Working with Hispanic Media Ain’t Like It Used to Be

By Deborah Charnes

Not unlike so many other PRSA members, I too, got my start in media.  Several decades ago, I worked for a Spanish-language TV station. Although I met plenty of Latino superstars, it was not a glamour job. I worked back in the days when everything was strung together by hardworking well-meaning people with no financial or human resources to deliver the equivalent of a “60 Minutes,” “American Idol” or “Sábado Gigante.” Yet, we produced about ten hours of live programming a day from a weathered studio on the 32nd floor of the Board of Trade Building in Chicago that gave “Soul Train” its first stage and television audience.

I learned the ropes, and it was never dull. I wrote all Spanish-language public service scripts, created all public relations and marketing materials, occasionally helped with talent screen checks, recorded voice-overs if talent was on vacation or on strike, “bicycled” the 200 chapters of our novelas with other TV stations, and frequently called advertisers to be sure their checks were “in the mail.”  We all worked like a family to pitch in and get things done, even though most of the tasks were beyond our job description and leagues beyond our training. A few had prior radio or print background, but certainly there were no graduates of fine state of the arts multi-media communications programs like those that exist today.
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