CARLA ARAGÓN'S BLOG

Uplifting the Spirit using my voice & talent.

TAKE FIVE with CARLA ARAGON Featuring RICHARD L. GARCIA

Owner of KDCE Radio, Richard L. Garcia Broadcasting, Inc.

Ask Richard L. Garcia what he loves best, and he won’t skip a beat to answer: “play country music and sports.”  As owner of KDCE-AM Radio in Española, NM and Richard L. Garcia Broadcasting, Inc, Garcia does both.  On Saturday mornings, he is the DJ on Country Gold, a four-hour music program featuring old time country music, and Richard is a long time sportscaster who is dedicated to promoting girls and boys high school sports.

70-year-old Garcia actually got his start in radio in 1959 doing sports with Ivan Head.  He then went on to work at KVSF with Ernie Rivera, and after a stint in the service, he came back to Santa Fe in 1963 to work with Johnny Vigil at KDCE.  He never left.  Richard worked for three owners– first, Former Governor John Burroughs, then brothers George and Blackie Gonzales, and then a man from Chicago–before buying “Que Dice 950-AM” in 1989.

Garcia grew the station with its original Spanish music format and community minded philosophy.   He increased the power of the station to 4,200 watts with night time coverage and purchased an FM Station.  In 1991, he helped launch the New Mexico Hispanic Music Association which promotes the music and talent of Northern New Mexico.  The New Mexico Broadcaster’s Association awarded KDCE the “Station of the Year” in 2001, and Garcia was honored as the “Broadcaster of the Year” in 2002.

But his greatest sense of pride comes from his family:  daughter, Sylvia Garcia Williams who lives in Cincinnati; Richard Garcia Jr. – who works with the new Santa Claran Hotel and Casino; John James Garcia – a Colonel in the U.S. Army who lives in San Antonio; and his youngest son, Tomás Garcia who has also worked at KDCE since he was 8 years old.  Richard married his wife of 46 years, Esther, in 1964 –a year after joining KDCE.  And guess who his compadres are?…George and Celine Gonzales, the former owners of KDCE.

1.  Carla: You’ve spent 51 years in radio, what keeps you going?  Richard: “What I am doing for my community… Española Valley and Pojoaque Valley, and Northern New Mexico…I think I am giving a good service to the community.  Like “Que Suave,” KLTY, and KNMX–they’re community minded radio stations and they serve their communities very well and you don’t see that too much anymore.  The big guys come in and try to polish us off, but we have stayed in the business, we’ve struggled, but we’re still in it.  You have to love the radio business in order to endure all these hard times.  Radio, to me, is in my blood and when I play music of New Mexico or country music, it gives me that real good inspiration and leaves me happy and excited.”

2.  Carla: How do you meet the needs of your community?  Richard: “All little communities should have a station to be localized with what people want.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be Spanish.  If they want country, play country.  If they like rock, let them play rock.  As long as they are involved in the community itself and promoting it as a good community.  Because everything you see nowadays is sometimes so negative.  We want to do a lot of things that are positive. My business here in the Española Valley is to be positive of everything that happens in my community.  I don’t want to see my community hurt by bad publicity.  I just stay away from that totally.”

3.  Carla:  KDCE Radio is on the internet with streaming audio.  Tell me about your experience serving the community outside Northern New Mexico.  Richard: “That has helped in a lot of ways.  It puts the word out about New Mexico generally.  We get a lot of hits on that from people that go to work in Washington…they dial in on us and tell us they’re listening.  Carla: It helps when people get homesick for New Mexico, doesn’t it?  Richard: My son who was in the service, they used to catch it in Iraq and all those places, so he used to listen to our station and get New Mexico music on the internet and New Mexico news.  This has happened with a lot of soldiers.  We get calls from all over…Alaska and Japan.”

4.  Carla:  You’re one of the founders of the New Mexico Hispanic Music Association.  How did it get started?  Richard: “Casey Gallegos and I and some other people got together and said let’s put one of these associations together.  We were not trying to out do anybody else.  What we were trying to do is bring this kind of music that’s hardly being played anywhere else but New Mexico and keep it alive in our community and help local artists.  We’re not just talking about bands, we’re talking about mariachi groups in schools, and we’re talking about old timers that play violins, and you know the old time folk music.  And give these awards to recognize people for their talent.  In Northern New Mexico it has not become extinct…it’s not going away, it’s here.”

5.  Carla:  What did it mean to you to receive the “Broadcaster of the Year” Award in 2002?  Richard: “New Mexico Broadcaster’s Association… I’m a full time member of that.  About two years ago, I told them I wanted to step down from the New Mexico Broadcaster’s Association, so they made me a life-time member because they didn’t want me to get out.  I go more now than I used to.  Basically, I think I’m one of the good guys in radio and I’ve stuck it out for all these years and I guess I’ll just stay here until the day I march on.”

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May 8, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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