Spanish radio teeters on the edge in Summit County
summit daily news
FRISCO – Members of the local community gathered Wednesday at the Summit County Community Center to voice their support for the area’s only Spanish-speaking radio station, La Nueva Mix, KQSE FM, amid rumors the station may go off the air.
The station is not in immediate jeopardy of being shut down, according to Stephen Wodlinger, CEO of Denver-based NRC Broadcasting Mountain Group, LLC, which owns KQSE, but unless it can turn a profit soon, the station may be doomed.
“For the foreseeable future, (the station) will run as it is,” said Wodlinger.
The station is not broadcast in Summit County by NRC Broadcasting, but rather by Summit Public Radio (SPR) – an all-volunteer, non-profit organization based out of Breckenridge.
“Stephen (Wodlinger) called me and said they were thinking about pulling KQSE off the air, and we thought it was too important to the community for that to happen,” said Suzanne Greene, president of the SPR Board of Directors.
Greene rallied members of the community to take action in support of the station, which has been on the air for approximately 18 months. Among those in attendance were members of public health and safety organizations who said the station provided an important public service for delivering information to the Spanish-speaking community in Summit County.
“We send media releases (to the station), and DJs and on-air personalities read those to listeners in the Spanish-speaking community,” Tracy LeClair, public information officer for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
The Breckenridge Police Department not only uses the station to make important announcements, it also uses KQSE to help communicate legal matters to the Spanish-speaking community.
“We use the station to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the Hispanic community,” said Breckenridge Police Chief Rick Holman. “Officer Esteban Ortega has been on the radio as a guest, and his segments have proven to be very popular.”
Holman added that the Breckenridge Police Department also coordinate efforts with other local agencies to advertise their annual Adopt an Angel program – a charity for which gifts are donated around Christmas to benefit local low-income families – on KQSE.
The Summit School District is comprised of approximately 25 percent second-language students according to district spokeswoman Julie McClusky. That figure comprises approximately 700 students who may receive announcements through KQSE.
“When we lost one of our Latino eighth-grade students last year to the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, we tried to reach out to the community to help students and families cope with the situation,” McClusky said. “KQSE was a vital part of our communication strategy.”
Patty Cruz, program manager for the Family and Intercultural Resource Center in Dillon, said the center uses the station to promote events on an ongoing basis.
“I was here when there were only a few Latinos in Summit County, and I was one of them,” Cruz said. “Having this radio station is amazing for the community.”
Wodlinger acknowledged that one of the largest challenges faced by the station was an inability to effectively communicate the benefit of advertising on KQSE to Spanish and English speaking businesses alike. The station is also broadcast in Eagle and Garfield counties, and Wodlinger said he was likely to visit those communities, as well, to gauge public interest in the radio station.
No immediate solution for the station’s financial shortfall was agreed upon, but an action committed was formed to brainstorm ideas on how to generate more support for the station.
SDN Reporter Drew Andersen may be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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