When Linda Parra moved to Toledo in 2000 and didn’t find a single Spanish station on the local radio, her mission to start one of her own was decided.
“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, NGCP primarily provides healthcare services to Toledo’s Hispanic community, which, as of the 2016 state census, comprises roughly 10% of Lucas County’s population.
No sin Trabajo
More than ten years in the making, WVZC-LP 96.5 FM finally went live on December 30, 2017, and is now on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it was a long journey, said Parra, one that came with its share of obstacles and setbacks.
After receiving a permit from the FCC in 2015, the next step for Parra and her colleagues at Nuestra Gente was, of course, the money. They needed roughly $30,000 to make the 24/7 Spanish radio station come together. Several fundraisers later, time also became an obstacle, as they were given a permit-dependent deadline of December 31, 2017, to get up and running.
“We’d planned to go on-air December 28 or 29th, but the weather was really bad, snowing, you know, when we were putting up the antenna,” Parra explained. As they didn’t have radios inside the station, there was no way for anyone to know if the station was on air for sure after the installation. So Parra went out to her car to listen on December 30, one day before the permit would expire. “It was 2:59 p.m., the music came on,” she said, elated at the recollection. “We were on the air for the first time. I couldn’t believe it.”
Advertisements on 96.5 FM air in Spanish and English, such as the commercial currently running that promotes the group’s March 19 fundraiser. The event will be held at El Camino Real, 2500 W. Sylvania Ave., and proceeds will go toward the purchase of studio microphones, so that Nuestra Gente can provide valuable programmings, such as news updates, talk shows and weather information to the Spanish-speaking community in our city.
“Nuestra Gente” translates to “Our People.” By the numbers, Lucas County joins Fulton, Henry, and Wood Counties in comprising the majority of Ohio’s 90% Hispanic demographic growth between 2000 and 2018. That is to say, Northwest Ohio should definitely be providing plenty of resources for its large Spanish-speaking populace, and every move in that direction is important.
“The radio station connects listeners, and it connects our community,” Parra said. “It’s something we’ve been waiting for for a long time, and it’s a reality now.”
Support 96.5 FM and Nuestra Gente Community Projects, Inc. at their fundraiser:
5:30 p.m., Monday, March 19.
El Camino Real (2500 W. Sylvania Ave.)