Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-03-14
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Homofrecuencia marks a decade in Latino LGBTQ radio
by Stephen Sonneveld

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

"We are a cry of liberty, strength and willpower—just and necessary. We are Homofrecuencia."

Ten years ago, that phrase emanated from a publicly funded radio station in Pilsen and heralded an important chapter in Chicago's queer history as well as a neighborhood's transformation.

Homofrecuencia was America's first Spanish-language radio program focusing on LGBT issues, but show creator Jorge Valdivia was initially met with resistance from the station. As Radio Arte's then-27-year-old assistant general manager, and someone the gay and lesbian youth at the station confided in, Valdivia would not be deterred.

Together, they spent months conceptualizing the program, which Valdivia boldly christened Homofrecuencia ("Homofrequency"). He told Windy City Times, "Deep inside, we were all petrified of coming out on the air, [which] was unheard of in our community, especially in Spanish language media and even more so at a radio station with windows in the studios. But that's exactly what we did on August 12th, 2002, at 9PM."

Tania Unzueta, a former producer and host of the program from 2003-2006, said, "For me, it was one of the only spaces where we could talk about gay history in Spanish, [and] about those intersections of being Latino, being an immigrant and being queer."

Unzueta was one of WRTE's student workers when Homofrecuencia first aired. When she came out and began to recognize herself as part of the LGBT community, she soon joined the production.

"I remember doing pieces on the importance of Stonewall and what immigration reform meant for people who are HIV-positive," she said. "Both as a producer and as a listener, for me, it was a place where we could expose some of those big LGBT issues, but also think about how they specifically affected the Latino community."

The response from young listeners was immediate. Valdivia remembered a student from another show at the station who tearfully confided his thanks for broadcasting the program. "He insisted that there was plenty of reason for being grateful," Unzueta said. "He said it made him feel connected to the gay community and that it was extremely hard to feel connected living on the South Side of Chicago. He went on to tell me that he had just come out and that his parents were not as accepting as he had hoped. I handed him a list of resources of places to call if he needed. That moment happened for a reason. It reminded me why we started doing Homofrecuencia to begin with: to help Latino youth have a sense of belonging, to give them a sense of community."

Although Homofrecuencia was created to be safe place, those windows exposing the producers caused some anxiety, and there was initially fear of protests against the program. What happened next in Pilsen, no one could have predicted.

According to Valdivia, the radio show "paved the way for an openly queer identity in Pilsen [and] marked the beginning of a sense of community for LGBTQ Latinos in Pilsen and Little Village. Homofrecuencia, in many ways, has helped bridge two communities. It's helped create a safe space where we can embrace being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer AND Latino."

Besides reaching their target audience, producers were surprised to find that straight listeners didn't reach for the dial. Valdivia recalled one in particular, Israel, who listened with his son because he wanted him "to grow up accepting and informed."

In 2004, Unzueta joined Valdivia and other Homofrecuencia producers to create "Queer Prom." She had seen other LGBT proms, but not one specific to Latinos. Homofrecuencia and Radio Arte have made it an annual affair, where hundreds of young LGBT couples now share their special night at Chicago's National Museum of Mexican Art.

"For the past two years we've had over 250 youth. Not including volunteers and community members who come to support," said current Homofrecuencia producer Emmanuel Garcia. "It has grown tremendously."

This year, the event was held May 11, and advertisements proudly proclaimed it as a "space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth and their allies to celebrate fearlessly and unapologetically who they are, our communities and prom."

When first began broadcasting Homofrecuencia, the small station with the 14-mile radio signal range tracked 40,000 global listeners a month, from South America to Asia. Garcia stated, "We've interviewed folks in different parts of Latin America—including Venezuela, which was the first Latin American country to marry a same-sex couple."

As for creating the show week in and week out, "We have an editorial meeting on Wednesday to talk about how the Monday show is coming along and where everyone is with their assignment [segments]. Most of the pieces are pre-recorded and go through a rigorous editing process."

Sometimes those segments become stories themselves.

Nancy Hernandez, a former member of the show, used Homofrecuencia as the means to come out to her parents. Valdivia remembered she "pre-recorded what she wanted to tell them and gave it to us to play on cue. She called us like we had planned and we played her story. It was one of the best coming out stories ever."

Tania Unzueta's mother used to pick her up from the studio, and was able to peer into those studio windows and watch her daughter produce the program. "I remember her saying to me once, 'Just don't let them convince you.' And I know that what she was referring to was don't let them convince you of homosexuality," she laughed.

"We talked about that since, and talked through a lot of the misconceptions that she had. Actually, my mom became a listener at some point because her and I didn't really talk about my LGBT identity. But the radio show became our way of her listening to the stories and her learning about LGBT history without me even realizing she was doing it at the time."

Valdivia is proud Homofrecuencia "helped bring visibility to the vibrant, Latino queer community." Before long, the FM signal will be gone, and the show will continue in digital formats.

A lot has changed in 10 years.

Homofrecuencia broadcasts on 90.5 FM Radio Arte and online at on Mondays at 6 p.m.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Transgender Woman Seeks Immediate Protection from IDOC Guards 2018-03-08 - Illinois — A transgender woman has filed a third lawsuit in federal court seeking immediate action to protect her from ongoing harassment and ...

Gay News

Andersonville Chamber of Commerce starts business mentorship program 2018-03-07 - The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce ( ACC ) has launched The Jan Baxter Memorial Fund for Andersonville Entrepreneurs—a business mentorship program established to ...

Gay News

Olympian Adam Rippon Launches GLAAD Campaign for LGBTQ Youth 2018-03-01 - New York — GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today announced that Olympic medalist Adam Rippon launched a fundraising campaign to ...

Gay News

Woodward, Bernstein talk about Nixon, Trump and Watergate at NEIU 2018-02-13 - Journalism icons and authors Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were featured in the latest Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series at Northeastern Illinois ...

Gay News

Woodward/Bernstein event Feb. 8 at NEIU 2018-02-07 - Journalism icons and authors Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will participate in a conversation about current events as Northeastern Illinois University presents the ...

Gay News

#BlackPride4 trial begins, GetEQUAL/BQIC calls for support on social media 2018-02-06 - On June 17th, 2017, Black Queer and Trans people gathered with their allies at the Columbus Pride Festival in Columbus, Ohio with the ...

Gay News

Wanda Sykes performs King's 'The Other America' 2018-02-06 - Audible announced the release of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s The Other America, performed by Wanda Sykes, as a free download. ...

Gay News

Report: LGBTQ-themed ads garner more brand trust, brand recall, purchase intent 2018-01-16 - Hornet, a gay social network, released its first ever research with Nielsen around the efficacy of LGBTQ-themed branded advertising on the LGBTQ consumer. ...

Gay News

Public Newsroom Workshop to share findings on Chicagoans' media perceptions 2018-01-10 - Chicago, IL — In one of the few scientific studies that measures how people in Chicago feel about news media coverage of their ...

Gay News

PODCASTS 'Mattachine' podcast creator brings the past back to life 2018-01-10 - Columbia College writing and production graduate Devlyn Camp is producing and hosting a 10-episode, serialized podcast, called Mattachine, that is currently available free ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.