August 19, 2005

Justice is on the air

Latino talk-shows on San Diego’s radio stations play an important role in our community.

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

You already know them. When you’re at work you listen to them. When you’re waiting in line to cross the border, from your car’s stereo system. When you need to learn about a new law or about an immigration issue, you know you can count on them. When you’re getting home from work, you run to the phone, dial the number and give your opinion on the air.

We’re talking about the Hispanic talk-shows on San Diego’s radio stations.

Through guests and through the host’s opinion, these talk-shows many times become the best advisers for thousands of Latinos in the region.

We talked to some of their hosts to learn more about their important work on radio.

Liliana García: Autos, fashion and a talk-show!

When she was barely 17 years old, Liliana García was already involved in the media. Garcia was a member of popular girl band Fandango, that during the ‘80s, made Mexican youth go crazy with hits such as “Autos, moda y rock and roll.”

“My contact with the public began ever since I was in Fandango,” said the host of “San Diego al día,” which airs daily on Radio Hispana. “I was really lucky that I was offered this talk-show for the community.”

After leaving music behind and finishing her college degree in her native Monterrey, Nuevo León, Garcia came to San Diego more than 10 years ago. Five years after her arrival, she was hired by the local Univision television station, where she also has a morning show.

But it’s her work at her noon talk-show what has made her win recognition and the title of “The Voice of San Diego.”

“I would define my show as an informative magazine designed to cover the basic needs of the community,” Garcia said. “Some examples are, how to learn about this country, its laws, how to do your taxes, how to take care of your credit. Basic stuff. My show is an information platform. It’s where people call to ask for help. “I have a compromise with the people,” she added.

Garcia said 2003 was an important year for her, because she received Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)’s National Radio Award for her special coverage of alcoholic beverages and car accidents among youth.

Also, she was named Journalist of the Year 2003 by the Small Business Association of San Diego.

Enrique Morones: “Serving the community is the most important thing.”

Enrique Morones is very active: He’s known by many people, he knows the problems the community faces, he advocates for what he believes is right. That’s the reason why his talk-show on Super K 1040 AM, “Morones por la Tarde,” was popular among people, as well as his English talk-show, On the Record.”

“I have an advantange that others don’t have: I am, before anything, an activist. I’m in the community and I’m here to serve it,” Morones said, who is a San Diego native.

As an activist, Morones has always been the interviewee: His opinion about such and such issue, what does he think about the situation at the border, etc. But ever since he got on radio, he’s the one asking the questions.

But radio wasn’t in his plans.

“I had never considered it, but when they invited me from the station to start my own radio show, I thought it was a good idea,” he said. “I told the station director, Jaime Bonilla, that I needed editorial freedom to choose the issues I want to tackle on the air. He told me that I had total freedom, that the show was mine.”

And Morones has really taken advantage of that. In his talk-show, people learn about immigration issues, culture, health, and legal issues.

“When the station director invited me, he said I was going to fall in love with radio. Today I believe it’s true. Before, I was in constant contact with the community but now, through radio, I have the opportunity of talking to thousands of people.”

Mario Alberto: Making a difference... with a good laugh

Although not a traditional talk-show, Mario Alberto’s show on Viva!, also contributes to making San Diego a better place for Latinos.

“One way or another, we help the community a lot,” said the host of “Mario Alberto por la mañana.” “Maybe the difference is that my show has a more entertainment point of view.”

And he not only speaks about off-beat topics, such as how to get a girlfriend, because Mario Alberto said his show goes beyond that.

“We’ve talked about issues such as drug addiction, divorce,” he said. “But we try to make it in a more interesting way, where people can laugh, participate; where they feel the good vibes, where they can get involved. A joke can make people conscious.”

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