect on the portrayal and safety of our nation’s immigrant population, as well as our Latino communities as a whole.”
- NHMC honors Labor Secretary Nominee Hilda Solis in a reception in Washington, DC, for being a great champion to the Latino Committee during her time serving on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
- Representatives from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for American Progress and the Asian Pacific Law Center joined NHMC in meetings with the presidents of news and their executive staffs of ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo and Univison to ask that balance be adhered to in news reports and public affairs programs touching on immigration.
- NHMC hires Jessica Gonzalez as a full-time media and telecommunications attorney to work on legal and regulatory issues and submit filings as necessary.
- NHMC begins efforts to remove Lou Dobbs, one of the worst anti-Latino pundits, from CNN. The NHMC New York Chapter proposes a unity “Summit” in Washington, DC, that brings together community coalitions fighting against CNN/Lou Dobbs’ hateful immigration rhetoric. At the Summit, it is agreed that Nogales will meet with CNN’s President, Jon Klein, to urge him to have Dobbs return to being a credible journalist or to fire him immediately. Nogales meets with Klein and Lou Dobbs announces his resignation within a week.
- NHMC advocates for network neutrality rules to ensure equal treatment online. It represents Latinos for Internet Freedom and the Media Action Grassroots Network, two coalitions which together comprise several hundred organizations from across the country, in comments to the FCC advocating for network neutrality regulations over wireless devices. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn publicly commended NHMC for its advocacy in her speech at the Minority Media and Telecommunication Council’s Broadband and Social Justice Summit, quoting directly from NHMC’s comments.
- With support from the Four Freedoms Fund, NHMC facilitates relationship building between Spanish-language media and the immigration rights movements, specifically around the campaign for comprehensive immigration reform and anti-hate speech work.
- NHMC and its allies in the Latino community sign a watershed Memorandum of Understanding with Comcast and NBCU. In this MOU, Comcast and NBCU commit to enhance opportunities for Latinos in their employment ranks, procurement practices, philanthropic endeavors, governance and programming services.
- NHMC Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs, Jessica Gonzalez, briefs Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members on the importance of broadband in the Latino community at the CHC BOLD PAC Retreat. A few days letter she presents on the same issue to a packed room of Congressional Hispanic Caucus staffers.
- Alex Nogales joins San Diego community leaders in a meeting with Union Tribune editor, Jeff Light, to discuss recent layoffs of Latino journalists, including famed national columnist Ruben Navarrette. Union Tribune is receptive to the meeting and creates a new Latino advisory board to provide recommendations for how the newspaper may best serve the Hispanic community.
- The FCC adopts several of NHMC’s recommendations to improve its program that partially subsidizes internet connections in schools and libraries. NHMC applauds the FCC’s decision to allow government-funded school internet hubs to remain open after school hours for community use. In addition, the FCC adopts NHMC’s recommendation to simplify the application process so that schools with scant resources can still access these discounts.
- NHMC organizes nearly forty organizations from across the country to send a letter urging the FCC to reinstate broadcasters’ obligation to submit equal employment opportunity data for public inspection.
- NHMC mobilizes over two dozen immigrant rights groups to send a letter to the FCC urging it to ensure that the various text message campaigns designed to mobilize people for social justice be allowed to operate without interference from telephone companies.
- After several years of working with a coalition of organizations urging passage of the Local Community Radio Act, the bill is passed in December of 2010. This is a historic victory in that it is the first time that the media reform movement has passed a bill in Congress. NHMC plays a key role in getting the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to support the bill, as well gaining support from Congressman José Serrano (D-NY), then Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing FCC funds.
- NHMC celebrates its 25th anniversary.
- NHMC, along with its media reform allies, fight against AT&T’s bid to acquire T-Mobile. NHMC finds that the acquisition would lead to higher prices, fewer choices and less jobs for all consumers, and particularly Latino consumers. NHMC files a petition to deny the merger with the FCC, joined by the National Institute for Latino Policy. NHMC writes op-eds and blogs, and tapes videos and radio interviews to educate the public about the harms of the merger. In August of 2011, the Department of Justice sues to block the merger.
- For four years NHMC urged the FCC to retain limits on media consolidation under the premise that diverse owners tell diverse stories, allowing greater opportunities for Latinos’ stories to be told. In 2011, the Third Circuit Court held, in a case called Prometheus Radio Project vs. FCC II, that the FCC’s relaxation of media ownership rules was inappropriate and that before any further rule changes the FCC must thoroughly examine how those changes will impact the ability of people of color to become broadcast owners.
[On NHMC’s strategy from “This is Not a Border”: “With respect to the coalition, its strategy is based on the usual confrontation between the industry and an oppositional identity, but the resulting reforms produce a hybrid entity.”]
 Noriega, Chon, “This Is Not a Border.”
 Noriega, Chon. “This is Not a Border.”
 Noriega, C. “This is Not a Border.”