KPFA FREE SPEECH RADIO 4.1 FM CON SABOR
KPFA 94.1 FV – BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA
This year, Luis Medina was one of the subjects of the Desde La Bahia Calendar, and deservedly so, for his lasting contribution to the appreciation of salsa and Latin jazz in the SF Bay.
Now, as the musical director at KPFA 94.1 FM (Berkeley), he is broadcast on KPOO, KBRG and KUSF. He has served as Entertainment Director for the SF Carnaval, as well as an indemand MC. He’s a popular Club DJ as well, who spins every other Sunday afternoon at Jelly’s (SF). As he says:
“My goal as a radio host is to captivate the listener and as a club DJ, I want to move the dancer to a state of bliss”
I started in public radio in May, 1974, at KPOO (San Francisco) and have been broadcasting on public radio for 31 years. What I try to convey to listeners on my program is an organic mix of the music that I love, which is classic to modern salsa (preferably salsa dura), musica cubana (from rumba to timba) and Latin jazz. I also try to tastefully blend in some world music to the mix, and explore the new trends that encompass the borders of the Latin tinge, such as reggaeton and Cuban hip-hop. I can only produce this type of program on a public radio station that doesn’t rely exclusively on playing top 40 hits.
Public radio also allows me the freedom to go much deeper into the music. For example, I can put together an entire program on Cachao, which would include interviews that I have con-ducted with him; or I can play a juicy 10-minute track as part of a set of charangas which I would never be allowed to play on commercial radio. Comercial radio, by its very nature, has limitations, such as playlists dictated by consultants and/or unimaginative program directors, language guidelines which restrict English or bilingual programming and constant interruptions by commercials, of course.
As a broadcaster for KPFA, I have to fundraise to support the station, since we are the oldest listener sponsored public radio station in the U.S. and continue to be run in that manner. I have an obligation to solicit substantial financial support from our Latin music listeners to keep the program alive and strong at the station. Con Sabor provides a much needed service to the community by presenting the music, artist interviews, community calendar and commentaries.
I believe that the future of Latin Music continues to be bright on public radio. You can still hear everyone from Tito Puente to Los Van Van on public radio programs that you have always relied on for your Latin music fix.
The emergence of the Latino population, as a significant power in this day and age, reinforces the demand for smart, alternative programming that is sorely lacking in commercial media. KPFA continues to excel in its coverage of diverse music, culture, arts, news, and public affairs despite the current restrictive political climate of this country. We also have on-line broadcasting that is bringing new listeners from all over the world via the internet. In this age of satellite radio and even newer advances, it’s encouraging to me that we still exist. We’re in it for the long haul.”
by Chuy Varela