I think a Spanish station will do better than what they have been doing.
They are a part of the Seattle DMA according to wikipedia:
According to the FCC, Bellingham is part of the Seattle market, and therefore is KVOS is officially a Seattle market station. However, while some viewers in the Seattle area are able to receive the station over the air, syndex rules have forced the station off the cable lineup in Seattle itself.
By going Spanish they should be able to go back on Seattle cable and satellite. Right now they are part of the Vancouver marked for syndicated / non-network programming. They cannot be on Seattle cable because another station has the rights to programs such as Seinfeld and whatever else they carry. If they switch I think the FCC will require ‘Mandatory Must Carry’ of their signal in Seattle. I can’t see the Canadian cable operators dropping the channel. Therefore they will get access to both markets!
Seattle has two Spanish stations now (KUNS Univision and KHCV Azteca America on a part time basis / full time basis on digital sub-channel). A third Spanish station may overcrowd the market. The 2000 US census had 321,000 persons who speak Spanish in Washington State – majority probably in Seattle or with access to Seattle TV (I can’t determine if this is total Spanish speakers or the total who speak Spanish at home.) I assume that this is a growing market in Seattle.
The 2006 census shows 58000 Spanish speakers in Vancouver and another 8000 in Victoria. I have noticed a sizable increase of Spanish speakers around town over the last number of years. The Canadian audience would be a bonus.
I don’t think that they are profitable right now playing seventh fiddle in the Vancouver English TV market. The new owners probably see the need to be included in the Seattle market. They probably would do worse in Seattle than Vancouver as an English station (there are at least nine English non-religious / non-shopping channels) so they probably decided for an alternate language. The Mandarin (?) station (KBCB) didn’t work out in Seattle. What else could they try? Looking at the US census I see no other language besides Spanish that would have to market and growth potential to try. Telemundo is probably looking for a Seattle affiliate anyways.
If they aren’t going HD maybe they can put something interesting on their sub-channels too!