Q&A: Rolando Santos, executive VP, GM

Dec 16, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Rolando Santos is one of CNN’s rising stars. After joining the network as an executive producer in 1993, he helped launch CNN en Espanol, rising to president of the Spanish-language service. He was named executive VP and general manager of Headline News in February 2002.
Electronic Media: You have spent most of your recent career in Spanish-language television. What’s it like for you now?
Rolando Santos: I’m having a blast. This [Headline News] concept is so well designed. The concept is working.
EM: A lot of people watch Headline News, but they don’t stay around very long. Does that concern you?
Mr. Santos: We are delivering to the audience what they want. They know that this is the place to go when they want to get some news quickly. I don’t need them to stay for five or six hours. Our average tune-in time has increased to about 14 minutes, so we are right on target with where we want to be.
EM: What does Headline News offer an advertiser?
Mr. Santos: It’s one-stop shopping for a wide range of age groups. We have 18- to 34-year-old adults, and 18 to 49s. All in one fell swoop, they can get every age group that they want to reach. We bring a variety of relevant news and information for the active audience they want to reach.
EM: OK, you’ve made it to 20 years. What about the next 20?
Mr. Santos: I think you are going to see a continuing evolution of the network that reflects what the audience wants: more information and news that’s important to them, dictated by their lifestyle.
EM: Headline News seems tailor-made for an on-demand world. What’s in the works?
Mr. Santos: We are looking at all sorts of things, from wireless delivery to pagers. We are looking at taking our ticker and streaming it across your computer. The new format was designed with all these things in mind.