BROOKE GLADSTONE: We're back with On the Media. I'm Brooke Gladstone.
BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield. This week the Republican National Committee announced the launch of a 30-minute monthly Spanish language television production, Abriendo Caminos. Promoted as a news magazine, the RNC says the new show will "inform the Hispanic community about important political issues and Bush administration [MUSIC UP AND UNDER] initiatives that directly effect their lives."
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: [SPEAKING IN SPANISH], Abriendo Caminos.
MALE ANNOUNCER: Abriendo Caminos.
BOB GARFIELD:Abriendo Caminos will debut on Monday, May 20th and will initially air on both Spanish language networks Telemundo and Univision in 6 U.S. cities -- Fresno, Miami, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando and Albuquerque. Joining me now is Sharon Castillo, currently deputy director of communications for the RNC, and anchor of Abriendo Caminos. Ms. Castillo is no stranger to the news business. Before the RNC she was Telemundo's Washington bureau chief. Sharon Castillo, welcome to On the Media.
SHARON CASTILLO: Thank you very much. Glad to be here.
BOB GARFIELD: Now the translation of "Abriendo Caminos," depending on who's translating, is "forging new paths" or "opening roads." How would you say, in Spanish, "a tough row to hoe?" 23 million eligible voters in the Hispanic community. I think about 22 and a half million of them are Democrats, aren't they?
SHARON CASTILLO: A lot of Hispanics have a hereditary problem. As you know, mom and dad, grandparents were Democrats, and Hispanics are very loyal voters. But we know that under the leadership of President Bush Hispanics are taking a fresh new look at the Republican Party so it is our responsibility at the Republican National Committee that we communicate our message in the most effective way.
BOB GARFIELD:This is certainly a, a new path for you. You are at the Republican National Committee now, but you come out of the journalism world.
SHARON CASTILLO: Absolutely. You know when I decided to become a journalist I was motivated by the impact I could have in, in the community. As a journalist you're not only entertaining people but you also have the responsibility of: educate and inform -- and the show is another way for me to do so. For example, our first edition will be dedicated to education.
BOB GARFIELD:The show has a news magazine segment style format with each show having a headline segment, a segment that focuses on a major topic, interviews with Hispanic leaders as well as a calendar segment announcing upcoming political events. I'm, I'm going to guess to Democratic political events. [LAUGHTER] Give me some examples of headlines.
SHARON CASTILLO: Well, for example, in the first edition we're going to be talking about what's going on with the Trade Promotion Authority. We're going to highlight the Cinqo de Mayo event at the White House. We're going to talk about really the latest developments out of the agencies or the White House or Capitol Hill.
BOB GARFIELD:Now of course I haven't seen the show yet because it's -- hasn't debuted. But I have seen the, the promotional material, the essentially a television commercial that the RNC has prepared to introduce Abriendo Caminos. It sure looks like a television program. It looks very much like one of the, actually the syndicated news like shows that you see before prime time -- Hard Copy and, and that sort of thing -- in its style. It isn't journalism program though is it?
SHARON CASTILLO: Well, you know, we can debate what news is. My view is, if it's true -- if it's a fact --if it affects your daily life -- it's news! I mean I like to remind everybody that regular newscasts also have advertisements, and you know whether it's a print or a TV or a radio media outlet, everybody has their own editorial line. So this is no different.
BOB GARFIELD:Yes, the TV news shows have advertisements, but they aren't advertisements. If I'm in Albuquerque and turn on-- my Telemundo station and happen upon Abriendo Caminos, is there any way for me to know that it's a GOP program? Will I be able to tell?
SHARON CASTILLO: Well I think the stations will make the decision how to identify the program, but we're making a one million dollar commitment on the promotion, production and broadcast of Abriendo Caminos, and so it's, it's public information. We're certainly not trying to hide the fact that it's produced by the GOP TV and it's paid for - the RNC.
BOB GARFIELD:Just curious. If NBC came out with the Tom Daschle Show, and he used it as a forum to--highlight all of his Democratic colleagues and his Democratic friends and Democratic issues, how would you as a loyal Republican react to that?
SHARON CASTILLO: Right now we hear that President Clinton is in conversations with NBC to have his own talk show. I would say more power to them, and that's a decision that NBC will have to decide if it's good for their network or not!
BOB GARFIELD: Sharon Castillo, thank you very much.
SHARON CASTILLO: Thank you very much for having me.
BOB GARFIELD:Sharon Castillo, a deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee is also the anchorwoman of the new Republican program called Abriendo Caminos. [MUSIC]
by Wynton Marsalis