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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker dismisses explanations for botched year-end broadcast

An island lawmaker called the botched New Year’s Eve broadcast “the laughingstock of modern television history.”

By John McPhaul

The majority leader in the island House of Representatives, Ángel Matos García, described as false excuses the explanations made by the Convention District Authority for what he said was the worldwide fiasco involving the New Year’s broadcast, which was cut off just before midnight on Friday.

“In a document filed with the House of Representatives, the firm that produced the New Year’s event dissociated itself from the Government’s lies, since clearly the Convention District knowingly [contracted] for the broadcast to end at 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2021,” Matos García, a Carolina lawmaker, said in a written statement. “This is demonstrated by page 3 of the response document from the producer of the Dick Clark New Year celebration event.”

The contract with the Convention District states “One (1) video package segment featuring or recapping the countdown to midnight in the Spanish language which will take place at or around the Venue at 11:59 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time and which will be incorporated in the Program after 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) but before 11:59 p.m. EST.”

“It is shameful to see how the country’s press is now being lied to, saying that they are going to investigate what they knowingly signed,” the politician said. “In addition, people present at the event and people linked to the production posted on social networks [about the situation] and the lack of controls on the broadcast floor, where people accessed the talent for photos and autographs causing a delay in the broadcast where the year-end moment was cut off abruptly. It is a shame that federal funds are put at risk for a mixup by friends and government politicians, for an event that … ends up being the laughingstock of modern television history, as the most important moment in the farewell to the year is not broadcast.”

Meanwhile, Edward Zayas, the chief strategy officer of Discover Puerto Rico, said of the events celebrating the end of 2021: “The investment in the end-of-the-year events paid off before [New Year’s Eve].”

“As of the morning of December 31, Puerto Rico had received, due to advertisements and reviews in the media announcing the event, over $30 million in advertising value,” Zayas said. “This figure far exceeds the investment of $4.4 million to put on the event, which was broadcast on the Telemundo network in Puerto Rico, and on ABC in the United States. And that figure doesn’t count the impact the broadcasts themselves had on the night of the event. We anticipate having that information in the next few days.”

Similarly, Discover Puerto Rico held talks with the CNN network to facilitate additional broadcasts from Puerto Rico on the occasion of the end of the year, Zayas said. Discover Puerto Rico staff accompanied CNN correspondents during their stay in Puerto Rico and assisted in their broadcasts. Discover Puerto Rico is working with the Convention District and the various components of the end-of-year effort gathering information on the impact of the event for the benefit of Puerto Rico tourism, he said.

“Once we have that information we will make it public,” Zayas said. “Meanwhile, Discover Puerto Rico vigorously rejects attempts to politicize the event in contempt of the enormous number of people who worked hard to expose Puerto Rico to the world and improve the country’s economy through tourism.”

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