"He wouldn't let my cohost talk," he says. "He told us if we didn't like it, we could leave. When I tried to intervene, Jorge disrespected me as well."

La Poderosa's owner says Rodríguez Tejera left of his own accord and denies censoring his views.

Either way, it's clear that the kind of boisterous, opinionated management Rodríguez favors has fallen out of practice at his chief competitors, which began moving into corporate ownership in 2004.

Jorge Rodríguez and his son, Jorge Jr., operate La Poderosa, the last independently owned Cuban-American radio station in Miami.
Giulio Sciorio
Jorge Rodríguez and his son, Jorge Jr., operate La Poderosa, the last independently owned Cuban-American radio station in Miami.
WQBA laid off longtime host Roberto Rodríguez Tejera and canceled his show in favor of general news programming from owner Univision's national network.
Giulio Sciorio
WQBA laid off longtime host Roberto Rodríguez Tejera and canceled his show in favor of general news programming from owner Univision's national network.

That's when Univision bought Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., which owned both WQBA and Mambí. Soon after, the network began to change both stations. For example, Univision cut off the practice of commentators getting paid by political campaigns; accepting money from any candidate was prohibited and grounds for firing.

Radio and TV Martí, the U.S. government-funded stations that broadcast news exclusively to Cuba, have also been adrift recently. For the past decade, members of Congress have criticized it as a drain on taxpayers. Last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report concluding that the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Martí, had failed to provide sufficient information to Congress about its cost and audience in Cuba. Still, the station survived last year's budget with $30 million in appropriations.

Whatever the reasons, it's clear that both WQBA and Mambí have been losing listeners over the past decade.

In the fall 2001 Arbitron report, La Poderosa came in 28th, while Mambí was sixth out of 35 local stations. La Cubanisima was 22nd. According to Arbitron's June 2012 report, Mambí has dropped to 15th, while La Poderosa has risen to 25th. Between June and July, WQBA lost 23,900 weekly listeners in the wake of Univision's rebranding.

Rodríguez believes his station, whose numbers remained steady during that period, picked up many of the WQBA defectors. "Many listeners are upset over the changes," he says. "I believe people want a radio station that reflects the current reality of the community."

Inside a dusty back office of a storefront on West Flagler Street, Max Lesnik is preparing for his one-hour program on his website, Radio-Miami.com. The room is equipped with three desktop computers manned by a trio of radio engineers. The walls are the yang to the anti-Castro décor at La Poderosa: a photo of a beaming pre-cancer-stricken Hugo Chávez, a black-and-white image of Fidel, and a charcoal drawing of Che Guevara.

Lesnik walks into a closet that has been converted into a recording room. There is space only for a chair and a microphone. Until last year, he broadcast his one-hour show at a Little Haiti station called Union Radio. But when ESPN Deportes bought its signal, Lesnik decided the best way to reach his audience was to upload his broadcast online.

"I don't know what ratings we are getting because I don't have the money to pay to keep track of it," Lesnik says.

The aging lefty activist is not the only radio voice who's turned to the Internet as Spanish radio becomes increasingly moderate and professional. Firebrands from both sides of the debate over Castro have turned to the web in recent years in search of their lost listeners.

Take for instance activist Dionisio de la Torre, who posts interviews to YouTube that he conducts with other anti-Castro experts and former political prisoners from the living room of his spacious two-story home in West Miami-Dade. He also burns CDs of his one-on-one interviews that he mails to dissidents back on the island.

Even online crusaders such as de la Torre and Lesnik admit that without outlets like La Poderosa keeping the flames of El Exilio sentiment hot, Miami's political scene wouldn't be the same.

"What is going to happen when the people of Radio Mambí retire or pass away?" de la Torre asks. "Will it continue the same way? I don't think so. The market has changed too much."

Rodríguez, at least, remains a true believer. There will always be a place for right-wing Cuban radio in the Magic City, he says.

Part of his optimism comes from his family: His 26-year-old son, Jorge Jr., joined La Poderosa in 2008 as the station's vice president and pledges to keep the fight for a new generation. With his floppy brown hair and disheveled T-shirt and jeans, Junior looks more like a gamer than a radio exec. But he's been learning the business since he was a teenager and plans to continue railing against Castro.

"When I was 13, I spent the summer transferring thousands of CDs into a digital archive," he says. In 2001, when he was 15, he covered exiles protesting the second Miami appearance of Los Van Van at the Latin Grammys show. "I remember watching a group of people chase some guy up a pole. He had yelled something like, 'Viva Fidel.'"

Four years ago, he graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in political science and went to work at his father's stations, where he has modernized production systems and websites. Recently, he and his dad tweaked La Poderosa's afternoon programming to include news from the station's correspondents in countries including Venezuela, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Colombia.

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65 comments
ncc-1138
ncc-1138

Ahhh, I can't wait for all these old hardline obsessive fuckers to die off...it is a new Miami, and thank goodness!!

 

tgonzalez4
tgonzalez4

All I can say is thank God for the death of exile radio. I grew up in Miami circa 1970's through 1980's and during that time I can tell you that it was hard to distinguish between Cuba's communist radio and Miami's stations, which were a trinity of Fascism. The very same intolerance, hatred and fear of freedom of speech which you could hear from Havana radio you would also hear in Miami. It became evident to me that most of these exiles, while always quoting Marti, were in fact undemocratic to the core. In essence, they're problem with Castro was more about his nationalization of Cuban industry and veering over to the communist camp. Had Castro committed to being a right wing dictator, possibly they would have had no problem at all with him.

These stations advocated for separating a child from his father over politics (Elian) in defiance of a bitter history of 14,000 families separated by the communist dictatorship of Cuba (I'm a Peter Pan and I know). In essence, these stations endorsed our imitating the Castros in this regard. In addition, these stations defended the bombing of a civilian airliner carrying youngsters from the Cuban fencing team and the terrorists who did it were and by some, still are, lauded as heroes. In essence, it is O.K. to be cold-blooded murderers just like the Castros. I could go on and on about how Castrolike these stations have been and in the end, they probably did much to prolong Castro's dictatorship by aiding his continued isolation. I'm hopeful of the new Cuban American generations raised to think for themselves and the new generations on the island who recognize that whether you call it Fascism, Communism, Nazism etc. all forms of dictatorship are garbage. Freedom of thought and speech, essential for democracy to endure. 

mannyc007
mannyc007

The Cuban that are here, don,t give a dam about go home or going back to Cuba. Well since U.S.A open door to Cuban and etc. Who the hell wanted go back; No passport !!!!!!!!

jdrumi
jdrumi

manrodriguez1964, is not only an idiot! but a racist, and a very ignorant person. He does NOT speak for all Cuban Americans. *

jdrumi
jdrumi

It's shameful!!!!! * I'm a independent voter,and a Cuban American(54), and I say they should all go out of business. * Voting Obama for President.

 

canes45
canes45

it's about time.50 years have passed since the bay of pigs and and these old right wing farts are still moaning and bitching about it. The are the only one's that fleed their country and came here to get everything free. People in middle eastern countries and other countries stayed and fought to get their country back.At least the new generation of cuban-americans arn't obsessed with the past and  soon the old one's will be gone.And when will the news media stop calling them the exiled community.Its 3 generations ago.ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

miamiman911
miamiman911

VIVA FIDEL VIVA RAUL PATRIA O MUERTE VENCEREMOS

Myrantz
Myrantz

After reading only the first 3 pages of the article, all I can say is: I'm glad they're dying.  

TomasH1
TomasH1

Let's get it out of the way: Cuban-born, Marielita and I have a brain.  That describes me.

 

While I will agree with the MOST BASIC point that these people make (that the Castros are hateful tyrants) the biggest problem that these commentators have is that they ARE EXACTLY LIKE THE PEOPLE THEY ARE CRITICIZING.  You can't complain about someone cutting you off and then go out and do the same thing and expect to be praised for it.

 

If there is one thing I've learned growing up in this country it is that if we are to be considered the "good guys" then we can't act EXACTLY like the "bad guys". 

 

Firing people and cancelling shows because they disagree with your political point of view (check)...

Cherry picking the good but not talking about the bad or the ugly parts of your views or politicians (check)...

Blowing people up or threatening to kill people because they have a different political viewpoint than you (check)...

 

Seems to me that there is not a sliver of daylight between these right-wing foaming-at-the-mouth ideologues and the Castro brothers' regime they so want to liberate us from.  They aren't liberating us...They are taking us out of ONE viewpoint and subscribing us to a completely opposite and just as intransigent viewpoint with no room for dissent.

 

The problem is that no matter how much you try to explain to these people using, uh, I don't know, REASON, that they should not behave this way, they will never change.  They will never change because they believe that they are right and that their means justify their ends.  I can say this because my parents have always been Republicans.  No, they are not millionaires, no they are not white of Scandinavian descent nor were they slave owners during the Civil War.  They are poor ignorant people who believe everything the Republicans tell them because one time in 1980 Ronald Reagan said "Castro is bad" and Jimmy Carter didn't.

 

I've tried to explain to them that it was Jimmy Carter who authorized Mariel and that if Reagan had been in power when it happened we would not be living in this country, but to no avail.

 

One day I finally pinned down my stepfather and asked him why he was so opposed to the Democrats and Barack Obama.  He answered in a huff that it was because "Obama had not done anything to free Cuba".  Imagine that!

 

So I gave up.  I realized that you can't educate a populace that wants to remain ignorant.  You just have to wait them out.   They will all die out eventually and be replaced by some measure of civility.

 

It is inevitable.  Historically things always progress.  These people want to stop evolution or go backwards.  That is as futile as trying to stop all the waves on the beach. 

 

I, for one, hope that this phase will pass quickly and the country soon forgets the caricature of all Cubans that was imbedded into the national conscience by the few, the proud, the ignorant Cubans that will forever believe that "Esto no pasaba en Cuba" (This never use to happen in Cuba).

 

 

westkendallinsurance
westkendallinsurance

Cubans (me included) should not defame other Latin Americans as Tira Flechas, Indios etc.

Why? Our influence in this country, ex CEO's of major corps, two USA senators, countless successful businesses, musicians, Doctors of Medicine, etc speak for itself. I, for one, am not worried about what someone says about us.

run.randrand
run.randrand

YOU KNOW, FOLKS-I SAY THESE THINGS TEASINGLY--BUT I DO SIT ON THE PISTOL-AND KEEP MY GOLD LOCKED UP IN A SAFE--IT MAKES "GOOD FRIENDS"--EVEN BETTER! whahahahahahaha!

run.randrand
run.randrand

FACE DOWN IN THE FLAN WITH THEIR DYING BREATHS---SPILLING THE JEWELS OF CUBAN COFFEE OFF THE TABLES AS THEY DROP....

JP19
JP19

I rarely agree with the commentary on these shows, but these programs are uniquely Miami and our city would be worse off if we lose it. We have already lost so many things that made Miami special among American cities. 

miami1
miami1

i can only be happy this is happening. they're the assholes who hold this city back and make us the laughingstock of the nation. this colombian definitely won't miss them!!!!

edcal_33166
edcal_33166

 @TomasH1 Eloquent defense of Reason.  Your blood must boil when talking to these bozos.  As you say, at least you'll outlive them.

 

They keep the Cold War going because if Cuba were free they'd be just another immigrant group with no political power.  A loud immigrant group that everybody else got tired of 30 years ago.  If politicians weren't afraid of them, and realized that their views are not the majority view anymore, we might make some progress in dealing with Cuba.

 

And if the politicians realized that there are a lot of people of Cuban ancestry as reasonable as you, even the U.S. could progress.

jdrumi
jdrumi

 @JP19 Oh plzzzzzzz! don't make me laugh *I say better off for sure.

MiamiNative
MiamiNative

 @JP19 Ah, so their one-sided, bigoted, ignorant, and hateful commentary is what makes Miami special? Yeah, especially dumb.

Chetter
Chetter

 @miami1 Well, this Colombian has benefited alot from their business... I have had less than fortunate experiences with my own kind... nonetheless this isn't a racial matter, it's a matter of appreciation, and I appreciate our diverse community. Miami wouldn't be the same without our Cuban brethren ;)

jdrumi
jdrumi

 @manrodriguez1964  @miami1 Your comment is offensive and ignorant and this is coming from a Cuban American who's lived in this community for 47 years. 

Chetter
Chetter

 @manrodriguez1964  @miami1 Manrodriguez, shut the fuck up and stop putting cubans so high up on a pedestal... "Indio tiro flecha"? Y tu que eres estupido? Una niña que no pudo con  Castro, y se fue del miedo para Miami a hablar mierda de otras razas? STFU que mal hay en ser de decendientes indios??? Ojala podria verte en la calle para dar te una cachetada puta... 

portablefernie
portablefernie

 @manrodriguez1964  @miami1 You see, you give cubans a bad name. Dejame explicarte Halgo bobo. Los Cubanos Natales eran igual de indios que los de sur america. La unica differencia buddy is that the ones in south america at least put up a fight. Which ironically enough sounds familiar. Cuba is the only country that failed at a revolutionary attempt and blamed another country for it. Let it go. The Kennedys screwed you over.... by the 1960s the united states had screwed a lot of people over... you should have seen that coming. With that said. Let the free market decide the fate of the radio stations 

MiamiNative
MiamiNative

 @manrodriguez1964  @miami1 What a joke. Cubans are among the most racist, self-centered people I know. They hate blacks, which I find ironic since half of Cuba is black. They dont lift a finger to help anyone but their own.

jdrumi
jdrumi

 @manrodriguez1964  @miami1 Listen manrodriguez1964, I am Cuban but I totally disagree with your ideas, and  your  foolish comments. I suggest you get better imformed. 

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @jdrumi  @miami1 You SOB, more offensive is having these trolls criticizing Cubans in general, I truly doubt you're a Cuban, don't you read all the comments that are being made to Cuban Americans, be it the Politicians or Cubans in general, you're just another indio with the old inferiority complex who lives and breeds Topix while bashing and criticizing Cubans, but I enjoy humiliating these MF's, and a far as you residing in Dade for the past 47 years, good for you, knock yourself out,  I've been living in the states since 1960 and have lived up north where it was a totally different world just like Miami back in the 60's and 70's, if you know what I mean.

floggingfernie
floggingfernie

whatever dude, you are old,  what legacy do you have?  when you leave this world nobody will remember or miss you. I pity, PITY YOU. You do an amazing disservice to all Cubans. TO  ALL OF THEM.  You are gonna give yourself cancer with that hatred growing inside of you. This will be my last post yo you, because obviously, you like the cancer i mentioned, cannot be stopped or reason with. Have a good life. tomorrow when you get ready to run "your business" whether fictional or real, profitable or not, look at yourself in the mirror. Then see your wrinkles and your gray hairs and your receding hairline. And listen to the sound of your life ticking away.  Cause you are getting older everyday and you never gonna be 24 again like I am right now, enjoying every minute of life. 8) good night

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @floggingfernie  @mickeytardust  @ChetterWho am I voting for? What do you care, you think one or the other is going to make a big difference in your life, keep dreaming if you think like the normal Goe,  I've been in business for 28 years  and not once have I seen or felt any difference of who has been on the seat.as President, the only huge problem i do see is the over population of immigrants coming into the country, not only in the U.S. but world wide. Our water reserves are depleting in an enormous rate and the world population is just too out of control which today we are already experiencing human clashing of one group with another and so on.

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @floggingfernie  @mickeytardust  @Chetter Indio you couldn't afford me even if you asked your daddy to buy me out, does your mommy know you're in the internet day in and day out criticizing an elite group of people that, not only have been  the most successful of all Hispanics in the U.S, be it economically and professionally, I must think that some Cuban kicked the living crap out of you and now you're all  wind up about it, or is it total envy not only because we're successful and white, but then it's probably both right indito. Someone has to be burning in hatred and envy  towards a group of people in order to spend day in and day out bashing the crap out of a group who in fact are and have been more successful then yours.

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @Chetter Indio It's not a matter of wanting to be anglo, I'm a Caucasian which you're definitely not.

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @floggingfernie  @mickeytardust  @Chetter You're 24 years of age, a typical mojon who thinks they have the world grabbed by it's ball, the typical know it all jack asses that can't be told otherwise cause you punks think you know it all. Humiliate? Ha ha ha ha, humiliate me, ha!!!!!! You smell like the mojon from Topix, what's one of your forum names Cherokee. Indio maricoooooooon, hehe hehehe.

floggingfernie
floggingfernie

 @mickeytardust  @manrodriguez1964  @Chetter 

 

dude i could give three shits who or what you think i am. I dont go by labels or care three shits what other people say. I just like to humiliate people like the 50 year old guy that has nothing better to do with his time. Keep looking back pops, cause your best days are behind you. Just for giggles? I'm gonna say I'm an Indio from Venezuela and wait for your hilariously racist response

 

sincerely 

 

Generation Millennium

 

 

PS: Your welcome for paying your social security 

 

 

 

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @mickeytardust  @floggingfernie  @Chetter Buddy, Miami was the bomb back in the 70's and  80's, when I went to High School back then, it was a totally different world, now you see these goons that have invaded Miami, it is definitely a 4th world jungle.

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @Chetter Indio why don't you say it in my face, but then you're to of a fag to confront me. Don't forget the dog shit.

mickeytardust
mickeytardust

 @floggingfernie  @manrodriguez1964  @Chetter   

floggingfernie is clearly un indio and so is Chetter. Irish blood hahhaha 

 

We, the white men, tried to make your people civilized, but there's just no way with these natives... "The white man's burden" is truly a great one. And yes, I did just reference Kipling, ya biaatch!

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @Chetter i'll keep taliking the truth, Indito don't forget about the job offer, I'll buy you lunch and dinner.

Chetter
Chetter

 @manrodriguez1964 Keep talking shit, little dick having pussy bitch... Were you molested as a child? Get help...

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @Chetter Indio acuerdate que mi gente lo sacaron de tus tierras, te dimo ropa, educacion el idioma Castellano, y muchas otras cosas mas. Acuerdate que me hace falta para que recojas la mierda de perro.

Chetter
Chetter

 @manrodriguez1964  Pobrecita, como se siente tener la pinga en reversa y tu boca en los huevos de tu meastro Fidel? Keep talking shit, you can't handle the truth. You can't handle the fact that your skirt has already been pulled up and everybody who reads this article will come off thinking "manrodriguez1964 es tremenda putita, imaginese la pobre mujer que lo partio por el culo..." You are such a piece off shit ... Pray to god you don't get stepped on...

 

manrodriguez1964 es un cubano resentido sin huevos que sueña con la pinga de Fidel... Pobrecita

 

 

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @floggingfernie  @Chetter  @miami1 Indio mariconcito solo sabes hablar mierda, primero te la comes y despues la hablas, tu no sabes nada de Cuba solo la mierda falsa que hablan los comunistas metiendole informaciones falsas a todos los indigenas tuyos de toddos los paises en latino America.

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @Chetter  @miami1 Indito remember that my ancestors took your land and raped your women, we taught your people how to dress with white mans clothing and brought you scums down from the tree, what more do you inditos want, how mush dick up the ass can you fucks take.

Chetter
Chetter

 @manrodriguez1964  @miami1 I am actually a white male with family that resides in Colombia of Irish Blood.. As an American I am appalled by your racist elitist remarks and wish you would refrain from them if you don't want any trouble. I would love to see you in person and give you a piece of my mind, but scum like you don't deserve that type of attention.. You're better off in your small group of circle jerk closet case neo-cons, lathered in the excretions of your self hate... You are the worst of any human being because your method of measuring people is so primitive, it belongs in the same place you fantasize of being: In a disease infested colonial village in the 1400's in Spain getting raped by the King you worship so much... 

floggingfernie
floggingfernie

 @manrodriguez1964  @Chetter  @miami1 por que no dejais de hablar mierda y haz algo por la libertad de tu Pais.  Que mucha mierda hablas tio. Eres en indio igual que todos y no hay ningun problema con ser indio tienes problema de estima personal. You have major self-esteem issues buddy. Y eres un poco patetico "por lo menos tu pais es libre" Bueno haz algo so tonto. Lo que te dije de cuba no te lo dije de desrepeto. Ustedes son Victimas perpetuas. Refugiados para siempre deberias tener un poco de humilidad. If i said you guys been fucked in the ass for 200 years (the spanish empire, then the mobsters, then batista, then the castros), i meant to say you guys are victims. But you guys are victims by choice. And i can understand the position of  "Look i rather be fucked in the ass than shot in the head", but the fact remains people like you dont do anything for Cuba's "libertad".  Look this country has tons of refugees. They all get to the country and try to live and forget. People like you dont, they hang on to this hate, but dont do anything about it. I mean if you really wanted "libertad" it doesnt take much effort to smuggle crates of Ak-47 and take havana within a week. But nothing gets done. Maybe it should sink into your thick head that nobody really cares about that island. Just like nobody cares about Haiti. It has never crossed your mind that they use your feelings for political and economical purposes?

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @jdrumi  @portablefernie  @miami1 I am totally aware and 110% sure what I'm talking about indito, and as far as being ignorant,paranoid,racist and a moron, that is what you and your kind have and are showing in these forums when it come to criticizing Cubans, Cubans who have been the most successful of all Hispanics living in the U.S., we're only a measly 4% of the Hispanic population and carry 50% of the wealth between Hispanics. 

info3345
info3345

 @manrodriguez1964  @portablefernie  @miami1

Eres un idiota racista de alto nivel. Por esta razon la majoria de los hispano parlientes a traves del mundo hablan mal de los miameros cubanos, falsos latinos con deseos de ser Europeos o Blancitos Americanos. Eres un Caribeno importado de otro pais y no lo que crees que eres. Sigue besando el culo de no se quien te han quitado la razon.  Racista y Traidor.  

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @portablefernie  @miami1 Indio negrito  dejame explicarte tu y tu indigenas no le pueden amararle a los cubanos los zapatos, ustedes son un fracaso y envidioso enconrtra los Cubanos. Olvidate de lo de kennnedy o lo que paso hace tantos anos, la verdad es que los Cubanos son los mas productivos economicamente entre todos los Hispanos en los Estados Unidos y te digo Hispano por respeto por que ni eres Hispano ni Latino, estudia los origines de lo que son eso terminos reales, tu lo mas que eres es o indigena nativo o decendiente  Africano o indio, acuerdate cara de mono que Rodriguez  es poco en la radio Cubana, look up Pablo Raul Alarcon and his son Spanish Broadcasting system, do you think the Cuban interest is done with, ha ha haha ha ha ah ah ha ha.

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @ttingab1es  @MiamiNative  @miami1 Facts, ha, ha, Moron,  or may I say indio, first off, Hispanic is not a race, it's an ethnicity, I guess your lack of education has placed you in the dumb klutz chair.

ttingab1es
ttingab1es

 @manrodriguez1964  @MiamiNative  @miami1 I'm a gringo, speak 4 languages fluently, including Spanish. I don't hate Cubans at all, in fact I'm married to one, and she is embarrassed more often then not by her own people's behavior. And last, since you are not used to dealing with facts, here's one: Cuban isn't a race. Hispanic is, but Cubans think they are the center of the universe anyway, so why wouldn't you think that?

 

Thanks for trying though.

manrodriguez1964
manrodriguez1964

 @MiamiNative  @miami1 Miaminative, ha!!, what a joke, native like a arepa, that's how much native of a U.S. American you are. Racist? Well,  who isn't deep down inside,  aren't you racist when you hate Cubans, duhhh, isn't that racist buddyboy.

 
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