chapter  6
15 Pages

Listening to Race and Migration on Contemporary U.S. Spanish- Language Radio

WithDolores Inés Casillas

Latino listeners in California’s central coast area faithfully tune and call into Radio Bronco’s popular mid-morning personality, Lupita Rodriguez.1 Located on the 107.7 FM dial, Lupita hosts a local call-in show called El Bazar (meaning: marketplace or second-hand shop).2 For a fast-paced two hours, El Bazar off ers callers the opportunity to broadcast their services, sell lightly used wares, or rent out rooms or appliances.3 For instance, a July 2010 episode featured the following on-air listings voiced by callers themselves: Ramiro sells both a refrigerator and a PlayStation PSP; Theresa off ers excellent childcare on the Eastside; Fernando seeks four tires for his Dodge Ram; Jesus leases his iPhone for a month; and Clara shares a positive assessment of her “Inglés Sin Barreras” English-language learning DVD set. As the host, Lupita reminds people to repeat their phone number (“mija, despacito o no vale su llamada/slower honey or you’re wasting your time”), asks clarifying questions (“… como nuevo? No me digas./… and it’s like-new? Get out of here”), and makes certain that folks keep their pitch succinct (“Gracias-quien-sigue./Thanks-who’s-next.”).4 On this particular morning, Lupita swiftly fi elded 47 phone calls within the fi rst 32 minutes of El Bazar before pausing for a fi ve-minute set of commercials. With nothing valued or off ered at more than $1,000 permitted, El Bazar transmutes the radio waves into a Latino-styled on-air Craigslist for a working-class listenership more accustomed to radio than the Internet, limited in shopping options within a wealthy coastal area of California, or seeking a marketplace exclusively in Spanish.