WSOC (Channel 9) will launch a Spanish sub-channel this summer carrying programming from the Telemundo network, including World Cup soccer.
Telemundo Charlotte will air on channel 9.2, available to viewers with digital over-the-air TV receivers. LaffTV, the comedy channel currently at that dial position, will move to channel 64.4 at sister station WAXN (Channel 64).
Channel 9 is looking to develop a local 30-minute Spanish newscast for the channel in the future, said Joe Pomilla, WSOC’s general manager. Before launching, the station needs to conduct detailed research on the needs and interests of Charlotte-area Hispanic viewers, he said.
Simply translating the regular content of the Eyewitness News brand from its primary channels won’t serve the Latino community in ways it needs to be served, he said. Local advertisers will also be able to place commercials on the station’s shows, Pomilla said.
It will be the second over-the-air Spanish TV signal in the region. Norsan Media, which operates radio stations including LaRaza 106.1 FM and Latina 102.3 FM and the weekly newspaper Hola Noticias, operates WECC (Channel 16) on a low-power signal that reaches most of the urban core and carries the Estrella TV network.
Charlotte is the fastest-growing Hispanic region in the two Carolinas and the third fastest-growing in the Southeast, according to census data, with the Latino population up 177 percent since 2000.
It will be the first time that Telemundo, a subsidiary of NBC Universal known for its popular Spanish soap operas called telenovelas, will be available over-the-air for free in Charlotte on a strong 1,000 KW transmitter. It will continue to be carried on paid cable and satellite systems.
Time Warner Cable (now owned by Charter Communications) and other cable and satellite systems will also carry the Telemundo Charlotte channel under present agreements with WSOC.
Telemundo has the Spanish rights for the upcoming FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.