Humboldt’s Spanish content radio gets a studio at Arcata Playhouse
On April 11, after finding out that KHSU had suddenly shut down via a social media post, Brenda Perez, at the time, a host of Charlando Con La Raza, rushed down to the station and found it at a complete halt. With a poster that read “We’ll come back. La raza está presente!” Perez and her co-host, Yojana Miraya, pinned their sign on to the door of KHSU’s Diverse Public Radio station.
Certainly, Perez kept the promise that they’d be back – five months after the wipe-out at the station, Perez and Radio Bilingüe are officially back on the air.
“Today is the very first day that we come back,” Perez said, on Sept. 12.
Beginnings of local Radio Bilingüe
It all began in 2017, Radio Bilingüe – a Latin public radio network based out of Fresno, made its way to Humboldt and landed at KHSU; providing the local community Spanish content for the first time. Some months later, Charlando Con La Raza, a local program, was introduced to discuss topics, such as immigration and the Latinx community. Perez, alongside her co-hosts Miraya and Xochitl Cabrera, were on the air every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturdays.
“The radio was a very powerful tool,” Perez said.
Perez and her co-hosts began announcing ICE raids in the county on the radio, they often had immigration activists from the university, and guests from all over Latin America, such as Argentina, Bolivia and Mexico.
“They were doing tremendous work,” former KHSU producer, Jessica Eden said. “Really some of the best programming we had going for sure. Just the most honest.”
But on April 11, a press release soon made its rounds in the community, informing them of “organizational changes” that would leave staff and volunteers out of a job, and Radio Bilingüe off the air.
The drastic cuts came after HSU officials received an 18-page review of KHSU, from the CSU’s Office of Audit and Advisory Services, requested by former HSU president Lisa. A Rossbacher. The press release went on to say that the review identified a number of issues with operations and administration.
According to Perez, Radio Bilingüe received an email a day later from former HSU Vice President of University Advancement, Craig Wruck, that said, “you are still on our schedule, wait for our news, don’t worry.” But Radio Bilingüe never never heard from university officials again.
“That was like the end,” Perez said.
Radio Bilingüe decided that they wouldn’t return to KHSU unless they could bring their whole team back, including Eden.
“[There were] great advantages of working with Jessica [Eden] because when she listened to the program she could edit it very well and it was an advantage to have a bilingual producer,” Perez said.
Eden, who has been with Charlando Con La Raza since its initiation to Radio Bilingüe, was able to find its new home at the Arcata Playhouse.
They were doing tremendous work. Really some of the best programming we had going for sure. Just the most honest.”Jessica Eden
New Radio Bilingüe programs
Arcata Playhouse, located at the heart of the Creamery District, is a historic structure community arts venue focused on performance, education and community enrichment.
Radio Bilingüe’s new station sits in a small teal painted room, out of the Arcata Playhouse. A paper sign that reads “radio in session” greets Perez, Eden and two of their guests. A new program “Radio Centro” will be recorded at this studio.
“Hi everyone, this is Radio Centro. For those who don’t remember me or don’t know who I am, my name is Brenda Perez and I’m here broadcasting from Arcata Playhouse, the home of the new local Bilingual Radio,” Perez announced, as she recorded the first episode.
Charlando Con La Raza, according to Perez, has now been split into two new programs: Radio Centro hosted by Perez, and the second program that will be hosted by Cabrera, which will focus more on music.
“I love that we have these two options,” Perez said. “This is a platform that we love.”
Where to find new episodes
Eden said Radio Centro has a lot of options in terms of how they want to share their content. “There are a lot of places that are content hungry, they just want good programming, and so if we have wonderful people producing it, then we can share it,”.
For now, Radio Centro can be found on Soundcloud and its episodes embedded on Centro del Pueblo’s website.
“I’m just happy that Brenda and Xochitl want to carry on,” Eden said. “They were doing such great work before they pulled the plug on so much good stuff. So it makes sense that they carry on with their good work.”