Spanish-lingo web inks affiliate station

The Spanish-lingo Telemundo network has signed up an affiliate station in Philadelphia after a three-year absence from the nation’s fourth-largest TV market.

The deal with indie outlet WTVE comes as another sign of renewed vigor at Telemundo, which is in the midst of being acquired by Sony Corp. and Liberty Media. WTVE is now the only full-power VHF station offering Spanish-lingo programming in Philadelphia, No. 17 on the list of top Hispanic TV markets.

Telemundo’s share of the Hispanic market is dwarfed by rival Univision, which has a low-power affiliate in the market that rebroadcasts the signal from its Gotham O&O, WXTV. In an effort to gain a competitive edge, WTVE aims to launch a local Spanish-lingo newscast by the end of this year.

WTVE is currently offering 11 hours of Telemundo programming, with the balance of its sked filled out with English-lingo movies, infomercials and some locally produced fare. The station, owned by Philly-based Reading Broadcasting, may convert to an entirely Spanish sked next year, according to a spokeswoman.

In all, Telemundo has eight O&Os, including outposts in the top three TV markets, and more than 50 station affils covering about 85% of the nation’s Hispanic TV households. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to give its blessing to the $440 million acquisition of the web by the Sony-Liberty partnership in the fall.

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