'Fox News in Spanish' Americano Media is plotting a comeback

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Americano Media, a right-leaning Hispanic media outlet that operated from 2022 to 2023, is making a comeback supported by a new group of investors, according to owner Iván García-Hidalgo.

García-Hidalgo, the former telecommunications executive who conceived Americano, previewed the scope of the new investment in an exclusive interview with The Hill.

“I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised to see the round of investors that stepped up in order to bring Americano back and launch it into the future. And I think it’s going to be a really surprising shock for many that passed on the opportunity,” he said.

“And I’m pretty sure they’re probably going to kick themselves for not jumping in, and they’re probably going to come, you know, wanting to jump in and invest, quite frankly, but I don’t know if it’ll be too little too late, but you know, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, right?”

Though short-lived in its first iteration, the network quickly gained steam as Trump world’s preferred Spanish-language outlet, landing interviews with former President Trump and other top Republicans in his orbit.

“Everybody just talked about a need for a Fox News in Spanish type network for decades, ever since Fox News launched, and nobody ever did it, and we decided to do it. We were probably crazy enough to do it,” said García-Hidalgo.

Americano’s rise and fall between 2022 and 2023 was the product of an aggressive expansion plan, fidgety investors and a failed takeover attempt by Texas-based Voz Media, a separate conservative media company that also failed to acquire Mega TV from Puerto Rico-based Spanish Broadcasting System.

“There’s two things that I believe went wrong. They tried to grow too fast, right? They pushed the accelerator too fast, right? If you’re not an experienced race driver, meaning you might not be an experienced entrepreneur, and you accelerate the vehicle too much, you’re gonna crash,” said José Aristimuño, a former Democratic National Committee spokesman who appeared on Americano as a center-left political analyst and is in talks to return for the network’s revival.

“The second is that they operated in good faith that investors were going to come through, and some investors fell along the way. You know, people they got, they got promised things and investors didn’t deliver,” added Aristimuño.

García-Hidalgo’s need for cash stemmed from a rush to transition the network’s 18 hours of daily original live programming from radio to video.

“When we started, we, you know, we started with very little funding, with a million dollars, and that wasn’t going to give us the ability to launch a television network a la Fox News or CNN or MSNBC,” said García-Hidalgo.

“But you know, we did it, we were able to go and launch radio. We were able to, you know, get on Sirius XM.”

About $14 million of the $19.7 million Americano ultimately raised came from Doug Hayden, a packaging company heir who invested after meeting García-Hidalgo through a mutual friend he met at a political conference. García-Hidalgo said Hayden and his family are “100 percent on board” with the new version of Americano.

But that funding was not enough to finish the transition to video, which García-Hidalgo said was necessary because “radio is dead. You know, radio is dead. There’s no money in radio.”

With funding dried up, García-Hidalgo halted operations and furloughed staff “in order to avoid further liabilities and focus 100 percent on our next round of funding — which is this round and is the round that’s the most important round for us and for most startup companies — which is the one that gets you to distribution and monetization, right?”

From the get-go, Americano has aimed to fill an ideological gap in Latino media, providing a conservative outlet with comparable reach to Telemundo and Univisión.

The thirst for such an outlet highlights the growing interest from all sides of the political spectrum in Latino voters, who were once dismissed as non-participatory or as bound to Democrats.

But García-Hidalgo says it’s also a reflection of a broader trend in conservative media.

“Conservative investors have traditionally always invested in real estate and energy — you know, oil and gas — and they haven’t really invested in media and tech and things like that, and then they wonder why they lose the culture wars,” he said.

“Outside of Elon Musk and Donald Trump, you know, there really aren’t a lot of conservatives in media, right? You can say Fox, but you know, that’s it. And I think that’s going to change. I think that’s going to change dramatically.”

That change, according to García-Hidalgo, will happen because of Americano’s leadership and investor teams, whom he declined to name at this time.

“We’re coming back. We’re going to blow it up. We’re not going to stop. You know, the leadership team is fantastic. The round of investors are amazing,” he said.

“We have the right mix, the right people that have deep pockets and believe in the cause, believe in the mission. Believe that Hispanics deserve to hear both sides of the news, of the stories, and not just one side, and be told, you know, what to think. And that’s what Americano was all about.”

That’s also what’s brought Americano heavy criticism from the left and anti-Trump Republicans who see Trump-aligned Hispanics as self-defeating at best.

But some on the left see the possibility of a conservative Latino network as a space to reach new audiences.

Aristimuño, who regularly appears on Fox News, said conservative networks are an opportunity for Democrats to reach new audiences.

“I’m of the belief — and there’s no question — that Americano is right-leaning, or has a conservative mission. OK, there’s no denying that, but I’d rather have Democrats be involved in things like this than not, because there are people who say, ‘I’m not going to Fox News. I don’t agree with Fox. I’m not going.’ You’re doing a disservice to American people, and you’re doing a disservice to the nation by not participating in this type of thing, right?” he said.

And Aristimuño, who once co-hosted a right-left news analysis show with García-Hidalgo, said his former co-host is the right person to build that network.

“Iván is like a, like a bull, man. He just keeps going and going and going until he tears down the wall. So I think he can — the drive is there, right? The drive is there. And I think the connections too. I think he knows the right people to pull this off,” said Aristimuño.

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