Herded But Not Heard?

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Posted October 11, 2006 by Kultur in Arts

Per the old adage, the revolution will not be televised — and it won’t be heard, either. If anyone thought that radio was owned by the political right, their minds were quickly changed this spring by Hispanics and their supporters in more than 100 towns and cities, including Fort Worth and Dallas, pouring onto the streets in a show of solidarity against an immigration bill that would have made felons of 12 million undocumented workers. The almost instant mobilization of so many people was credited to Spanish-language radio personalities who rallied their listeners to protest. And they did by the millions, numbers not seen since the days of the civil rights and Vietnam War demonstrations, stunning the country by the speed as much as by the volume of the mobilization.

Where are these stations that the majority of white Americans have never heard of, much less listened to? Everywhere. In the Fort Worth-Dallas media market, there are eight Spanish-language FM stations and an equal number on the AM dial, turning out news, talk, music, and, now we know, rallying the troops when necessary.

The largest Spanish-only broadcaster in the country, Univision Radio, owns several of them, and in late August, five of its local Spanish-language stations sold to Liberman Broadcasting, a California-based media company, for $95 million. This is not a risky investment. Fort Worth Hispanics are almost 30 percent of the city’s population and the fastest -growing ethnic group, here and in the nation.

Emboldened by their success this spring, these stations are now mounting campaigns to get Hispanics registered to vote.

Local print media, of course, caught the late train, about three years ago, and only on the slow track. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram launched La Estrella in 2003 as a stand-alone paper (it had been an insert for several years). But, the political and cultural issues covered by La Estrella are largely ignored by its parent company, creating a de facto segregation of the news. No wonder so many English-only folks had a Custer moment when Latinos took to the streets this spring. — Betty Brink

Fair and Unbalanced

Sarcasm is the cheapest form of wit, and in his letter to the editor last week (“Best of Somewhere”), Chris Bellomy employs the literary device to the breaking point to criticize our Best Of 2006 issue. He claims we ignored Fort Worth/Tarrant County media in deference to stuff in Dallas. Nothing wrong with a little ball-breaking, but Bellomy had an ax to grind, and by not stating his professional biases, we misled readers. By “Fort Worth/Tarrant County media,” Bellomy likely meant “broadcast media,” and by broadcast media, he likely meant KTCU/88.7-FM, where he co-hosts The Good Show with Tony Diaz and El Presidente, Tom Urquhart. Bellomy’s letter now, dear readers, suddenly assumes the amethyst hue of sour grapes, no? I’d say he’s pissed that Urquhart didn’t win Staff Choice for Best Radio DJ and someone from Dallas did, even though anyone who knows anything about progressive popular music knows that along with Paul Slavens (90.1 at Night), Urquhart has the best taste around. (Full disclosure: Urquhart regularly contributes record reviews to the Weekly and may be the nicest person of all time.) But back to Bellomy’s spleen-o-gram: There is no such thing as Fort Worth/Tarrant County broadcast media. Nearly all radio and tv stations in our region cover the entire Metroplex, from Dallas to Denton to here. The proof is in The Dallas Observer’s Best Of 2006 issue. Their staff choice for Best Radio DJ: Tom Urquhart. — Anthony Mariani

Contact Kultur at kultur@fwweekly.com.


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