22 Wenderly Drive
Before 2003, the Latin American community in Toronto needed a forum, other than print media, to express its opinions, share its aspirations and voice its needs. Since it is a community that is still often described as ‘significantly to extremely disadvantaged’ according to levels of unemployment, education and poverty, the need for a platform to express issues, views and opinions was vital. Furthermore, for the community to integrate with the Canadian society, access to mass media was essential.
The pre-existing Spanish radio initiatives were significantly restricted by airtime. This compelled them to adopt a purely commercial character and thus fail to address the essential areas that a full-time grassroots community radio would cover; areas such as legal initiatives, political decisions, new laws, employment issues, social issues and immigration. In addition, while the airwaves were inundated with chart-busters, the magnificent pool of local Latin jazz, mambo, salsa, merengue, bolero bands and Andean musical talent went unnoticed.
In order to make the community’s presence felt, Fr. Hernan Astudillo realized that it was crucial for Canada to hear their voices, and hence was born Radio Voces Latinas 1610AM, the first Spanish-speaking community radio station in Canada.