Univision’s cancel culture is still alive. And not just in the selection of news content – and intent- but in the censorship of those with a different point of view from the network´s official line, as happened to conservative Pablo Kleinman, former host of Radio California Libre Radio Free California on L.A. news-talk flagship KTNQ.
The uniquely popular Spanish-language talk show went on the air in November of 2019. It was abruptly cancelled on January 4, 2021 after “his conservative voice, the only one in all of Spanish-language radio in California, was no longer wanted at Univision”, as Kleinman recounts in an interview with El American.
“According to Kleinman, Univision called him in September 2019 with the purpose of generating a balance in the relaunch of the radio station KTNQ, crowded with leftist and progressive voices. Kleinman had been working on the radio station KTNQ for Uruguayan broadcaster Fernando Espuelas from 2008 to 2013. He was on vacation at that time so they knew him. Kleinman agreed to the offer. Radio California Libre went on The air in November 2019.”
In the El American interview, Kleinman mentioned that although Univision´s management didn’t agree with his views, at first “everything was going perfect. I wasn’t treated very well, but at least I wasn’t being censored. Or well, nothing beyond when management asked me ‘not to propagandize.’” (First red flag.)
The next red flag came when the elections approached and the station added an advisory at the show´s opening and before commercials, “to make it clear to listeners that my views and positions were not those of the company. It was the first time they had ever done anything like that on the radio,” Kleinman said.
A bout with COVID-19 knocked Kleinman out of circulation for the Christmas holidays. When he rejoined on January 4, he was told by executives that “due to staffing problems, he would not be able to record some of the following days.” Days that became forever, as on January 7thIt was cancelled. In his place, they ran liberal Liliana García.
Univision doesn’t always cancel conservatives on their radio waves. Longtime readers of MRC Latino will recall that Univision conducted a similar purge on their failed talk radio network Univision América in 2015, when they ousted Helen Aguirre Ferré and Alfonso Aguilar from their airwaves:
Journalist Helen Aguirre-Ferré is well-known as a fair-minded voice of moderation and balance when discussing policy issues, but was unceremoniously ousted from her 4 – 6 p.m. Last month she was abruptly removed from her 4 – 6 p.m. ET slot without any warning to her listeners. Her weekday show was the only one to include conservative views. Listeners can now enjoy an extra dose of Michelle Obama self-help guru in her place. Doctora Isabel
Univision America’s is also gone Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership, whose Saturday talk show endured a similar fate to that of Aguirre-Ferré’s Zona Política (“Political Zone”).
Univision América may be long gone but the network’s old tactics remain. Univision’s continued silence of conservatives and amplifying liberal voices is consistent with their long-term agenda. It also shows the need to find market alternatives. This is not fair or balanced.