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|Greater Buenos Aires/Greater La Plata|
|City of license||La Plata, Buenos Aires|
|Channels||Analog: 2 (VHF)
Digital: 36 (UHF-ISDB-T)
(UNO Medios and Francisco de Narváez)
(America TV S.A.)
|First air date||25 July 1972|
|Sister station(s)||América 24|
América Televisión is one of Argentina's five national television channels. Licensed to La Plata as LS 86 TV channel 2, its studio facilities are located in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires and the transmitter, in Florencio Varela. Outside of the province of Buenos Aires, América is available on cable.
Channel 2 in La Plata was launched on July 25, 1972 as Tevedos, under the ownership of Rivadavia Televisión S.A., whose proprietors also owned several radio stations and the now-defunct El Mundo daily newspaper.
La Plata is close in proximity to Buenos Aires, and the two cities can receive each other's television broadcasts. This geographical reality led Tevedos to target the much larger media market of Argentina's capital. But with transmission facilities in Florencio Varela to the south, northern portions of the metropolitan area couldn't receive an adequate signal. This stood in contrast to the other four stations in Buenos Aires, which had their transmitters located in the city proper.
1970-76: Ownership of Panamericana Televisión
At the start of the 1970s, Perú's Panamericana Televisión acquired Tevedos. Panamericana's owner, Peruvian businessman Genaro Delgado Parker, had strong connections to Goar Mestre, who owned studios in the Martinez neighborhood. From that facility, the two produced programs intended for the entire Spanish-speaking world.
However, problems continually plagued the channel, stemming from its technical disadvantages. The ratings for Argentinian television were measured in Buenos Aires, and its comparatively poor signal could not offer the same coverage as its four competitors. Comedians dubbed the station "James Bond", riffing off the channel's abysmal ratings of "007". To lower costs, it began airing cheaper programs, even simulcasting Canal 13 at times.
1976-87: State ownership
In 1976, the Province of Buenos Aires took control of the station, and in 1979, it was transferred to the provincial level Ministry of Economy. That same year, the station became known as simply Canal 2. Color broadcasts, which began in 1980, the same year as national station Channel 9, made it the 3rd station to be converted to color transmissions and the first TV station outside Buenos Aires itself to introduce color broadcasts.
After the fall of the final Argentinian dictatorship and return to democracy in 1983, a bid was hurriedly opened to solicit companies wanting to privatize the station. Radiodifusora El Carmen S.A. won the license, but it took four years for the company to find a partner with the technical capacity to run the station. Finally, in December 1987, El Carmen partnered with Héctor Ricardo García, owner of the Crónica newspaper, and his company Estrella Productions S.A., under the new name of Teledos.
1987-91: Teledos, a crisis and Tevedos
Within a month, Teledos, now Argentina's second private television channel, rocketed to second place in the ratings, leaving behind the station's long cellar dweller past. Teledos had taken a tight second, just ahead of Canal 13, but behind the ratings monster that was Alejandro Romay's Canal 9, which still brought in double the viewership. Newer and fresher hosts, forgotten by the state-owned ATC, channel 11 and channel 13, headed up a refreshed outlet with a heavy emphasis on news.
The resurgence, however, would not last long. The shareholders in El Carmen were in bitter legal disputes, which boiled over in November 1988. García promptly pulled all his programming and left. A crisis now emerged, as Canal 2 was left with very little programming to air. The TV Guía publication proclaimed the situation as a tormenta. Without studio space of its own, the station had to record its newscasts three hours in advance and drive the film by car to its La Plata transmitter, for there was no connection between the Buenos Aires facilities it was using and its own physical plant. By the end of the year, a new name had emerged: Tevedos returned. However, the precarious financial state that the channel was in led to bankruptcy reorganization in 1989, out of which Eduardo Eurnékian, owner of the Cablevisión cable system and several radio stations in the capital city, bought the channel and incorporated it into his new multimedia group, Corporación Multimedios América.
On April 15, 1991, Tevedos was replaced by América Te Ve, but Eurnékian's biggest change would be in facilities. In 1994, what was now known as América 2 moved its studios—and, more importantly, its transmitter—to the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, improving its over-the-air reception and becoming the first of the major Argentinian broadcasters to possess digital television equipment. Within two years, the name would change again, to América Televisión (or just América).
In 1995, the first season of Caiga Quien Caiga was broadcast on América 2; it later moved to Canal 13, then Telefe.
Eurnékian pulled out of his multimedia ventures during the 1990s; in 2000, the station became part of a group controlled by Carlos Ávila and his family. Ávila had created Torneos y Competencias, the longtime rights holder to Argentinian soccer and producer of other sports events. Under Ávila, América's programming would have a strong emphasis on sports and news.
In 2002, a major economic crisis almost carried the channel into bankruptcy; the Ávila family connected América to the Grupo Uno multimedia company, and after a reorganization, the station was able to emerge from bankruptcy and maintain its license, despite a strong challenge mounted by Héctor Ricardo García.
In 2005, two of the most popular programs on the network moved to Canal 13 after the program Televisión Registrada invited a guest who had been charged with bribing the Argentinian Senate. The station's news director apparently refused to allow the program to air, and as a result, both Television Registrada and Indomables left América. In 2007, Francisco de Narváez bought a majority stake in the channel.
Currently, América occupies fourth place in the ratings, slightly behind Canal 9 in the competition for third place.
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