Hispanic Radio Vet Shares His Story


The Hispanic Radio Conference is coming up March 25-26 at the Intercontinental at Doral in Miami. The conference is a wealth of information and resources to help generate success for Hispanic broadcasters. Radio Ink had a chance to talk with an Hispanic broadcaster who has a resume covering more than 30 successful years in the business.

Luis Orozco is happy he ended up in Akron, Ohio, when he came to the United States from Columbia in 1981. “I came to the University of Akron where I played soccer. The coach at the time was from Argentina and when he was recruiting me he told me that if I wanted to learn about life in America, coming to a Midwest city instead of a large city with a large Hispanic population, would be the best way to learn about America.”

Following graduation from college he continued his soccer life as a pro with the Canton Invaders, an indoor soccer team with the National Professional Soccer League. The paychecks weren’t really enough to make a decent living so he joined the sales team at WAKR-AM/WONE-FM in Akron.

“That’s probably the best decision that I ever made in my life. I met some very good people in local radio that taught me about the business. The group I worked with was amazing. If you had to pick a group that you wanted to go to work with every day, that would be the group. They were inspirational.”

An Hispanic selling radio time in the mid-’80s in the Midwest was a rarity, but Orozco found he was accepted. “At that point in time there really wasn’t that division in the country about race. Everybody was really intrigued. Here was a short guy, soccer player who went to the University of Akron, working for a local radio station. The reception for me was very warm.”

After getting married in 1993, Orozco relocated to Columbus where his wife had a very good job. He continued his career path with the former Nationwide Communications Company. “They had two stations, WNCI and WCOL. That was fun. WCOL was a country station, and I’d show up for sales calls in my double-breasted suit and I’d hear ‘I don’t think you know what you’re selling.’ I managed to get by.”

Radio is a fluid business and Orozco ended up at WVKO-AM 1580. At the time, around 2000, the station played gospel music. “My boss came to me and offered me a couple of late night hours on the station to do a Spanish radio program. After a couple of months we heard from several government agencies that wanted to get their message out to the Hispanic community. That started paying off, it started generating revenue. We eventually expanded the program to six hours a night. The boss came to me and said ‘Luis I think you have something going here and you should open a station.’ So I contacted a group out of Delaware, Ohio, with a small AM station, 1550 WDLR.”

Around 2008 the station, branded as La Jefa 1550, made an impact in the Hispanic communities in the greater Columbus area. The success was noticed by TV Azteca in Mexico and Orozco expanded his media reach by helping to bring Hispanic TV to the Columbus market.

Jump ahead to today. Hispanic TV, radio, and other media platforms have started taking hold in Ohio. Orozco is bringing years of sales, broadcasting, and production experience in radio and television to a partnership with the largest Hispanic media platform in the state, La Mega Media. The company operates radio stations in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, and has four print publications and is working on television projects.

Orozco says his first love is what he discovered more than three decades ago in Akron. “I’ve always been a radio guy. So now that I have the ability to get back to radio it’s such a joy. You can have a bad haircut and not be all dressed up, but you can open the mic and be that voice that talks with people, communicates with people. I think pound for pound it’s the most powerful tool to getting a message out.”

“I think Hispanic radio will continue to grow, it’s going to be a longer process than English-speaking stations, but there is an audience. It’s going to change when the financial status of the Hispanic audience changes. If the audience has money to spend, they will support advertisers on Hispanic stations. Here in the Midwest it’s going to be a longer process than, say, in urban areas with large Hispanic populations, but it is happening. I’m happy to be part of that.”

Thanks to Luis Orozco, La Mega Media
You can register for the Hispanic Broadcast Conference HERE.


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