February 2005

In this issue:

  • 8th Annual Impact Awards Gala
  • 2005 Latino Television Writers Program
  • Status of the Nielsen Ratings Issue
  • Broken Promises — Comcast Corporation
  • Radio Pornografía
  • Bill of Citizens’ Media Rights
  • Recommended Programs with Latino leads
  • Calendar of Events
  • How to Contact Us

8th Annual Impact Awards Gala

Our annual start-studded Gala is scheduled to take place on February 25th from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, 9500 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The Mistress of Ceremonies for the black tie affair will be the beautiful Eva Longoria of the Golden Globe winner television series Desperate Housewives. During this special evening, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Academy Award Nominee for Best Actress in Maria Full of Grace, will receive the “Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture Impact Award” and the legendary Vikki Carr will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Vikki Carr is one of the best‑loved and most accomplished entertainers in the United States, Latin America and Europe. The three‑time Grammy Award winner, whose international success spans four decades, has released 59 best‑selling recordings. She has performed for the Queen of England, five United States Presidents, wartime soldiers in Vietnam and sold‑out audiences around the world. She has worked in radio, television, film and theater. Her music embraces two languages and she is among the first artists to bridge the cultures of the United States and Latin America, paving the way for many performers today. Two other Latino academy award nominees will also be present to receive Impact Awards: Jorge Drexler – Original Song for “Al Otro Lado Del Río” from THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES and José Rivera – Adapted Screenplay for THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES. Univision, the leading Spanish-language media company in the United States, will also be honored for its commitment to the Latino community. For more information please call us at 213-746-6988.

2005 Latino Television Writers Program

For the third year in a row, the National Latino Media Council is holding its Latino Writers Program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The program is administered by NHMC and sponsored by NBC and ABC. Ten writers are selected to participate and for a four-week period are housed outside of their regular environment with fellow writers and put to work writing the best television script they can produce. This year, the following writers are currently in Albuquerque participating in the program:
  1. Davan Avena
  2. Yolanda Ferraloro
  3. Rafael Garcia
  4. Jessica Lopez
  5. Dolores Martin
  6. Don Perez
  7. Luis Remesar
  8. Ivan Rodriguez
  9. Fermin Saldaña
  10. Christopher Sariego
“The program is intense,” states alumni Victor de Jesus “they whip us into shape”. After the four-week period the writers’ scripts are read by Network executives with the expectation that some of the writers will be hired. “The program is important because it is the writers who tell the stories Americans watch on television across the nation,” says Alex Nogales, President/CEO of NHMC. “We need Latino writers to tell our Latino stories, to bring forth our characters, values and points of view. No one else can do it, we need to do it.” Already the writers’ program has achieved success. From the first cycle of writers that attended the program in 2003, one of the participants, Victor de Jesus is now a staff writer for NBC’s Third Watch. Victor says, “I’m making more money then I’ve ever made before and I wouldn’t be sitting in this desk if it wasn’t for the Writers’ Program. It’s not that I didn’t believe in myself, I did. But I don’t think I would have achieved recognition and success in such a short time period without participating in the Program.” Victor’s first solo written episode ran in January of this year, his next solo project will air in April. We celebrate Victor’s achievements and look forward to celebrating more successes!

Status of the Nielsen Ratings Issue

The Nielsen Ratings measure what television audiences are watching locally and nationally. “For decades we have known that Nielsen was undercounting Latinos,” said Frank Zuñiga, NHMC Chair. “We were just not in a position to do anything about it.” This changed in February 2004, when NHMC together with the National Latino Media Council released their Latino Television Study that challenged 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 (currently at 39 million in the U.S. and 4 million in Puerto Rico, and with an 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 pointed 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 to significant loss of revenue from advertisers seeking to reach Latino audiences. The study results pointed out the need:
1.       for external audits to verify the accuracy of the Nielsen estimates of Latino television    audiences;
2.      for expanding the variety of programming targeted to U.S.-born Latinos, and
3.      for evaluation of the entertainment needs and preferences of both U.S.- and foreign-born Latinos.
Thanks to the pressure we and our allies have placed on the company, Nielsen recently announced a plan to fund $2.5 million in methodological research on TV audience measurement by an independent third party.   This is a great first step in getting Nielsen to change its methodology to accurately count Latinos and other people of color. We will also continue our Congressional efforts on this issue. Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, a former broadcaster and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications (Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation)has written to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking whether FTC has jurisdiction on investigating Nielsen’s measurement methodologies and if not, asking how Congress can give FTC that authority. We are awaiting FTC’s response. Bottom line, as a result of Nielsen’s undercounting Latinos are missing out on employment, both in front and back of camera, and procurement opportunities; and our children are not seeing positive Latino role models they can emulate. “This issue is a critical one,” stated Alex Nogales “we will continue the fight until Nielsen makes the necessary changes in their methodology and starts counting us correctly.”

Broken Promises — Comcast Corporation

On January 10, 2005 NHMC hosted a meeting to develop a national strategy for addressing the lack of responsiveness from Comcast Communications to the concerns of the Latino leadership community. Those that attended included members of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus: Congressman Joe Baca, Congresswoman Hilda Solis and a representative from Congressman Xavier Becerra’s office. Other National Hispanic Leaders present included former Congressman Esteban Torres, President of the National Latino Media Council; Janet Murguía, President of the National Council; Jerry Velasco, President of Nosotros; Jeff Penichet, MAOF/NLMC; and Marta Samano, President & CEO, Academy of Latino Leaders in Action Two years ago, when Comcast acquired AT&T Broadband the company provided information to the Hispanic Congressional Caucus on its composition of Latino employment, contracting and production. The numbers were bleak and Comcast stated its commitment to increasing opportunities for Latinos in the company. Since then the corporation has not met its commitments to address the concerns that were identified by community leaders and no updated reports have been provided. As a result of this meeting a letter will be sent to the Chairman, CEO and President of Comcast Corporation, Brian Roberts requesting an update on the current composition of Latino employment, contracting and production and requesting a meeting with him. Representatives of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will sign the letter and will meet with Comcast. “With the recent trend of mass media consolidation, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure continued progress for Latinos in the way we are portrayed in media and in our representation in media employment and procurement,” says former Congressman Esteban Torres. The National Latino Media Council will head this effort and we will keep you informed on the progress.

Radio Pornografía

Howard Stern started pornographic radio in the United States. Seeing his success, Spanish-language radio station deejays began imitating him in order to raise their ratings. Some Latino deejays have now gone far beyond Stern. NHMC has launched its Campaign Against Radio Pornography. “We are not extremists, prudes, or right-wing conservatives,” said Alex Nogales. “We are simply parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of children who are exposed to this pornographic material on a daily basis.” We can’t have success with our campaign without YOUR help. We are asking you to record any obscene broadcasts that you hear in the U.S. Spanish-language radio stations so that we can bring legal action against the stations that are permitting this type of activity to go on. The First Amendment’s right to free speech does not protect obscene broadcasts. Obscene is defined by the FCC as material that:
  1. Is meant to arouse or appeal to sexual desires; and
  2. Describes or represents sexual conduct in an obviously offensive manner; and
  3. Has no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Note that the offending material must meet ALL three of these rules to be considered obscene. Here is how you can help rid the airwaves of this pornographic material:
  1. Record the obscene material on a cassette recorder that has a counter.
  2. Each cassette MUST be labeled with the following information
·         The date and time of the broadcast of the obscene content.
·         The call sign of the radio station involved (e.g. WXYZ). Please do not include more than one radio station per cassette.
·         The counter number where the obscene materials begins (when starting at the beginning of the cassette from “000”). If you are including more than one obscene recording on the same cassette, please list the counter number locations for each of the obscene recordings.
  1. Provide us with a written description or transcript of the obscene material so we know what to look for on the cassette.
  2. Mail your cassette(s) to:
Inez Gonzalez
Director of Media Policy
National Hispanic Media Coalition
2514 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Please protect the cassette to avoid damage during delivery. Once we receive your cassettes, we will review them to confirm they meet the FCC criteria for obscene broadcasts. If they do, our attorneys will file a petition to deny or revoke the broadcaster’s license. The license is worth millions of dollars, and broadcasters would be aghast if it were taken away from them, or if they were fined so heavily that it would affect their bottom line or their ability to bring in advertising revenue. To get more involved with our campaign, contact Inez Gonzalez at (213) 746-1158, or via e-mail at igonzalez@nhmc.org

Bill of Citizens’ Media Rights

NHMC has joined forces with a national coalition of media organizations to promote the Bill of Citizens’ Media Rights. The Bill was developed in response to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that allowed for massive and unprecedented corporate media consolidation and deregulation that caused significant harm to our democracy and culture, not to mention reducing the opportunities for Latinos in the industry who already have minimal ownership and representation. The Bill is a milestone in the media reform movement that presents a positive and unified vision for a competitive, diverse, and independent media to better serve our nation’s democracy and culture, today and tomorrow.   Currently, we are gathering signatures from organizations only, but in the near future the Bill will be released for individual citizens to sign. By signing onto the Bill, organizations are joining the multitude of individuals and organizations that believe a free and vibrant media, full of diverse and competing voices, is the lifeblood of America’s democracy and culture, as well as an engine of growth for its economy. After several organizations take the pledge we will ask them to reach out to their constituents to sign a petition in support of the Bill. Our goal is to enlist millions of Americans behind the Bill. And, when the time comes to fight industry lobbyists at the local, state and federal levels, we will have sufficient popular support to force legislators to listen to our side of the story. Media reform will only happen if we organize across party lines and communities and commit to building a system that will serve our nation for generations to come. The time to act is now. For more information go to http://www.citizensmediarights.org/ Let us act now so that Latinos have the opportunity to own and run media properties.

Recommended Programs with Latino leads

Newest show: Jonny Zero       Fridays on Fox 9:00 p.m. et/pt Franky G., the New York Puerto Rican native, stars in this new FOX series released on January 14. The comedy-drama is favored to become a hit. Produced by the same team behind The West Wing, Third Watch and ER, the series is about an ex-con trying to stay away from trouble. Jonny Zero tries to use his knowledge and contacts to solve crimes and help people that can’t help themselves. Franky G. is a great actor and we wish him success in his new series. Strong Medicine                                        Sundays on Lifetime 9 p.m. et/pt                                                                         Weekdays on Lifetime 4:00 p.m. et/pt Patricia Richardson and Latina Rosa Blasi-Finn star as passionate female physicians Dr. Andy Campbell and Dr. Luisa Delgado at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hospital. The medical drama show takes a new approach to the traditional medical drama by using a woman’s perspective. Not only is the show entertaining, the episodes are medically accurate and take on tough, controversial issues that provide the audience some enlightenment into modern medicine. Desperate Housewives                          Sundays on ABC 10:00 p.m. et/pt The #1 hit in the nation with beautiful and vivacious Eva Longoria in one of the star roles. A primetime soap with a truly contemporary take on “happily every after,” this hour- long drama takes a darkly comedic look at suburbia, where the secret lives of housewives aren’t always what they seem. George Lopez                                             Tuesdays on ABC 8:30 p.m. et/pt Starring popular standup comedian George Lopez; Lopez is an assembly line worker who’s been promoted to manage a Los Angeles airplane parts factory, and whose job and busy family life are complicated by the presence of his stubborn, insensitive mother (Belita Moreno), Benny. The hit family comedy series also stars Constance Marie as Angie, George’s loving wife who has limited patience in dealing with her overbearing mother-in-law; Masiela Lusha as Carmen, their bright daughter who is just entering her teenage years; Luis Armand Garcia as Max, their adorable but precocious nine-year old son; and Valente Rodriguez as Ernie, George’s best friend and an employee at the factory.

Calendar of Events

Latino Writers’ Program February 12 – March 14, Albuquerque New Mexico For more information read “2005 Latino Television Writers Program” in this issue. 8th Annual NHMC Annual Impact Awards February 25, Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills For more information read “8th Annual Impact Awards Gala ” in this issue. National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Conference March 3 – 6, Hilton Waterfront Resort, Huntington Beach The conference brings together the field of Latino/a film, television, documentary and new media producers, directors, writers, performers, funders, educators, advocates, curators and students to celebrate the Latino Wave, collaborate and examine roadblocks to our progress. NALIP’s mission is to promote the advancement, development and funding of Latino and Latina film and media arts in all genres. 12th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival March 10-20, Mann Theaters at Hazard Center The 2005 San Diego Latino Film Festival will include expanded opportunities for participating filmmakers and their films/videos to take the spotlight. The following is just a taste of what filmmakers and attendees can experience by participating at the upcoming San Diego Latino Film Festival: 100 feature and short films to be screened; over 100 guest filmmakers and actors; SDLFF Awards Competition; Latino New Media & Entertainment Sidebar; Workshops/Seminars with industry representatives and filmmakers (i.e. “Financing”, “Distribution”); Screenplay Contest; 1st Annual Latino On-line Festival; SDLFF’s “Top Ten to Watch”; Celebrity Guest Curator; annual showcase of “Latinos in TV”; “Tributes” to acclaimed filmmakers/actors; Concerts @ the Fest; Pre-Fest Launch Parties; “Best of Fest” showcase; Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing Night Gala Celebrations; the SDLFF Awards Ceremony; Student Outreach Screenings; “Meet the Filmmaker” Dialogues; and, SDLFF’s Annual “Cine Cubano” Sidebar. 12th Annual BMI Latin Awards             April 21, Las Vegas BMI is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters and composers. The BMI Latin Awards recognize the songwriters and publishers of the most played Latin songs on U.S. radio and television from the company’s repertoire of approximately 4.5 million musical works from around the world. This year, Carlos Santana will be Honored as BMI Icon.

How to contact us

National Hispanic Media Coalition
2514 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Tel: (213) 746-6988
Fax: (213) 746-1305
www.nhmc.org
Alex Nogales                                                 Acasia Flores
President/CEO                                             Executive Assistant to the President
anogales@nhmc.org                                   aflores@nhmc.org
Claudia Flores                                              Inez Gonzalez
Director of Operations                               Director of Media Policy
cflores@nhmc.org                                       igonzalez@nhmc.org
This e-newsletter is published by NHMC for those interested in media advocacy on behalf of the Latino community. Correspondence, including requests to subscribe or unsubscribe, should be directed to info@nhmc.org
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