Atlanta in Espanol

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WSB-TV Atlanta last week began translating its signal into Spanish, apparently the first such outreach in the area and a long overdue one, according to News Director Ray Carter.

"How could a city this size, with the Hispanic population growing so fast, not have this? I blame myself. I should have done this two years ago."

Interpreters will cost the station between $75,000 and $100,000 a year, but that should be more than recouped by the additional eyeballs and advertisers. Atlanta's local Hispanic population is approaching 10% of the overall market. The station is considering translating other newscasts and local programming.

After several stops on the station's "listening tour" into local communities, Carter said, the area's top-rated station realized that, although there are Spanish-language cable networks received on local sets, "local television is nonexistent in the Spanish-speaking community." Meanwhile, he noted, other media flourish.

Those other media helped the station get big promotional benefits last week without spending a dime beyond its own on-air campaign, Carter said. "We were a front-page story on all six Spanish-language weeklies," he said, "and we've been mentioned by every radio station in the local Spanish language market."

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