Local Hispanic newscaster Marco Dominguez will debut a weekly radio program on Saturday, but only after his ambitious television project folded within a year of launching.
Dominguez’s new show will explore issues important to Indianapolis’ Hispanic community and will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on local Hispanic station WNTS-AM 1590.
His latest effort to reach the city’s sizable Hispanic population is a far cry from what he had envisioned when he launched IndyVision TV in April 2009. Advertisers didn’t share his enthusiasm, however.
“We had to close because of the economic situation, the lack of advertisers,” Dominguez said. “We had an excellent amount of viewers. Unfortunately, it’s hard for people to compete with regular TV stations.”
IndyVision attracted 147,000 viewers in March, the last full month the newscast aired on Comcast’s on-demand tier, as well as on IndyVision’s Web site, Dominguez said.
He taped the half-hour newscast at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday from a studio in his office on North Senate Avenue. A 30-minute interview segment featuring a prominent member of the Hispanic community followed. Each day’s newscast was available to view on-demand for the next 72 hours.
IndyVision had eight employees, including Dominguez’s co-anchor, Veronica Millan.
Banks, car dealerships, churches and a Hispanic supermarket were among the news program’s supporters.
“But it wasn’t enough,” Dominguez acknowledged. “It was hard for me to continue.”
The native Venezuelan is a familiar face in the Hispanic community. Before launching the failed IndyVision, he broadcast on WISH-TV Channel 8’s sister station, WIIH-TV Channel 17, which featured national Hispanic Univision programming. He also served as its station manager and co-anchor. That station now broadcasts local weather forecasts.
Dominguez left WIIH in December 2008 after WISH parent LIN TV Corp. couldn’t reach a new agreement with Univision.
Indianapolis’ Hispanic population has exploded in the past decade, lured by jobs mostly in the hospitality and residential construction sectors.
The U.S. Census Bureau in 2008 estimated that more than 78,000 Hispanics resided in Indianapolis, compared to 30,636 in 2000. Statewide, the number grew from 214,500 in 2000 to nearly 318,000 two years ago.
Yet advertisers are slow to embrace Hispanic programming, said Sue Doron, media director of EchoPoint Media, Indianapolis-based ad agency Young & Laramore’s media-buying arm.
“If I’ve just got a general budget and I’m trying to sell something, that’s probably not where I’m going to put my money,” she said. “Then you have the issue of people knowing how to find you.”
Indeed, a cable television provider’s on-demand tier isn’t the best venue to capture the Hispanic population, particularly when the majority prefer satellite TV, said Russ Dodge, former general manager of local radio stations WEDJ-FM 107.1 and WSYW-AM 810, which broadcast in Spanish.
He thinks Dominguez’s scaled down, two-hour radio show on WNTS can be more successful than his television news program, though, particularly because he is paired with Rafael Bravo. He once had his own show on WSYW.
“These are two people who are relatively known in the community,” he said. “People will pay attention to it.”
Their new show is called "En La Mira," which means "to zero in on."
Dominguez recently joined the Finance Center Federal Credit Union on East 56th Street as its director of community sales.