Radio station shares bilingual news with Gorge Farmworkers / Public News Service
A unique radio station in the Columbia River Gorge provides news in English and Spanish, on topics ranging from the environment to immigration.
Radio Tierra is a small community station in Hood River serving farm workers who are mostly from Mexico and live on both the Oregon and Washington sides.
“Its purpose is to reach out to this community and talk about environmental and social issues that are happening in our communities, and for them to understand how climate change or environmental crisis is affecting our communities,” said Ubaldo Hernandez, host. of a broadcast on the station. called “Conoce Tu Columbia.”
Hernandez addresses a range of issues on his show, such as the effects of pesticides on health and water quality in the Columbia, and how people can get involved in the solutions to these issues. He is also the main organizer of the Columbia Riverkeeper group.
Leti Moretti, a Radio Tierra volunteer who hosted her own show, said the station provided a way for people to get involved in their community. Moretti said she would use her show to talk about topics like COVID-19 and immigration and to dispel misinformation.
“We know that information in Spanish comes much later than for the English language, and the same goes for misinformation,” she said. “To correct it, it takes about four times longer to correct in Spanish than in English, because there aren’t as many checkpoints.”
Moretti said Radio Tierra has a special relationship with the region it serves. People called on his show just to say they lost their wallet at the grocery store and needed help finding it. She said someone called once to say a family’s fridge had broken down.
“It took less than 60 minutes before someone called me and said, ‘We have a refrigerator in the back of our truck. Just let us know where we need to deliver it.’ They had an extra one in one of the orchards they delivered to this family,” she said. “So that kind of magic was really cool to see.”
Moretti said these are not all serious conversations on Radio Tierra. When a request comes in to lighten things up, the deejays are happy to oblige with some upbeat tunes.
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