KENW exploring Spanish broadcast channel

Freedom New Mexico

Portales based KENW-TV is exploring the possibilities of broadcasting a third standard definition channel in Spanish in the next few years.

“We have been in discussions with to broadcast their satellite programing to our area,” said KENW Director of Broadcasting Duane Ryan.

Ryan said adding the Spanish channel to the KENW broadcast has been a project the staff has been working on for several years.

“When first approached us, they wanted us to enter into a 10-year contract,” Ryan said. “That simply is not possible without funding being determined yearly by the legislature.”

KENW is located on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University. Ryan said each year 50 percent of the station’s budget is determined by the state’s legislature. He said 25 percent is from the station and university’s fundraising and the remaining 25 percent is federal funding for broadcasting.

“We could not legally enter into such a lengthy contract,” Ryan said. “There are several factors to consider in making this decision.”

Ryan said the station or university could have found a different use for the station which better serves the community. He said the year-to-year funding fluctuating in the legislature was another issue.

“To add this channel would provide a valuable service to the Spanish speaking residents,” Ryan said. “Fortunately, Veme is willing to work with us in a five-year contract with an escape clause in the event our funding is limited by the Legislature.”

Ryan said increasing the diversity of KENW’s broadcasting has been a part of the university’s strategic plan.

“In short, it’s a matter of money and being able to afford the new encoders to allow us to broadcast the channel,” Ryan said.

Currently KENW broadcasts one high definition channel and two standard definition channels. Ryan said new encoders would allow KENW to broadcast a third standard channel.

“In time, if the funding were to allow, we could substitute some of the Veme’s programing with locally produced Spanish shows,” Ryan said.

Ryan said this is a project which is two to three years down the road. He said the station and university will continue to explore and seek the money to bring Veme’s programing to the area.

“We are always looking to provide the area with useful and education programing,” Ryan said.