Diversity best describes the programming on the 11-year-old, online Crescent City Radio station broadcast from Loyola University New Orleans seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
From Gospel music produced by a Gospel singer to shows about Latin music and culture, relationships to Japanese music and everything in between, Crescent City Radio has it.
One of the longest-running shows since May 2011 has been “Despertando La Tradición” with Ignacio Chacón, a former Loyola student and station program director. Chacón was born in Puerto Rico and now runs a photography business, is a member of the Latin band Treces del Sur and is an English as a Second Language special education teacher.
His weekly show on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. is a mixture of Latin culture, current and old Latin music and current events.
Chacón intersperses live music and interviews with local and international Billboard artists. A recent show featured local singer/musician Amanda Shaw, with Chacón asking about her music, her Latin heritage and her new CD. Other highlighted artists have included Jose Perez, Son de Rumba and ManzaNota.
“What I like about the show is its diversity,” Jay Crutti, director of operations and technology with the department of Film and Music Industries Studies who oversees the station. “He covers a wide range of topics. Sometimes he does music and has bands perform live, other times he discusses culture.”
Chacón said the show gives local Latin bands and musicians exposure.
“No other radio stations offer musicians as much free air time,” Chacón said. “I think I have set a genuine precedent. … I have gotten the attention of other local radio station hosts and owners. Before me, no other radio stations promoted the local Latin music business as much. People know that what I do is for the love of local Latin music. The local musicians are friends of mine, and we love to entertain.”
Chacón said he’s had the idea for his Latin show since the 1990s as a way to fill a void he thought existed on local Latin radio stations.
“I had held on to that idea for a long time,” Chacón said. “I thought it was the right fit on Crescent City Radio. Since then, the radio station has grown quite a bit.”
He’s proud to present his rich Latin culture and music to others. When Shaw was on the show, Chacón had callers from Texas and from Puerto Rico thanking him for his “wonderful show and for sharing this wonderful tradition of our music.”
“I get a lot of calls and emails and, through my Facebook page, a lot of people have connected to the radio show,” Chacón said.
Shaw said she was elated to be on the show because she doesn’t often get the opportunity to share her Guatemalan heritage with fans.
“A lot of people don’t know I am a Latina, so anytime I get to celebrate it I am excited.”
Chacón prepares for his weekly show by combing the internet, talking to people, responding to Facebook posts and doing a lot of research. He shies away from politics and religion, but with a family that has strong Catholic roots – he is a parishioner at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Kenner – he may add guest spots with Catholic priest to discuss religious diversity in 2017.
Crutti knows Chacón has a following because of email comments mentioning how much people enjoy the music and culture that Chacón offers.
How the radio station runs
Crescent City Radio uses a federated model, said Crutti, meaning it doesn’t technically produce shows. The nonpaid hosts and disc jockeys – of which half are Loyola students – produce shows and determine content. Crescent City Radio follows FCC guidelines for obscenity and profanity, he added. Show hosts are chosen by an application process. The station can also produce live shows for bands on and off campus.
”We have a low bar for what we consider worthy to be on a station,” Crutti said. “We’re not trying to control the message of the show.”
With a recording studio next to Crescent City Radio, bands play live and leave with the high-quality recording that was fed directly on air.
Before Crescent City Radio formed online, Loyola University New Orleans’ last on-campus radio station was WLDC-AM through the communications department in 1996. In 2005, students rallied with adjunct professor Mark Glynn to form the internet station under the music industry program umbrella, where it remains. Its first live broadcast was in January 2006, Crutti said.
Broadcast from a Catholic college campus, Crutti said the possibility of broadcasting the Mass live has been discussed, but being a small operation on a shoestring budget makes the logistics difficult, he said.
“Our station is primarily a music station with a little bit of religious and sports programming,” he said.
Even though some hosts are not students, the students with programs gain experience and training that translates to jobs.
“We’ve had several students who went on to careers in radio and TV largely because of the experience they got here,” Crutti said. “This is a big opportunity for DJs, show hosts and students who have bands to get radio exposure and air play. While the overall impact of station is small it, at least, serves as job training. It helps students build up a reel of content.”
Because the station is run by music industry department, its focus is truly music-friendly.
“We are seeking to be the most music-friendly station on the planet,” Crutti said.
To listen live, go to crescent cityradio.com or to Shoutcast.com for radiostreaming and look for the station in its directory.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.