Last week, I wrote a cover story on the slow death of Cuban American
news talk radio in Miami. As the Hispanic population in Miami-Dade
has gotten more diverse over the past decade, the frequencies for
hardline right-wing programming focused on getting rid of the Castro
regime has shrunk considerably.
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After reading the article, La Poderosa 670 AM's assistant vice-president Jorge Rodriguez Jr. disagreed with the premise that his station is solely focused on the fight for a free Cuba, noting the programming also includes local politics and issues affecting Miamians here. You can read Rodriguez's response after the jump.
When it comes to Cuba, we don't deny we are anti-regime and anti-tryanny. We are still going to call for the freedom of Cuba. However, when you listen to our station, the majority of our programming is concerned with Miami and what is going on in the city. We don't talk about Cuba all day, every day. Three of our hosts -- Ruby Fiera, [Miami-Dade School Board Member] Raquelita Regalado and Col. Matias Farias -- only talk about what is going on in this community.
Another important thing to realize is that we are also a big sounding off platform for other immigrants who are dealing with similar issues that the Cuban people have faced under a socialist or communist government. We provide a voice to the opposition who have left their countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador. It exists here because it does not exist where they are from. In fact, three of our most well known personalities are Venezuelan.
I take umbrage to the statement that we are dying or that we are not changing or evolving. This station is about this community. The fact that we are independently owned allows us to change quickly and adapt. We don't have to worry about getting approvals about what we are going to cover from a corporate chain-of-command.
And we don't control what people who call in say on the air. We don't dictate what the hosts or the listeners want to talk about. We give them the liberty to say what they want. People call in and defend the Democrats and Obama all the time.
Even our programming dedicated to Cuba issues are high quality and nuanced. We have Ramon Saul Sanchez, who has long been a voice of nonviolent opposition to the Castro regime. And we also Have Huber Matos, a former comandante of the revolution alongside Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos. Matos has a show every Saturday where he gets to relay the history of the revolution and what followed.
People may think we are stuck in the past, but we need to remember the history because a lot if is not in history books. There is a place for it in this community.
But we also don't and have never tolerated terrorism. We certainly did not condone what happened to Emilio Milian. My family held him with the utmost respect. Milian maintained his show on La Poderosa after my father bought the station until his passing in 2001.
Moreover, Rodriguez adds, La Poderosa's audience is growing, while the listenership at the two rival stations, Radio Mambi (710AM) and WQBA (1140 AM) has declined. According to Arbitron numbers released after the article published, WQBA lost another 30,000 listeners while La Poderosa has gained over 12,000 listeners in July. Mambi dropped one spot to 16th among all 32 stations in the south Florida market, while WQBA fell to 28th place. La Poderosa, on the other hand, moved up three spots to 23rd.