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Paving the Way for Spanish Broadcasting

22 West Radio airs Spanish commentary for the first time ever


By Jarrod Castillo Staff Writer & Francisco Valladares Athletics Editor

On Oct. 29, Gustavo Ortega and Miguel Vargas made history after airing their first-ever Spanish broadcast during women’s soccer’s 2-0 win over UC Davis.

“We were pushing to not [just] use one language, [English], but to do multiple,” Ortega said. “It will benefit not just the English play-by-play guys, but also the ones who want to do Spanish broadcasting as well.”

Big name schools like Texas A&M, USC, and LSU have added Spanish commentary to their football programming in an effort to cater to their Spanish-speaking fans.

It has become a growing trend to offer diverse voices in commentary at the collegiate level. 22 West Radio is now trying to get in on it too.

According to Danny Lemos, Student Media Coordinator at 22 West Media, it wasn’t that they were ever against doing a Spanish broadcast, but that no student had ever asked to do it.

Eighteen years after student-run radio was established at Long Beach State, two students decided to finally just ask.

There were very little options in terms of who could actually do the broadcast among the members of 22 West Radio, so Ortega and Vargas knew they would have to be the ones who got the ball rolling.

“We are also some of the few broadcasters here who are comfortable broadcasting in Spanish,” said Vargas. “We hope to keep going and make more Spanish broadcasts.”

Ortega added that he hopes the broadcast will become a big step toward change in the journalism department.

“I feel that we don’t have classes that can help us go into Hispanic media,” said Ortega. “Perhaps this will lead to having more journalism classes that can be bilingual.”

22 West Radio Sports Director Zachary Anderson-Yoxsimer also thinks that more opportunities can open up for LBSU students, if a more diverse set of classes is introduced.

“Here at Long Beach we’re stressing inclusivity, so having multiple opportunities for people to go into the business can be a better thing,” he said.

Anderson-Yoxsimer also added that by offering bilingual broadcasting classes, more doors may open up for people as they seek jobs after graduation.

Additionally, Ortega says that the Latin community is really interested in sports and that he would be open to doing more Spanish broadcasts for other sports, such as basketball.

“Sports like baseball and basketball are growing out there too, so it feels like [Spanish broadcasts] would be a good thing to do,” he said. “Whether it is basketball, baseball or volleyball, we hope to be back next season in soccer because we already have a lot of good talent here in Long Beach.”

Anderson-Yoxsimer believes that there should be bilingual programming for other sports, saying that there will be more opportunities to keep airing Spanish commentary. He added that there were only positive reviews from people he spoke with, something that Ortega and Vargas also noticed during their broadcast.

“Since [our listeners] are used to listening to us broadcast in English, they were, I guess, in some stateof shock or amazement that we were broadcasting in Spanish,” said Vargas. “Not only that, but we noticed that more people listened to us only because it was in Spanish.”

After almost two hours of broadcasting the game, Ortega said that it was a great learning experience, as both he and Vargas had been pushing to get a shot at broadcasting in Spanish since the beginning of the year.

“Even though it was our first ever Spanish broadcast, I think we feel confident that we did really good,” said Ortega.

Vargas echoed a similar sentiment.

“I feel very accomplished and satisfied that, thanks to my partner Gustavo and our Sports Director, Zach, we were able to make this happen.”