Radio program reaches out to Latinos living ‘between worlds’

Three people talk during a radio show recording
Show guest Rita Robles (center) talks with co-hosts Claudia Lainez (left) and Francisco Segovia during a taping in Minneapolis on Sept. 8.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Tucked away in a corner office at COPAL Minnesota, Francisco Segovia and Claudia Lainez talk with their guest about the show they’re about to record.

Segovia and Lainez co-host Radio Jornalera’s show Entre Mundos — Between Worlds. Their guest, Rita Robles, is returning to Mexico, and so they are pre-taping the following week’s show. Robles, who works for Alianza Americas in Mexico, will be discussing forced migration.

Radio Jornalera began airing in Minnesota in October 2020. But has its roots in Pasadena, Calif. It’s part of a network that spans the country as well as El Salvador and Guatemala.

And it began as a way to get information out to day laborers, so they could know their rights and know who to turn to for help when needed, Segovia said.

He said the network reached out to COPAL to see if they were interested in opening a station in Minnesota.

A door with a "recording in progress" sign
The door to Radio Jornalera’s recording studio is seen in Minneapolis on Sept. 8.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Lainez said each station focuses on issues that are relevant to the area they’re in.

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“I believe that many of the issues we deal with, not only on Entre Mundos, but on the other programs, are meant for the community to be informed about what is going on,” Lainez said.

She worked at Radio Jornalera in Pasadena before moving to Minnesota. Lainez said they would discuss policy issues that impact immigrants and their children — like DACA and TPS.  And during the pandemic, being able to share information through Radio Jornalera was vital.

“And we saw at that time that Radio Jornalera was like a vehicle that allowed us to reach many people through an app or through the programs on Facebook,” Lainez said.

Entre Mundos is just one of seven programs aired on Radio Jornalera Minnesota Monday through Friday —  including a daily program that airs from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays.

A man sits at a desk surrounded by recording equipment
Radio controller Mike Castillo prepares to record Radio Jornalera’s latest episode at COPAL’s offices in Minneapolis on Sept. 8.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Currently Radio Jornalera Minnesota and its various programs can be heard live by downloading the app. Segovia said in the future they hope to have a podcast where the different shows can be available.

The idea behind Entre Mundos is that many people, especially immigrants, live in dual worlds, Segovia said. It’s especially true of first-generation immigrants who often don’t feel they’re from here or their native country, he said.

"Our homes are those dual worlds and our children also live in those dual worlds. So those are identities that we have to live with every day. Sometimes we’ll say I'm from Minnesota, or I'm Salvadoran, or what am I?  So we live in those worlds and we move between those worlds,” Segovia said.

This is why they do shows focused on topics such as transnational issues, he said. For example, the show with Robles focused on how factors like climate change force people to leave their homes. But the show’s topics also touch on issues closer to home.

Three people laugh during a radio show taping
Show guest Rita Robles (center) laughs with co-hosts Claudia Lainez (left) and Francisco Segovia during a taping in Minneapolis on Sept. 8.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

They also make sure the issues and voices they cover reflect all the different ethnicities within the Latino community.

"So I think in this sense the diversity of voices we have on this radio reflects our community,” Segovia said.  “We have Central American voices, Mexican voices, voices from various countries. It's the intention that people can hear themselves.”

Vicki Adame covers Minnesota’s Latino communities for MPR News via Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues and communities.