This week, Spanish language broadcaster LBI Media launched a community affairs campaign called “We Are One With You” to address the Latino community’s concern over immigration issues. President Trump’s plan to build a wall and ban travel from other countries has many Americans concerned. With Radio Ink‘s Hispanic Radio Conference set to begin March 28 in Fort Lauderdale, we wanted to know exactly why LBI launched this campaign. We reached out to CEO Lenard Liberman and here’s what he had to say.
Radio Ink: Why did you decide to launch the campaign?
Lenard Liberman: This campaign is about educating and empowering the Latino community regarding immigration issues, and creating awareness to calm their uneasiness with the ongoing rhetoric of fear coming from this new administration. There has been a heightened level of anxiety in the Hispanic community and we want to remind them that we stand with them and that there is no reason to live in fear. We noticed that a lot of the Spanish-language media coverage around immigration news was engulfed in sensationalism, which in turn induced unnecessary fear in our community. We felt the need to step up to the plate and take a completely different approach. For this reason we came up with the concept of “Unidos Contigo” (We are one with you), which basically let’s our audience know that they’re not alone and that we’re here to support them with the latest news and information regarding this very important issue.
Radio Ink: What are your radio stations doing to support it?
Lenard Liberman: We are starting to roll out our “Abogado del Barrio” (The people’s attorney) on-site immigration clinics around various communities where volunteer immigration attorneys hold two-hour free consultations with the Hispanic community to address any pressing questions or concerns they may have regarding their rights and other immigration issues. We hope to increase our on-air dialogue regarding immigration, bringing experts and key government officials to address the community’s concerns.
Radio Ink: What are your radio listeners saying about immigration when they call your stations?
Lenard Liberman: They are quite frightened and anxious. We haven’t seen this type of anti-immigrant rhetoric since the 60s and 70s, so the Hispanic community feels they’re under attack. This type of fear is detrimental to our society, because it has a domino effect on all of our lives. When people stop taking their children to school, stop going to work, or stop reporting crime over fear of being separated from their families and deported to countries they left many years ago, it obviously affects everyone, not just Latinos. Our listeners are expressing frustration and despair, because their lives are being disrupted and denigrated in a very inhumane way.
Radio Ink: What are your personal thoughts on what President Trump has planned for immigration?
Lenard Liberman: First and foremost I oppose any policy that is ill-intentioned and lacking a path to amnesty for people who have come to the US to work hard, improve their lives, and make our country stronger and better. As a son of Mexican immigrants, I cannot support the vicious and denigrating speech being used against the Hispanic community.
Radio Ink: You seemed to be critical of other Hispanic radio companies on the immigration topic. Why, what are they doing?
Lenard Liberman: It’s quite simple, our competitors seem to be capitalizing on fear and are using sensationalism and exaggeration as a means to increase their ratings. Just tune in and notice the tone and the practice of yellow journalism some broadcasters are using to attract audiences and increase their popularity. I think it’s a disservice to the Hispanic community, and instead of empowering our Latino audience with valuable information and education, they are just propagating President Trump’s panic agenda and narrative.
Radio Ink: What are you hoping the result of this campaign will be?
Lenard Liberman: We hope that Hispanics will feel a sense of empowerment and comfort. With our campaign, we are aiming to create awareness in the Latino community about immigration law, their civil rights, and also give them a sense of hope and tranquility. “Unidos Contigo” literally means we are one with you, we are part of the community and, as such, we will do everything that is in our power to inform, support, and empower. That is our mission and our vision for this effort.