Friday, August 27, 2010

Fotos - 25 Years at KUVO - Chile Harvest


heart of aztlan

not a mexican sleeping in the cactus

¿mas k?

sweet condemnation

musica de carlos
[original artwork by Carlos Fresquez]

all images © Manuel Ramos

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of public radio station KUVO, 89.3 FM. I still remember the first day of broadcasting; no one, and I mean no one, gave the station a chance. The odds were stacked against the new outlet. The station was going to be run by a bunch of amateurs who did not have a track record in media. And, although the press releases spoke about "bilingual public radio", they were going to broadcast jazz, latin jazz and blues, not banda. At the head of the station was a diminutive, high energy Chicana who brought humor, hard-work, and dedication, but no money, experience, or political baggage.Today, the award-winning station is one of the premier jazz venues in the world (, internationally known for its diverse and exciting programming. World-class musicians regularly perform in the high-tech performance studio, and over the decades the station has hosted all the greats, as well as local bands and numerous college and high school units. The weekend programs are nationally envied for consistent high ratings and creative, innovative formats: Native American, Latin American protest and folk, blues, R&B, Chicano rock, African American roots music, salsa and Latin fusion, Brazilian pop, and much, much more. KUVO truly is the "oasis in the city."

Flo Hernandez-Ramos helped create the station. She worked with other founders for more than two years-- fund raising, dealing with the FCC, taking care of debt owed by the previous license holder, lining up the original staff and board, and learning from scratch about what public radio is all about. Then, for more than twenty years Flo was the CEO and driving force behind the station. She was there at the beginning and she has been through it all: no money, not enough staff, intermittent electricity, makeshift equipment, federal myopia, local apathy. She endeavored and endured and she gathered around her a stellar staff of radio pros just as dedicated as she. Flo is a national symbol for Latino-controlled public service radio, winning countless awards and gaining recognition as a tireless force for community involvement, diversity in staff and programming, and setting high standards for all other Latino media. She left her administrative responsibilities a couple of years ago but she stayed on as a volunteer, continuing as the mainstay for the immensely popular Sunday show Canción Mexicana. This program is the flagship for the weekend - one of the most listened-to shows in any radio service area, and clearly a leading example of how one culture's "cantina music" can cross over to any audience if just given the chance.

Well, this incredible run is finally over this weekend. Flo's last show as DJ for Canción Mexicana will happen August 29th (the actual date KUVO went live.) Flo will stay involved with public radio as the Director of the Latino Public Radio Consortium, but her regular gig as DJ is done. In typical Flo and KUVO style, that means a big party. If you haven't obtained your tickets for the in-studio celebration, then listen beginning at 10:00 AM, on the radio or the Internet. There will be plenty of live music, memories and testimonials, and Flo gets a chance to say one more goodbye, one more adiós to her many fans and friends.

Meanwhile, check out the Chile Harvest Festival, August 28 and 29 at the Lakewood Heritage Center, sponsored by the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC), 10 AM - 5 PM. I'll see you there on Saturday at 1:00 PM when I'll be signing King of the Chicanos at the Cultural Legacy booth.



msedano said...

congratulations and felicidades, flo! "the last show" says a lot, que no? all those memories. adelante to something new. retirement is a challenge, get good at it right away.


Rico Ramos said...

Congratulations Flo! I have enjoyed the show many times over the past few years sometimes over the air waves and sometimes via streaming on the web. Terri and I wish you (and Manuel) continued good fortune and love in all that you both do now!
Rico Ramos