Toledo’s First Spanish-Speaking Radio Station—96.5FM Nuestra Gente

. May 22, 2018.
Toledo’s Hispanic community represents 10 percent of Lucas County’s population, but they didn’t have their own Spanish-speaking language station until this year, when University of Toledo graduate Linda Parra’s 96.5 FM Nuestra Gente went on air.
Toledo’s Hispanic community represents 10 percent of Lucas County’s population, but they didn’t have their own Spanish-speaking language station until this year, when University of Toledo graduate Linda Parra’s 96.5 FM Nuestra Gente went on air.

A Breath of Fresh Air

E96.5 FM gives Spanish-speakers something to talk about.

When Linda Parra moved to Toledo in 2000, she didn’t find a single local Spanish radio station. That discovery informed her mission to start a station herself.

“I thought, ‘Something has to happen here,’” Parra said. After launching a radio show in 2005 at the University of Toledo, she also founded Nuestra Gente Community Projects, Inc. A 501(c)(3) organization, Nuestra Gente, which translates to “Our People,” provides healthcare services to Toledo’s Hispanic community, which according to the 2016 state census, comprises roughly 10 percent of Lucas County’s population.

No sin trabajo

More than 10 years in the making, WVZC-LP 96.5 FM Nuestra Gente went live at the end of 2017 and is now on the air 24/7. This long journey provided its share of obstacles and setbacks.

After receiving a permit from the FCC in 2015 which required that the station be operational by December 31, 2017, Parra and her colleagues needed roughly $30,000 to make the 24/7 Spanish radio station come together. After several fundraisers, time also became an obstacle.

“We’d planned to go on-air December 28 or 29th, but the weather was really bad. It was snowing when we were putting up the antenna,” Parra recalls. Lacking a radio inside the building, they couldn’t tell if the station was broadcasting, so Parra went out to her car to listen. “It was 2:59 p.m. [on December 30, one day before the permit would expire], the music came on. We were on the air for the first time. I couldn’t believe it.”

Community support

In addition to Latin hits and favored music, 96.5 FM Nuestra Gente airs advertisements, local, national and international news, talk shows, and cultural programming in Spanish. So far, the response has been incredible, but the radio station is still looking to grow.

Backed by Parra’s organization, Nuestra Gente Community Projects, 96.5 FM Nuestra Gente will seek additional support during the 10th annual A Night with Nuestra Gente fundraiser on Wednesday, May 23. Attendees will enjoy dinner, dancing, raffles, door prizes, live music, and more, with all funds going towards 96.5 FM.

“The radio station connects listeners in our community,” Parra said. “It’s something we’ve been waiting for for a long time and now it’s a reality.”

5:30-11pm | Wednesday, May 23
$20, includes dinner and door prizes.

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant | 7011 Airport Hwy

nuestragentecommunityprojects.org
facebook.com/NuestraGente96.5FM