Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

“Con Salsa” Radio Show in Boston Celebrates 35 Years!

June 21, 2010

This week, we celebrate a landmark for Latino radio in general and WBUR of Boston in particular. This past weekend, WBUR’s Con Salsa show celebrates 35 years on the air. According to The Boston Herald, the show is going to ring in its anniversary with a big club party tomorrow:

“Con Salsa!”, a Saturday evening show on Boston University’s public radio station, 90.9 WBUR-FM, is sponsoring a Tuesday concert with Cuban timba band Pupy y Los Que Son Son at the Wilbur Theatre to mark the event.

The show has a history of being a community hub as well as an entertainment program. The call-in portion of the program has a long pedigree of highly personal messages being shared over the airwaves: marriage proposals, confessions of infidelity, messages for troops overseas, and much more. As a matter of fact, the show has quite a reputation for being a forum in which people share messages with those in the Massachusetts jail system, a topic I wrote about back in February 2009.

Image: Theresa Thompson / CC 2.0

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Happy 30th, Radio Wales!

December 11, 2008

wales

As we roll into the holiday season, I would like to offer my best wishes and congratulations to Radio Wales, which recently turned 30!

At 6:30am on November 13, 1978, the equation changed radically for Welsh radio listeners as Radio Wales (RW) began its first full broadcast. This marked an important transition in format as the move to original content with a local basis began. Prior to RW’s launch, the frequency was populated exclusively with content taken from other BBC operations.

Gary Marsh of WalesOnline notes:

Based at its Cardiff studios, Welsh radio had until then been an “opt-out” from the BBC networks , such as old Home Service and BBC Radio 4.

The launch of BBC Radio Wales was followed by BBC Radio Scotland two weeks later.

The first show on BBC Radio Wales was AM, presented by Anita Morgan – the station’s first-ever voice.

In the intervening 30 years, they have introduced broadcasts from a variety of other Welsh townships, and have even sponsored a light aircraft. The station has also, as many do, produced some recognizable names (at least if you are a fan of the BBC like I am) that have become major players in the UK radio scenes including Rob Brydon, Simon Weston and Colin Jackson.

Wales is  lovely place; my father’s side of the family is originally from there and I have traveled to its green hills myself back in the ’80s. While it defies the common perception of being exclusively rural, it is a country that has at its core a pronounced streak of localism. Numerous small towns dot the landscape, many of them existing just as they did 100 years ago. The sense of community is almost tangible. To me, this explains the success of Radio Wales. Like all good radio, it has made itself a part of the community.

Photo courtesy of trialsanerrors, used under its Creative Commons license

30 Years of Haitian Radio

July 2, 2008

In south Florida, if you tune in on the right frequency (1320 AM), you can hear the liquid sounds of creole language lilting from your speakers. It brings to mind images like the one above, island scenes couched in lush greenery. That is the sound of Haitian radio, a sound that is celebrating thirty tumultuous years on the air. Trenton Daniel at The Miami Herald describes its genesis:

A high school graduate from Port-au-Prince was looking for a college education. A New York nightclub owner wanted to please his wife who preferred the tropical climate. And a newscaster had grown tired of the climate of fear under the Duvalier regime.

They each landed in Miami for different reasons, but these strangers’ lives would intersect in March 1978. By June, the trio produced something unparalleled: A radio program for South Florida’s then-tiny Haitian community, Express Publicite. The dial was 1490 AM, WMBM.

Thus began the long and politically charged tenure of Haitian radio on the south Florida airwaves. Alex Saint Surin, of WRHB-AM (1020) Radio Mega, calls it “the beginning of everything.” Rooted in a goal of regime change in the days of “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s rule, Haitian radio has evolved into an ongoing source of information and commentary for Florida’s growing Haitian community. Mr. Dainel claims it has more than 275,000 listeners in the Miami-Dade/Broward area of the state.

One of the aspects of this niche programming that I find quite interesting is found in this quote from Mr. Daniel’s article:

Haitian newcomers in South Florida welcomed the program. Already widely popular in Haiti, radio news could reach the illiterate masses. Double-A batteries — cheaper than a generator, better value than a daily French newspaper — kept radio humming through Haiti’s frequent power outages.

Once again we see radio as a tool for crossing the digital divide, and also for reaching across the vast information gulf of illiteracy. Without the need to access the Internet, or even be able to read, a populace can still keep informed about the events pertinent to them.

For more about the amazing history of Haitian radio go investigate Mr. Daniel’s article. If you leave a comment, be sure to wish them a Happy Birthday!

Photo courtesy of leynmarie, used under its Creative commons license