How Radio Brisa Tropical Started
We meet today with Taino Roldan from the fabulous station Radio Brisa Tropical. Good morning Mr. Roldan, hope you are well.
Quite well, thanks to God. Warm greetings to you from our radio station Radio Brisa Tropical.
How did you start liking broadcasting and how did you know you wanted to get into this?
Whilst resident in Italy, I began my career as a DJ there and in Germany. When I returned to the United States, I started going to all the local stations to have a salsa show. At first, they always replied that they were not interested and the doors were closed to me, but that never caused me a problem. I have always believed that if a door has closed, you have to find a way to enter that world, no matter what. At last, I started working at an AM station where I spent three years and then at a FM station for almost 10 years.
During this whole period, I was studying broadcasting at the local university and playing with the internet. It was by that time that streaming and webcasting, which was in 2005 if I got it right. A friend of mine who was a computer programmer told me that I could broadcast my shows in this manner. I asked him for help, given he was the expert, so we did this and connected. At that time, Facebook or any of those things did not yet exist, but MySpace did. Then we managed to webcast until the streaming service came out from the hand of YouTube and other platforms, and that’s when I opened my accounts in those social networks and created my website.
While I was on FM, we continued webcasting until 2012, which was when I officially left that station. I was on about four FM stations, but on different days in the area where I was. After I stopped working in those places, I decided to keep right here in my own studio and do my show solely and exclusively on the internet and it has been the case until today. It has been 31 years of happiness and here I am still standing.
We understand that this Radio Brisa Tropical project started in 1991. How was this idea conceived?
While I was on AM, my show was not called Brisa Tropical, but rather “¿Qué pasa?” There we included all kinds of music and gave cultural news about all countries, since I am in an area represented by all Latin American countries, the Caribbean Centre, South America and Spain. Having such a diverse audience, I decided to talk about all countries and not just mine, which is Puerto Rico. I talk about the important days of all the countries such as independence days and other historical events. I want to make content to entertain and educate the audience.
When I switched to FM, the station where I did my show is called “The Brise” and it played contemporary music in English. So, I sat with a friend who was helping me and it was there when I called my own program “Brisa Tropical”, as it is during that time that we included salsa, merengue, bachata, vallenato and much more.
Thank the Lord and the audience we have, we are more dedicated to salsa, and when I say “salsa”, I am including Cuban son and all these Afro-Cuban rhythms that were called salsa since the 70’s till present. However, we like to include all tropical music, classic as well as contemporary. So, it is at the point now where we have created an international audience, and that’s why it is so important to identify and mention the names of the artists, the orchestras, the composers, the arrangers, the members of the groups. Let us remember that there is plenty of time on the Internet. This is nothing like an AM or FM station that are commercial and you only have to reduce the amount of time. Here, I am the programmer and the announcer.
Radio Brisa Tropical is streamed exclusively on the Internet
You have already told us about the role played by the internet and social networks in implementing your project. So much so that networks have become the main transmission channels of the station. Is the internet the main broadcasting channel or are you still on the radio?
My show is streamed exclusively on the internet. Commercial broadcasters were my beginning, but I am absolutely sure that the future is the internet and I am not just talking about Facebook because this social network is not a music platform. I have my YouTube channel, my Facebook page and my Twitter account, but webcasting has opened the door to all musicians, performers and composers from anywhere in the world. The internet is the future of music. I am dedicated to salsa and Latin jazz, but I usually include other genres that listeners often ask me for, such as cumbia, tropical music, vallenato, etcetera.
In addition to salsa, your station plays other genres such as Latin jazz, vallenato, cumbia and plena. Why did you start this project with salsa as a base?
I grew up with salsa and developed myself as a DJ for many years both in Italy and Germany. Although I used to play everything, when I saw the love of Europeans for salsa on the dance floor, I always decided on it. Salsa has always been my life. I like all positive music, but I will always prefer to broadcast salsa and Latin jazz. Now, if a listener asks me to play a good song that does not have high-flown words or anything, I have no problem with it. Here I have been asked to play even rancheras because I have learned that you never say no to that loyal audience.
You currently broadcast live on YouTube, Facebook and your website. Do you know which transmission channel has a bigger audience?
Most of my audience listens to me through the link to my server and website. Remember that the website has the links to the channel and the other social networks. Through TuneIn, I receive a lot of audience around the world. I also use Live365 because the station pays royalties and I have the license to broadcast legally. The problem is that this platform is not heard in some places in South America or Europe, which is precisely why I also use TuneIn. When I check my content every day, I realize that we have a lot of audience coming from the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Europe and the United States.
Age ranges of Radio Brisa Tropical
Many would say that the genres played on your station are to the taste of an older audience that enjoyed the salsa of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. What is the age range of your station?
According to the demographic information and the comments I am getting, I have seen that we have people from 10 or 11 years old and up. Once, a lady sent me a comment saying that her 100-year-old dad stayed in bed listening to the station and even sent me a picture of him smiling. I’ve also received messages from young people. I would say my demographic ranges from 20 years old and up.
I include classic salsa because many of those performers and bands remain relevant with their legacy despite having passed away, but there are also many salseros from that golden era in the 70’s and 80’s who are still active like Willie Rosario or La Sonora Ponceña. I have a lot of Venezuelan and Colombian friends from Venezuela who always send me music.
I like to balance my way to program. I like to take people back to the 70’s and even beyond, bring them back to the present and explain the ins and outs of a song or album. One of the most important things a broadcaster must do is to mention the artist, the composer, the arranger, the musicians, among others. You have to talk about the piece that is playing and what is behind it.
What you are saying is very important because many times people only focus on the vocalist or leader of a group, but they do not wonder about all the behind-the-scenes work or even talk about the rest of the members, such as the guitarists, the pianists, the arrangers or the musical directors. In that sense, what do you do to disseminate all this information?
I like reading a lot. If I am going to talk about a specific artist, I will look for who he is, what his trajectory is, how his beginnings were, what he did, what he is doing now. Of course, I have never included any personal data. This is very important to me because this helps the artist to sell his stuff. When there were a lot of record sales, I had the habit of checking the back to read the liner notes of that artist. That information is very valuable to me because that is what I use to inform the audience unequivocally.
From what you have told me, you have been working exclusively on the Internet for many years. Did you do it before or after the pandemic?
I had already been webcasting my program on the Internet for many years. In fact, I have been doing it since 2012. Thank goodness, the pandemic has not affected me in any way. My wife and I have taken care of ourselves and followed the sanitary rules, but this situation has not affected our work. On the contrary, I am here before the microphone in my studio while I speak and play music every day in the morning. It may also happen that I bring my laptop to a remote location and air the show from there or through my cell phone. I have done a lot of interviews during all this time because I like it so much.
What other projects or shows are you carrying out?
I have discovered that I can do a show about music, but without playing music. Sometimes I do it, but this is not my usual due to the issue of copyright with Facebook. I have a show called “Hablando de Salsa” and I am proud of it because it has been very successful. I am doing this project with Eduardo Saya. The show is entirely about salsa and we broadcast it every Wednesday at 6 PM CST. There, we always choose a different subject to be tackled every day.
Link to the Facebook page of Taino Roldán: Taino Roldán
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