Q&A: Telemundo’s Mare;a Antonieta Collins

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A few months after her Telemundo contract expired, TV personality María Antonieta Collins is ready to make a comeback to Spanish-language media, this time as radio producer and commentator for FDP Productions, the Miami-based broadcasting arm of FDP Radio. Starting January, the Veracruz, Mexico native will be heard across the country on a network that will combine some of FDP’s 95 national affiliates and new stations. Hispanic TV Update spoke to Collins about her radio debut and her plans to return to television. An edited transcript follows:

Q: Your contract with Telemundo expired in September. What have you been doing since?

A: Well, my contract expired in October but my show [Cada Día] went off the air in June, so I have kept myself busy doing a lot of things. I’m finishing up my seventh book, Porque Quiero, Porque Puedo y Porque Me da la Gana (HarperCollins/Rayo), a sort of self-help guide to help people stay happy in times of crisis. Still, I don’t think of myself as a writer. I’m mostly a reporter — a reporter who happens to write books.

Q: And now you will be doing radio. Had you done that before?

A: Never. Radio was really an open chapter in my life and I’m excited about this opportunity. I’ve always been a fan of the radio because it teaches you to dream. It also gives you direct contact with the public, something that I’ve always done through my television programs, magazine articles and books.

I learned all I know about baseball thanks to radio. Growing up as a child in Veracruz, I would sit down with my grandpa to listen to all the baseball games. My late husband, Fabio Fajardo, used to say that I was the only woman he knew who was so passionate about radio that would follow the games on the radio.

Q: How did the deal with FDP come about?

A: [Soccer commentator and FDP Chairman] Andrés Cantor and I have been friends for years, and he had always been very respectful of my work as a sports reporter. You might not know this, but I covered baseball’s major leagues in 1980-1986, first for Televisa and then for SIN [now Univision]. The point now is that Andrés is looking to extend the content aired on FDP, and he’s given me the opportunity to do this by letting me talk about non-sports topics.

Q: You will be doing a series of daily vignettes. What are they about?

A: These will be 2-minute vignettes, which will air daily, starting in January. They will be called Casos y Cosas de Collins and will touch on a wide range of topics, including what to do if you lose your mortgage and how to recover from a break up to where to go if you are a victim of domestic violence, etc. There are also plans to extend them to a one-hour weekly show in the second half of 2009.

Q: Are you ready to leave television behind?

A: Oh, no! There is actually a television project coming in 2009, but I won’t talk about that, mostly because I’m a very superstitious person. The project is in the hands of my agent [William Morris] but I cannot tell you much more than that, except that I will definitely go back [to TV], and it will be related to my long-time passion: journalism.

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