BURLEY, Idaho — When the pandemic first hit, Radio Voz Latina shifted their focus to provide COVID-19 information to the Latino community in the Magic Valley.
Now in 2021, they say radio stations continue to be a crucial resource for the Latino community to find COVID-19 information.
“The Latino community will always listen to the radio. Maybe they’ll stop watching TV, maybe they'll put aside Facebook or other social media, but the radio, they are always going to listen to it," Isneida Valenzuela, host for Radio Voz Latina, said.
After hearing from listeners how much they relied on Radio Voz Latina and other stations for their information on what was happening during the pandemic, the station knew they had to do their part in keeping the community informed.
“It’s very humbling. It makes you feel like you are a very trustworthy person out there. It makes you feel like you’re not only important for Radio Voz Latina, but as soon as you step out of this building. People see you and say, 'oh, she’s a person or, he’s a person that’s part of Radio Voz Latina. We believe in them,'" Valenzuela said.
They saw that trust increase during the pandemic. After having to close down due to safety regulations and technical issues, the community began to reach out to them with concerns about the station's future.
“They were like 'hey, we’re worried. When is the radio station going to go back on the air? We always listen to you guys, we listen to the news and any COVID updates you guys have, and now that you guys are off-air, who do we listen to? We rely on you guys,'" Valenzuela said.
During the times they were forced to shut down, the radio station still provided COVID-19 updates through their Facebook page and other platforms.
The station also began to broadcast its segments on an app that allowed them to reach listeners from beyond the Magic Valley. After using that app, they saw their audience grow in size.
“I had people in Nevada listening to us and we are not only talking about people here in the U.S. There’s people that listen to us in Mexico, in Costa Rica. I've had people that have texted us through our web page that are listening to us in Spain so that’s how much our outreach has grown," Valenzuela said.
Their plan is to continue providing the Hispanic and Latino community with crucial information in the Magic Valley and beyond.
“Part of our growth is knowing that our community trusts us and that we get great feedback from them so that’s always going to be motivating for us and keep on doing what we do," Valenzuela said.