April 14, 2024

Univision founder dead at 88

Back in 1962, Univision was started as Spanish International Communications Corporation that was the parent company of Spanish International Network. Emilio Nicolás Sr. owned KUAL-TV, which is known now as KWEX-TV San Antonio along with Rene Anselmo and Mexican radio & TV magnate Emilio Azcárrage Vidaurreta, the owner of Televisa. Nicolás sold his portion of the company in 1987 to Hallmark Cards where Univision Holdings, Inc. came to be.

Televisa in turn is controlled by Emilio Azcarraga, who was forced to sell Univision’s predecessor company in 1988, when the Federal Communications Commission found him in violation of rules governing foreign control of broadcasting licenses.

Hallmark Cards offloads Univision to an investor group led by A. Jerrold Perenchio for $550 million.

Flashback to 1946, when Emilio opened the United States first Spanish language radio station in a country that spoke predominantly English.

“He understood as a Mexican immigrant coming to San Antonio to the United States that having control of the airwaves was a privilege, not a right,” Guillermo Nicolas explained. “And that the airwaves belong to the people of the United States, not to the companies and to the broadcast companies. And it was important to him not only to entertain the people, but to help educate, because we had a struggle ahead of us. I mean, the radio and the television is how our people were able to learn about their great heroes.”

Now, Univision is the most watched Spanish channel in the nation.

Emilio is survived by his wife Irma and son Guillermo. A memorial Mass for Nicolas is planned on Monday, October 21st at 2 p.m. at San Fernando Cathedral. The public is invited to attend.