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'Rock en español' thrives on
KNTA DJ Maria Garcia's
Maria Garcia is ecstatic. Not only is the boisterous rock en español DJ celebrating the first anniversary of her program, Rock-o-Pop, but she's also being featured on a television series on Spanish-language rock bands, produced by Channel 6 in Mountain View. Clad in a suede miniskirt, brown Doc Martens and a rugby shirt, the 24-year-old DJ manages to remain calm and cheerful as she plays Café Tacuba's latest, takes calls and juggles two interviews--one in Spanish and the other in English.
Garcia's show airs Monday-Friday, 9-10pm, and Saturdays, 7-9pm, on KNTA (1430AM), downtown San Jose's Spanish-language radio station. Unsure of the exact rating numbers, she explains that "rock is a minority within a minority. So our ratings are tiny." Most of Rock-o-Pop's listeners are under 21 and from high schools around San Jose, says Garcia. Then she laughs, describing how she does have one way underage listener, a 5-year-old boy who consistently phones in to request songs. "He always tells me that he's hiding because he's afraid that his parents will catch him."
Reflecting on the growing acceptance of rock en español in this area, Garcia says that although Chicanos are more interested in high-energy music like techno, house and disco, they are also getting hooked on Spanish-language rock, because it speaks directly to their cultural roots.
Originally from Spain, Garcia came to the U.S. four years ago to study radio broadcasting. Since then, she received her AA from Foothill College, where she had a hard-rock program on KFJC, and she now has plans to start up at San Francisco State. "I love college radio stations because you can play anything," she says but stresses the fact that KNTA's management is very supportive. "They let me play whatever I want--even songs that say 'mother fucker,' " she adds with a grin.
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