Azteca América (Spanish pronunciation: [asˈteka], sometimes shortened to Azteca) is an American Spanish-language free-to-air television network that is owned by HC2 Holdings, which acquired the network from the Azteca International Corporation subsidiary of TV Azteca.
Headquartered in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, California, the network's programming is aimed at the Hispanic and Latin American communities in the United States and has access to programming from TV Azteca's three television national networks in Mexico, including a library with over 200,000 hours of original programming and news content from local bureaus in 32 Mexican states. Its programming consists of a mix of telenovelas, Liga MX matches, sports, news programming, and reality and variety series.
Azteca is available on pay television (primarily carried on dedicated Spanish language programming tiers, except in some markets with a free-the-air affiliate), with local stations in over 60 markets with large Hispanic and Latin American populations (reaching 89% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. The network's former flagship station KAZA-TV in Los Angeles (until January 2018) was the highest-rated station in Azteca's portfolio.
President and CEO Manuel Abud has led the company since March 3, 2014.
|Type||Spanish language free-to-air television network|
|Founded||September 8, 2000 |
by Ricardo Salinas Pliego
|Owner||HC2 Holdings Inc.|
|Manuel Abud, President and CEO, Azteca America|
|July 28, 2001|
|Azteca América (2001–2014), Azteca (2014–2015)|
(formatted to downconverted widescreen in many markets)
|Affiliates||List of affiliates|
The network was formed through a programming alliance between Mexico-based broadcaster TV Azteca and Visalia, California-based television station owner Pappas Telecasting Companies announced on September 8, 2000; the two companies planned to launch a new Spanish language broadcast network during the second quarter of 2001, that would act as a competitor to established networks Univision and Telemundo. TV Azteca, which planned to own 20% of the network, contributed an exclusive programming agreement in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, while Pappas, which owned a majority 80% interest, planned to have stations it owned in ten markets – three already owned by the network, and seven that Pappas was in the process of acquiring in Nevada, Arizona and Texas (most of which were low-power stations) – serve as charter stations of the network, which was originally named Azteca América. Pappas and Azteca invested close to $500 million to start up the network, with an additional $450 million allocated for station acquisitions and a $129 million loan made by TV Azteca to Pappas. The network hoped to reach 65% to 70% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. by 2002.
TV Azteca, which was formed in 1993, launched the network to capitalize on its success with its two television stations in Mexico City – XHDF-TV (channel 13) and XHIMT-TV (channel 7), respectively branded as "Azteca Trece" and "Azteca Siete" – which maintained a lineup of programs, including telenovelas and other serialized dramas with socially relevant themes, that helped it quickly grow to maintain a 36% ratings share during prime time against competition from the longer established and dominant Televisa networks. Azteca founder Ricardo Salinas Pliego had made previous attempts at entering into U.S. television during the late 1990s; it made a failed attempt to acquire an equity interest in Telemundo in 1998, but eventually agreed to a short-lived co-production and program distribution agreement with the network. In 1999, the network also tried to negotiate a joint venture with the upstart Hispanic Television Network; CEO Marco Camacho had also rejected an exclusive content agreement between HTVN and Azteca due to questions over the appeal of the latter's programming to Latino Americans, although a spokesman for TV Azteca stated that the network pulled out due to a lack of confidence in HTVN's overall national distribution.
On December 21, 2000, the Pappas-Azteca joint venture received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch a full-power television station in Los Angeles, California (where it would base its headquarters), KIDN-TV (channel 54) – which was later reassigned the call letters KAZA-TV prior to its launch. The network, through both companies, planned to acquire stations in twelve markets to serve as Azteca América's charter stations. The plans for the network were eventually scaled down, as a slowdown of the world economy hurt Azteca América's plans to secure financing to purchase stations in Dallas (where Pappas-Azteca attempted to acquire independent station KXTX, which was bought by Telemundo instead for $65 million) and El Paso, Texas. Also playing a factor was the December 2000 purchase of USA Broadcasting's thirteen major-market television stations by Univision Communications, which prevented the network from initially obtaining charter stations in major markets such as New York City and Miami; the Pappas-Azteca venture also called off a $37.5 million deal to purchase WSAH (now WZME) in Bridgeport, Connecticut from Shop at Home, Inc. (which would have given Azteca América a station in the New York City market) in November 2000.
KAZA-TV signed on the air as Azteca América's lone station on July 28, 2001, as part of a phased rollout cited by lower viewership during the summer months; Pappas also announced that it would switch some of its existing stations to Azteca América and attempt to purchase additional stations with the intent of affiliating them with the network. In October 2001, TV Azteca announced that it would scrap plans to buy additional stations and instead distribute Azteca América's programming through agreements struck through prospective affiliates, with Pappas and TV Azteca sharing 50% ownership of the network.
Pappas Telecasting Companies gave up its majority stake in Azteca America in early 2002. The network eventually grew to nine affiliates by that September, reaching 28% of the Hispanic market, with stations added in markets such as Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco; and Sacramento, California. The network eventually gained an affiliate in the lucrative Miami market in November 2002, when it affiliated with WPMF-LP (channel 31); this was followed later that year by WNYN-LP in New York City.
By the next year, Azteca América was reaching 52% of the U.S. Hispanic population. In 2003, the network covered 69% of the Hispanic audience; that number increased to 77% by 2004. In the summer of 2006, the network relocated its corporate headquarters to the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, California.
Also in April 2007, Pappas Telecasting Companies announced that it would discontinue its relationship with Azteca América, and disaffiliate the network from stations it owned in several markets (such as Houston and San Francisco). Pappas attempted to launch a new network from those stations, TuVisión, made up of mainly acquired programming, to little success. In May 2008, Azteca América announced that it would layoff about 30 employees in a cost-cutting measure amid a weak advertising market due to the deepening recession at the time.
An odd decision made by Azteca at this time was the launch of a DirecTV-exclusive companion channel known as Azteca México, which aired on channel 442 next to Azteca América's channel 441 and carried a schedule of programming from Azteca 7, Azteca Trece and adn40 combined into one schedule and often aired live with their Mexican sister channels, and in competition with Azteca América at times. It was discontinued in October 2016 with Estrella TV assuming the channel 442 slot.
At the network's upfront presentation in New York City on May 13, 2014, the network announced that it would be changing its name to simply Azteca, citing that the change "reflects the network's core audience, an audience composed of the market segment that makes up the largest portion of the U.S. Hispanic market." The network phased in the revised branding on-air later that month. Azteca has been inching up in market share against its larger competitors thanks to strategic changes spearheaded by president-CEO Manuel Abud, who was president of Telemundo's station group before joining Azteca in 2014.
Azteca lost several affiliates as part of the launch of Fox Networks Group/RCN Televisión's joint effort network MundoFox in fall 2013; however it gained several back and never lost much ratings ground by the time MundoFox (by that time MundoMax) ended operations in December 2016, a year after Fox backed out of the joint venture.
On November 29, 2017, it was announced that TV Azteca sold this American counterpart to HC2 Holdings in New York City. The transaction closed that same day. Azteca will still retain some rights on part of its programming inventory, marketing, advertising sales, assets finance and operations. The transaction also included a seven-year programming and services agreement that will allow HC2 Network to have access, under certain rules, to TV Azteca's library and programming in Mexico, including top entertainment shows, talk shows, reality programs, network and local news, as well as telenovelas and other scripted series.
As of 2015, Azteca América operates on a 150-hour network programming schedule. It provides various types of general entertainment programming to owned-and-operated and affiliated stations Monday through Fridays from 3:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. All other time periods are filled with infomercials. Affiliates are allowed the option to carry local programming – including local public affairs programs, local brokered programming and, less commonly, newscasts – in place of regular programming or infomercials aired within the base Azteca schedule.
The network's programming includes weekend broadcasts of Mexican soccer matches, family game shows, reality and drama series, telenovelas and news programming. Regular series airing on the network include the "caught-on-tape"-focused newsmagazine Al Extremo ("The Extreme"), and the 7pm family hour, La Hora Ganadora ("The Winning Hour"). Azteca also airs a five-hour block of Spanish-dubbed American programs aimed at children in a split-schedule format each Saturday and Sunday morning (with the first two hours airing Saturdays and the final three on Sundays), designed to meet the Federal Communications Commission's educational and informational programming requirements.
The U.S.-based Azteca network features content sourced from TV Azteca's three television stations in Mexico City – XHDF-TDT (flagship of the Azteca Trece network), XHIMT-TDT (flagship for the Azteca Siete network) and XHTVM-TDT (Proyecto 40's flagship).
In addition, Azteca complements its Mexican-originated programming with a lineup of programs from international producers and distributors such as GestMusic Endemol, Colombia's Caracol TV, and Spain's Islas Audiovisual.
Azteca maintains a news division and produces two half-hour newscasts that air on Monday through Friday evenings, the early evening Hechos Nacional Tarde and the late evening Hechos Nacional Noche, both anchored by Roberto Ruiz. Both newscasts, produced from Mexico, are aired exclusively in the United States and focus on the national and international news and events that affect U.S. Hispanics. Azteca also broadcasts a three-hour morning news program Hechos AM on weekdays as well as the weeknightly sports highlight and discussion program Deporte Caliente ("Hot Sports").
The network formed its news division in 2003, with the debut of the national evening news program Hechos América. In May 2008, the network relocated production of its national newscasts as well as the local newscasts aired by its Los Angeles flagship station KAZA-TV from the network's Glendale headquarters to Mexico City due to the budget cuts enacted that month, resulting in the layoffs of 19 employees within its news division; the network retained reporters, producers and assignment editors that were based in Los Angeles and correspondents based in New York City, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C.. On February 6, 2009, Azteca announced that it would cancel its newscasts and announced plans to launch a bi-national newscast produced out of TV Azteca's Mexico City station XHIMT-TV.
The network also maintains a sports division, Azteca Deportes Azteca Deportes, which is separate from the division operated by its Mexico-based sister network and is responsible for the production of sports content on Azteca. The division produced association football matches from Liga MX, which typically aired under the brand "Fut Azteca." In 2013, the network began airing a prime time match-of-the-week involving teams within Liga MX on Friday nights under the brand "Viernes Futbolero" ("Friday Night Futbol"). In July 2016 Univision started their own block of Liga MX matches on Saturday nights using the "Futbolero" name called "Sábado Futbolero" ("Saturday Night Futbol").
As of April 2015, Azteca's network is made up of 64 stations, 27 of which are operated by Azteca America. In many areas of the U.S. where the network is not available through broadcast television, Azteca provides a national cable network feed that is distributed directly to cable, satellite and IPTV providers as an alternative method of distribution in markets without either the availability or the demand for a locally based owned-and-operated or affiliate station.
Azteca's master feed is transmitted in 1080i high definition. However, only seven of the network's affiliate stations currently transmit the network's programming in HD, all but two of which carry the network feed in 720p high definition; the remainder of its over-the-air stations transmit Azteca programming in 480i standard definition either due to technical considerations for affiliates of other major networks that carry Azteca programming on a digital subchannel or because a primary feed Azteca affiliate has not yet modified or upgraded their transmission equipment to allow content to be presented in HD.
Azteca América became the third major Spanish-language network in the United States (after Telemundo and Univision) to provide its programming in high definition through the network and select local stations with the launch of its simulcast feed, Azteca América HD, on July 16, 2012. All of the network's first-run entertainment, news and sports programming, as well as specials and select acquired programs, have been presented in HD since then (with the current exception of archived programs that were made prior to 2012 – including comedy series such as Te Caché ("I Got You") and Ya Cayó Renovado ("It Fell Renovated"), and select children's programs – and were originally produced in 4:3 standard definition, as well as most older Mexican-produced feature films). The high-definition feed is available in certain markets via the network's national cable feed, as well as through many of Azteca's over-the-air affiliates.
KADF-LD (digital channel 20) is a low power station in the Austin, Texas DMA. It is owned by HC2 Holdings Inc. Unlike many low-powered stations, it is seen on Spectrum on Channel 14 in the Austin area in addition to its low-power signal.KMCC
KMCC, virtual channel 34 (UHF digital channel 32), is an Azteca América-affiliated television station serving Las Vegas, Nevada, United States that is licensed to Laughlin. Owned by Entravision Communications, it is a sister station to Las Vegas-licensed Univision affiliate KINC (channel 15) and low-powered UniMás affiliate KELV-LD (channel 27). KMCC's offices are located at The Boulevard Mall on Maryland Parkway in the unincorporated community of Paradise (with a Las Vegas mailing address). Its main transmitter is located near Dolan Springs, Arizona, with a secondary transmitter on Mount Arden near Henderson, Nevada.KMCE-LD
KMCE-LD is a TV station and Azteca América affiliate serving the vicinity of Monterey, Salinas, and Santa Cruz, California. The station is licensed to Monterey and broadcasts from Fremont Peak. However, KMCE-LD's studios are located in Watsonville.
As of 10/2012 -Digital Off-Air Channels:
43.1 - Azteca1
43.2 - Azteca2
43.3 - Jewelry Channel - English
43.4 - Channel for Lease - Airs a slate showing contact number.KNWS-LP
KNWS-LP channel 27, is a low-powered television station as an Azteca América affiliate in Brownsville, Texas. This station is owned and operated by HC2 Holdings. KNWS's programming is also seen on KAZH-LP channel 39 and KRZG-CD channel 32 in McAllen, Texas.
The Rio Grande Delta is one of three markets to receive both Azteca America and the original TV Azteca channels (San Diego, El Paso and Laredo are the others). Much of KNWS's programming from Azteca America can also be seen on XHOR-TV (Azteca 7) or XHMTA-TV / XHREY-TV (Azteca 13), sometimes simultaneously.
KNWS was formerly known as KBDF-LP, and KAZH was formerly known as KNDF-LP; the call letters were changed in 2011, after Una Vez Mas acquired the former KNWS-TV in Houston and renamed it KYAZ. The KBDF and KNDF call letters both referred to XHDF-TV, one of TV Azteca's flagship stations.KSAO-LD
KSAO-LD, channel 49, is a low-power digital television station in Sacramento, California, United States, and is an affiliate of the Spanish-language television network Azteca América. The station is branded as Azteca 49 Sacramento and is owned by Cocola Broadcasting. On cable, KSAO is available locally on Comcast Xfinity channel 397, AT&T U-verse channel 4 and Spectrum channel 191.KTJA-LP
KTJA-LP was an Azteca América-affiliate television station, owned and operated by Una Vez Más Holdings, LLC of Dallas, Texas and operating on UHF channel 51. The station rebroadcast Houston's KYAZ.
The station's license was cancelled by the Federal Communications Commission on June 9, 2014, for failure to file a license renewal application.KVDF-CD
KVDF-CD is a low-powered Class A television station affiliated with Azteca América. It broadcasts on channel 31 and is licensed to San Antonio, Texas by HC2 Holdings. Unlike many low-powered stations, it is seen on Charter Spectrum on Channel 9 in the San Antonio area in addition to its low-power signal and DirecTV channel 18 in San Antonio. The original channel 9 location KLRN-TV is on cable channel 10.KVYE
KVYE, virtual channel 7 (UHF digital channel 22), is a Univision-affiliated television station licensed to El Centro, California, United States and also serving Yuma, Arizona. The station is owned by Entravision Communications, which also operates Calipatria, California-licensed UniMás affiliate KAJB (channel 54) under a joint sales agreement (JSA) with owner Calipatria Broadcasting Company. The two stations share studios on North Imperial Avenue in El Centro and transmitter facilites atop Black Mountain.KYAZ
KYAZ, virtual channel 51 (UHF digital channel 25), is an Azteca América owned-and-operated television station serving Houston, Texas, United States that is licensed to Katy. The station is owned by HC2 Holdings. KYAZ's studios are located at One Arena Place on Bissonnet Street on Houston's southwest side, and its transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County. The station is also available on Comcast Xfinity channel 2 and AT&T U-verse channel 51, and in high definition on Xfinity channel 616.KZKC-LP
KZKC-LP, UHF analog channel 42, is a low-power Azteca América-affiliated television station licensed to Bakersfield, California, United States. Owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, it is a sister station to ABC affiliate KERO-TV (channel 23). The two stations share studios on 21st Street in downtown Bakersfield; KZKC's transmitter is located atop Mount Adelaide.
Since KZKC does not broadcast a digital signal of its own, it is simulcast in high definition on KERO's second digital subchannel (VHF channel 10.2 or virtual channel 23.2 via PSIP) from a transmitter atop Breckenridge Mountain.
The station was originally owned by Cocola Broadcasting, where it served as a repeater for Fresno's KMSG-LP; McGraw-Hill bought it in 2006. McGraw-Hill announced on October 3, 2011 that it would sell KZKC, along with its other television stations, to the E. W. Scripps Company as part of its exit from broadcasting. The deal was completed on December 30, 2011.List of programs broadcast by Azteca América
This is a list of programs broadcast by the U.S. Spanish-language television network Azteca América.WANA-LD
WANA-LD is a low-power affiliate of Azteca América in Naples, Florida, and broadcasts on UHF channel 16. It is owned by Media Vista Group, LLC.WBEH-CD
WBEH-CD is a Class A television station affiliated with Azteca América in Miami, Florida, broadcasting on channel 17 (virtual channel 38). It is owned by Prime Time Partners. The Azteca America programming and affiliation can also be seen on W16CC-D (channel 16), licensed to West Gate, Florida and owned by HC2 Holdings.WGDV-LD
WGDV-LD is a low-powered Azteca América affiliated television station licensed to Salisbury, Maryland, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 32 from a transmitter in rural Wicomico County northeast of Mardela Springs. Owned by Marquee Broadcasting, WGDV-LD is sister to ABC affiliate WMDT (channel 47) and the two stations share studios on West Main Street (although its address is Downtown Plaza) in Salisbury.WHCT-LD
WHCT-LD is an Azteca América affiliate station in Hartford, Connecticut, United States. The station is owned by Venture Technologies Group and broadcasts on UHF channel 38 from the WCCC-FM tower on Avon Mountain in West Hartford, CT.
The WHCT call letters were once used on channel 18, which is now WUVN; the station adopted the call sign in August 2001. For the ten years before it had been W69CL, with a brief change to W32BV during a failed attempt to move it to channel 32.WTNO-LP
WTNO-LP, UHF digital channel 22, is an Azteca América-affiliated television station located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The station is owned by HC2 Holdings. WTNO maintains offices located on Caneel Court in Terrytown, and its transmitter is located on Airline Drive/Highway 61 in Metairie. On cable, the station is available on AT&T U-verse channel 22.
In January 2019, WTNO added channels 22.2 and 22.3, both playing English-language infomercials.WWHB-CA
WWHB-CA is a Class A, Azteca América-affiliated television station licensed to Stuart, Florida, United States, serving the Gold and Treasure Coasts of South Florida. It broadcasts a low-powered high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 48 from a transmitter in unincorporated Martin County (southwest of Hobe Sound) on the Jonathan Dickinson State Park boundary. On cable, the station can be seen on Comcast Xfinity channel 21 (in Martin, Palm Beach, Okeechobee, and southern St. Lucie counties) and channel 24 (in Indian River and northern St. Lucie counties), as well as on digital channel 611.
Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, WTCN is sister to West Palm Beach-licensed CBS affiliate WPEC (channel 12), Fort Pierce-licensed CW affiliate WTVX (channel 34), and Palm Beach-licensed Class A MyNetworkTV affiliate WTCN-CA (channel 43). All of the television outlets share studios on Fairfield Drive in Mangonia Park, Florida (with a West Palm Beach postal address).
Due to WWHB's Class A status, the station's low-powered directional antenna pattern prevents it from reaching Vero Beach (to the north) and Boca Raton (to the south). To expand the broadcasting radius, WWHB is simulcast in standard definition on WTVX's second digital subchannel. This signal broadcasts on UHF channel 20.2 (or virtual channel 34.2 via PSIP) from a transmitter, southwest of Palm City and I-95/SR 9, in unincorporated Martin County.WXAX-CD
WXAX-CD, channel 26, is a class A, low-power broadcast television station based in Clearwater, Florida, owned by Una Vez Mas Holdings, LLC. It is currently Tampa Bay's Azteca América affiliate. The station has been on the air intermittently since January 24, 1990. Previously, WXAX-CD was home to SUR (another Spanish network), HTV (Latino music videos) and UATV (general entertainment).
The station was originally licensed and originated in St. Petersburg, then Clearwater, and, finally, Tampa. It is once again licensed in Clearwater, broadcasting from the Riverview antenna farm, directional towards Tampa. The general signal area covers most of Tampa and southwestern Hillsborough County, but barely reaches Pinellas County.
Currently, only Verizon FiOS and Dish Network offer the channel to Tampa Bay-area subscribers; other systems, such as Spectrum and Xfinity, do not offer this channel.XHAS-TDT
XHAS-TDT, virtual channel 33 (UHF digital channel 34), is an Azteca América-affiliated television station located in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and serving the Tijuana–San Diego international metropolitan area. The station is 99.9%-owned by Mexican-based Televisora Alco, a 40%-owned subsidiary of station operator Entravision Communications; XHAS is a sister station to MyNetworkTV affiliate XHDTV-TDT (channel 49), Univision affiliate KBNT-CD (channel 17) and UniMás affiliate KDTF-LD (channel 51). All four stations share studios on Ruffin Road in the Kearny Mesa section of San Diego, California, United States; XHAS-TDT's transmitter is located on Mount San Antonio in Tijuana.
Until 30 June 2017, it was an affiliate of Telemundo.