Personality

New podcast targets Latinos ahead of 2020 elections

HITN’s “Estudio DC” features interviews with members of Congress and other experts.

Mike Nieves, President of HITN & Roberto Ramirez, Founding Partner of The MirRam Group congratulate each other at the 50 Over 50 Awards

Mike Nieves, President of HITN & Roberto Ramirez, Founding Partner of The MirRam Group congratulate each other at the 50 Over 50 Awards Ali Garber

With the 2020 general election just weeks away, Latinos are poised to play a role in key races – and there’s a new podcast aimed at keeping them informed on the biggest issues.

On Tuesday, HITN is launching a weekly podcast featuring members of Congress talking about politics and policy experts discussing pressing matters like the COVID-19 response. The New York-based Spanish-language media company, which already produces a Washington-oriented Sunday morning TV show called “Estudio DC,” will convert each episode of that show into a slimmed down 35-minute podcast. The company hopes the format will help attract and engage younger listeners and others who aren’t HITN subscribers. And for political insiders in New York and elsewhere who don’t speak Spanish, there’ll be an English translation posted as well.

City & State spoke with HITN President and CEO Michael Nieves about the new “Estudio DC” podcast, the highlights of the inaugural episode with Rep. José E. Serrano, and more. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

So tell me about your new podcast.

We’re launching the podcast (on Tuesday). It’s a podcast that translates our talk show that we have on Sundays, “Estudio DC,” which is hosted by Gerson Borrero. Our first episode is the exclusive interview that Gerson had with Congressman José Serrano, who’s retiring. He had only agreed to be interviewed by HITN and Borrero – that’s the only interview he’s given since he announced that he’s leaving Congress because of his illness. So we’re very lucky to be the ones he agreed to talk to. So now we’re going to translate that and put it out in English, but our channel is a Spanish-language channel.

Any highlights from your first episode with Serrano?

He goes into the reason why he’s leaving Congress. He talks about his major achievements, what he’s most proud of. People will be interested in hearing about the machinations behind the scenes as chair of his committee. He’s frank and upfront about the illness, which is what most people are going to be curious about. That’s what’s going to sell that particular episode. We have other episodes about other electeds that we’ve interviewed over the years, and we’re in the process now of translating a bunch of them. We have Nydia Velázquez. We have Luis Gutiérrez. We have “Chuy” Garcia from Chicago. We’re trying to offer our viewing audience, which is the Latino audience, most of it Spanish language, something that is particular to them. But we believe that there are enough people across the country who are interested in this growing demographic of Hispanics that they would be interested in hearing what our more senior people in Congress have to say, and it’ll be a way for them to not figure out what Nydia is saying – they can actually hear her in these interviews.

So this will include New York elected officials, but also members of Congress from around the country?

Yes. It’s a Washington-based talk show program on Sundays. It’s geared more to the Washington world, but because of the consequence of who we are, and we’re in New York, we do have New York electeds who will also be interviewed. It’s a twofer for us. You’ll be able to hear from some of our electeds. If we can get the governor on, that would be a real plus for us. He’s known across the country now because of the pandemic and what he’s been doing, so we’re targeting those kinds of electeds who can share the New York story with the rest of the country.

So not just members of Congress.

Not necessarily. Last week’s program was on COVID and we didn’t have any electeds. They were all professionals and academics who got together to discuss how this affects the Latino community, healthwise and mental healthwise. What we’re trying to do between now and the election is to bring up issues that are relevant to the Latino population across the country, and therefore sometimes we have to bring in other people than electeds to help expand on what the pandemic really is, and they’re better prepared to speak about it. Our electeds are more partisan. Republicans are going to give you the Republican spin, and Democrats are going to give you the Democratic spin. But academics and people that are not politically oriented, the conversation is less political, and we’re trying to do that to help our viewers understand what the issues of the day are rather than changing them one way or the other.

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