'Horizonte' marks 1st anniversary
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 8, 2004
Yvonne Wingett

It's only a half-hour. But for many, it represents a lifetime of recognition.

Prime time. Public station. Equal time.

Horizonte, the Hispanic-themed public-affairs show, rang in its first year on Channel 8 (KAET), averaging 25,000 viewers a show with its local and national coverage of social and political issues.

"It is helping us shape our conversations," said Bettina Nava, Sen. John McCain's state campaign manager. "Its (success) is an indicator of how things are changing, that there seems to be a desire for this kind of programming. It shows that the political landscape's changing. I'm hoping that will bleed more into the mainstream."

The English-language program airs at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays. It was spun off of the public-affairs show Horizon, which draws about 30,000 viewers each show, according to station officials.

The half-hour program explores issues facing the Hispanic community, from immigration to bilingual education, day laborers to the Latino vote. In showing fresh faces and diverse, articulate Hispanic professionals, the program is breaking stereotypes, says host José Cárdenas, attorney and chairman of Lewis & Roca, LLP.

"Hispanics only make the 10 o'clock news when it's something bad," said Cárdenas, of Chandler.

Horizonte viewers "see someone who's very successful, insightful . . . I think we're having an impact there" on public perception, he said, "because it (Horizonte) showcases a lot of people, both people who have always been pillars of the community and those who haven't been recognized."

The guest lineups include national and local Latino leaders: former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros; author and Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos; former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez; and David Garcia, a senior research analyst with Think AZ.

"A tool like Horizonte is so important," said longtime journalist Anita Luera, now with the Hispanic-based non-profit Valle del Sol. "It's a forum giving voice to Latinos who have an opinion. That is crucial because that voice isn't always heard across the board."

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon credits Horizonte for highlighting the Latino perspective.

"It's brought up more details and thoughts and viewpoints," said Gordon, an occasional viewer. "It's necessary and . . . informative."

Reach the reporter at yvonne.wingett@arizonarepublic.com (602) 444-4712.