One America - Radio BilingŁe, Inc.

Program: Radio BilingŁe, Inc., Fresno, CA
Contact(s): Mr. Hugo Morales, Executive Director: (209) 455-5757
Purpose: To use radio to promote cultural understanding, provide opportunity for public dialogue, and the celebrate cultures

Background Program Operations Outcomes

Background

Radio BilingŁe, Inc. (Radio BilingŁe) is a nonprofit organization founded by six young Mexican-American activists from the agricultural fields and urban barrios of the Central Valley of California. They believed that radio could be an effective way to reach fellow farm workers with programming that would strengthen their culture and improve their lives, and that the airwaves could provide access for those traditionally excluded from the power of the media. Although the founders had no experience in building or running a radio station, they succeeded in their vision to create an independent, Hispanic-controlled organization, which reflects the values and traditions of the Hispanic community. Although Radio BilingŁe broadcasts primarily in Spanish and English, it has expanded programming to include other languages so as to keep with its mission of "fostering multicultural understanding." Broadcasts now include programming in Hmong, Portuguese and Mixtec, an indigenous language spoken in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Program Operations

Radio BilingŁe first aired on July 4, 1980. A large volunteer body of Mexican-American farm workers and young students helped the grassroots station grow from its humble beginnings to become a network of five stations in rural California: KSJV in Fresno, KTQX in Bakersfield, KMPO in Modesto, KHDC in Salinas and KUBO in El Centro. By the mid-1980s, Black programmers aired community dialogues, jazz, reggae and calypso music on Radio BilingŁe to fill a void that they recognized in the local cultural landscape. Next was a Filipino program in Tagalog, followed by a program for the Hmong people. Mixteco-language programs were slowly added and Mixteco folk music and messages are now heard by migrant Indians across the state of California. Radio BilingŁe has also helped the Hawaiian population in the Salinas Valley to maintain prominent cultural and musical visibility through its broadcast programs. In addition, volunteers from all of these ethnic groups have been trained and developed as radio professionals through the efforts of Radio BilingŁe.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Radio BilingŁe has matured from a station that was primarily focused on Hispanic groups and issues, to become a vibrant multicultural organization. Values, traditions, languages and voices that are ignored or invisible in mainstream media and society are regularly aired and celebrated as an integral part of the identity of Radio BilingŁe, a station that Hmongs call "Hmong Radio" and Mixtecs call "Mixtec Radio."



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