Channel 34 Celebrates 30 Years in L.A.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

KMEX-TV Channel 34, the first Spanish-language television station in Los Angeles and one of the first in the United States, kicks off its 30-year anniversary celebration with an hourlong special at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The recurring theme in the program--titled "Los 30 de 34: Un Sueno Hecho Realidad (30 Years of 34: The Dream Has Become a Reality)"--is that the station's highlights coincide with milestones in the history of Los Angeles' Latino community.

"We decided we wanted to focus our celebration on the community, as opposed to just looking at ourselves, because our future and our past are completely linked with what has happened to our community--how it has grown, what it has suffered," said Cecilia Martinez, senior producer for promotions.

As a result, the program's subject matter ranges from lighthearted clips from KMEX's earliest novelas (Latin-style soap operas) to the tragic footage from a 1970 East Los Angeles anti-war protest in which the station's news director, Ruben Salazar, was killed. It also focuses on KMEX's various efforts to help the community.

The program's narrator, Fernando Escandon, was Channel 34's first on-air announcer, and its producer, Gerardo Pallares, is another KMEX veteran.

"It was a necessity for this community to have a television station to express the problems, the complaints, the tears and the smiles," Pallares said. "In 30 years we've made a lot of progress. This is a good point to look back, to compile the memoirs of a station."

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