In 1974, the Anselmo family formed MagnaVerde in order to bring the
World Cup Soccer matches to the United States via closed circuit television
in large venues like Madison Square Garden, the San Antonio arena and
the like. Later, the company focused on other large sports events that
would be of interest to the public.
By 1975 the company had grown and so had its debts to the Azcarraga family
and to their company for programming purchased and shown on the SICC
stations. There were several loans outstanding and the economy in general
was tight. Frank Fouce Jr., the son of one my Grandfathers (Raoul Cortez)
original partners, Frank Fouce Sr. who owned Fouce Amusements in California,
was unhappy with his family’s investment in SICC and wanted out.
There were several discussions and several agreements all of which ended
in disappointment for all involved.
In 1975, Emilio Nicolas had the idea to help the poor in his community
and reached out to Archbishop Patricio Flores. The two launched the Teleton
Navideno which aired on KWEX-TV. This fundraiser for the San Antonio
community continues to be successful to this day.
In 1976 SIN becomes the first satellite interconnected network in the
United States, beating out Ted Turner’s CNN. Emilio Nicolas installed
the city’s first earth station in the parking lot of KWEX and christened
the earth station in front of the Mayor, city council and numerous business
people and dignitaries. On that day, San Antonio became the center of
operations for the Spanish International Network and thus changed the
cities dynamics. This monumental move put San Antonio on the map as an
important player in the growing Hispanic community and their buying power
across the country.
1976 was a pivotal year, not only did SIN became a full fledged Satellite
interconnected network, but SICC was plunged into what would become an
eleven year long lawsuit pitting old partners and friends against each
other. It was also the year in which Anselmo, Nicolas and a group of
investors including my brother Emilio Jr. launched Bahia De California
Television Company which would own and operate SIN’s newest affiliate,
KDTV, channel 14 in San Francisco. In this year of the bicentennial,
Nicolas, Sr. would also start something that continues to this day and
that is the first nationally televised Catholic mass live from San Fernando
Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas and beamed coast to coast on SIN as a
service to its predominantly Catholic audience.
In 1981 San Antonio named the newest branch of the Library system after
a great pioneer, Raoul Cortez. Mrs. Genoveva Cortez, daughter Irma, Mayor
Lila Cockrell and other dignitaries were present at this momentous occasion.
To this day the Cortez library serves the south San Antonio community
with pride. I am presently embarking on a capital campaign with the San
Antonio Library Foundation to raise funds to expand the library to further
serve its community.
In 1986 a Federal Judge ruled against SICC and in favor of Mr. Fouce
and the other plaintiffs. Mr. Anselmo was forced to resign his post as
President of SIN and SICC and he would only do so if Emilio Nicolas,
Sr. would take his place as the head of SICC.
Mr. Nicolas immediately took charge of the company and began cleaning
things up. He then hired Bear Sterns in New York to look into selling
the SICC station group. After what seemed to be the most difficult year
ever, Nicolas was able to keep all of the different warring factions
at bay and as happy as they could be under the circumstances. He cleaned
up the company, raised sales and profitability to an SICC all time high
and sold to Hallmark Greeting Cards of Kansas City, Kansas for a multiple
of thirteen (13) times cash flow. At the time it was the highest multiple
paid for any Television property.