FACTv would like to go “discovering with you” – that “you” being the Spanish speaking population of Fitchburg.
Translated, that’s Descubriendo Contigo – the name of the Spanish language news program FACTv started this year.
The show started as an idea to reach the Latino community, Ald. Julia Arata-Fratta (Dist. 2), who co-hosts the show, told the Star in August. Fitchburg has the highest Hispanic population per capita in Dane County (about 17 percent based on 2018 U.S. Census estimates), and Arata-Fratta said about 70% of the 4,000 members of the Latino community here speaks Spanish.
The idea of using the city’s resources to provide that population with information eventually transformed into the creation of “Descubriendo Contigo,” to bring them information they otherwise would miss.
“We don’t see that community participate in some of the activities in the city,” she said. “The idea was how to communicate with the Latino community in Fitchburg about all of the activities that are happening.”
The show went from dream to concept when Arata-Fratta and Lupita Montoto, co-founder of La Movida 94.5 FM, who co-hosts the show, demonstrated interest in creating a program for Spanish-speaking residents.
The goal is to film Descubriendo Contigo every other week as a headline news show that plays on FACTv’s Community Channel at 5 p.m. daily.
FACTv manager Jeremy Crosby doesn’t speak Spanish, he said, so the learning curve to produce a show in a language he doesn’t understand can be steep. Controlling the teleprompter, which gives the co-hosts the script at their reading pace, is a challenge.
“They’re reading it slow enough for us to read,” he said.
Much of the content for “Descubriendo Contigo” comes from the FACTv show Crosby hosts, “Talking Fitchburg.”
Crosby takes the stories from the English show and places them in Google Translate to turn it into Spanish. From there, Arata-Fratta and Montoto comb through the translated script and correct the verbiage, since Google Translate doesn’t always get the correct meanings right and there are multiple dialects of Spanish, so generic words need to be swapped into the script to give it the same message no matter who’s listening.
Crosby said when the city started “Talking Fitchburg” in 2015, he knew a significant part of the city’s population would not be able to absorb it.
It was a “no brainer” to take what the city was already doing with Talking Fitchburg and create a Spanish version of it, Crosby added.
“Diversity has kind of been on our radar because we’ve heard it from Council, we’ve heard it from mayors,” he said. “It’s been a priority in the city to get the news out to everyone in our city.”
Filming “Descubriendo Contigo” not only allows for Spanish speaking residents to be informed with the news, Crosby said, it also allows them to stay engaged with what their city is doing.
That’s especially important as the city is evolving, in ways such as upcoming Fish Hatchery Road reconstruction, Arata-Fratta said.
“This comes in a critical moment where we can inform about all of these new changes,” she said. “They live close in the reconstruction area, so this show can be very important to communicate.”
Montoto said there’s a need for the community to have more outlets for information and everyday resources, and not just in the Fitchburg area.
With the city being home to three school districts and having almost unnoticeable boundary lines with the City of Madison, they didn’t want to put “Fitchburg” in the name of the show, because they knew they might have a larger reach that just its residents, Crosby added.
“We wanted to make sure it’s open for everybody,” he said.