OYE COMO VA.... Last September the town of Clarion, Iowa, rallied to prevent the deportation of Juan and Patricia Castillo and their three children. Many residents wrote letters to the INS and 250 people came out to a fund-raising picnic to help the Castillos, who'd lived in Clarion for nine years.
Ultimately, the government was able to force the Castillos back to Mexico. But the unity displayed in a small town in Iowa can now be found all over the radio dial in major American cities.
There's the rapid growth of Spanish-language radio which, according to Arbitron, now has 15% of all young radio listeners as compared to 8.3% in 1999. This could be dismissed as just an overdue reflection of massive Hispanic immigration into the U.S., except that Spanish-language radio is an iceberg with some new tips.
The "hurban" format-half English, half Spanish-is gathering steam. Three of the eight stations Clear Channel has flipped from English to Spanish in the past year use it and many more are on the drawing board. Many Top 40 stations now regularly program Spanish-language tracks, a previously unheard of practice. Three Spanish-language tracks were on the playlist last month at KISS-FM/Los Angeles while ten were in rotation at KZZA-FM/Dallas-Fort Worth. "It's something that's sweeping the country," says WPOW-FM/Miami program director Kid Currie. Jill Strada of WYPO/Orlando told Billboard how she saw a truck full of "white boys" in downtown Orlando singing the reggaeton song "Aqui Esta Tu Caldo" in Spanish. "You put on [Daddy Yankee's] 'Gasolina' and everybody knows it," Strada added. "The African-American audience that doesn't speak Spanish knows the hooks and the parts to the song."
Minutemen thugs now patrol the Arizona border to keep out immigrants, with the endorsement of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other "respectable politicians." The radio proves that, regardless of the law and its lawless allies, our borders are fundamentally open. From Clinton, Iowa to the airwaves of Texas and Florida, Americans are making it clear that free borders are just fine with them.
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