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Nuestra Gente 96.5 FM hits the local airwaves

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent


Latina non-profit executive Linda Parra is finally realizing a dream: her own radio station to publicize local Latino events and issues. But for now, her favorite genres of music are filling the airwaves of the low-power Nuestra Gente 96.5 FM radio station.


“This is like having a baby. You have to watch it every minute, every second,” she said with a chuckle. “I even listen to the radio station from my house, 24 hours. I go to the bathroom, I listen. I go to the kitchen, I listen. I’m driving in my car, I listen to the station. If something goes wrong, we have to fix it right away. This is like your heartbeat and you have to listen to it.”

Linda Parra


WVZC-LP, Toledo’s only 24-hour Spanish language radio station, first broadcast on the afternoon of December 30, 2017. For now, Ms. Parra is taking music requests live via the radio station’s Facebook page and tries to fill those requests as quickly as possible.


“That’s what we need here. The music I played when I had the radio show. That’s what people keep telling me, that they prefer this kind of format,” she said. “People tell me what they want to hear, so that’s what we are doing.”


For almost a decade, Ms. Parra hosted her own one-hour brokered radio show on WCWA-AM 1230, inviting guests to the studios at Fort Industry Square to talk about Latino-themed issues and events. But that show ended in 2014, when Ms. Parra decided to no longer pay for the air time and focus instead on saving for the equipment necessary to start her own small radio station.


“Now we need to buy more equipment to keep operating better,” she said. “We need a computer, we need a printer. We need to make it higher. We are only up 100 feet.”


The latter statement is in reference to putting up a taller broadcast tower so the radio signal can reach more people. The founder and executive director of Nuestra Gente Community Projects, Inc., also stated the need for microphones, a mixer and other basic gear to start a series of talk shows, news, and weather—all in Spanish. The signal right now, according to Ms. Parra, “reaches most of Toledo, Rossford, and Oregon.”


“We just don’t have the things we need yet to operate in a good way. We have limitations right now,” she said. “We would like to have live shows, live news, take phone calls. We don’t yet have the money for all that. We just had to get on the air before the expiration of our license. That’s the main thing right now—just to be on the air. Now we need more to make it a 100 percent radio station.”


Ms. Parra is organizing another upcoming fundraiser to better equip the radio station. A benefit dinner for Nuestra Gente is scheduled for Monday, March 19, 2018 at El Camino Real restaurant, Douglas Rd. and Sylvania Ave., 5:30 to 10 p.m. The $20 admission price includes dinner and a door prize.


Some Latino listeners already are offering feedback on the station’s Facebook page. Advertisers also are seeking out opportunities, which will help because 96.5 FM will have to survive on grants, sponsors, and community donors.


“It is about time Toledo gets to hear a great Latino radio program, excellent format,” wrote Joe Muñoz. “Now let’s make it high-power to expand (the) listening area.”


“I am very excited to finally have a station in Spanish! It would be amazing if you played more salsa, bachata, and ballads,” wrote another listener.


“I am pretty satisfied. It’s been a lot of work, hard work. But people like it. That is something they were waiting for and they are listening to it,” she said, calling it a nonprofit radio station and an extension of her nonprofit work.


The 96.5 studios are housed in rented space right now at The Providence Center in the Broadway Corridor. There’s no word if a move will be needed once a bigger radio tower is installed.


“This is a community station. This is a window for everything people would want to talk about,” she said. “I will want people to call us and tell us about something that is going on and to participate in whatever is going on. We want to listen to the community, their ideas, and try to make that happen. If they want to do something, if they want to make an opinion, then we’ll support you and give you the microphone to make it happen—but everything in a positive way.”


On the Internet:  http://www.nuestragentecommunityprojects.org/

Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/21/18 02:53:40 -0800.




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