Spanish radio station hits the airwaves

"Hola, les habla Jesus Vega. Para hacer la invitaci?n a todo el p?blico a escuchar esta su estaci?n 104.3 FM la grande esperamos sea de su gusto con ustedes la Gran D."...

"Hola, les habla Jesus Vega. Para hacer la invitación a todo el p?blico a escuchar esta su estación 104.3 FM la grande esperamos sea de su gusto con ustedes la Gran D."

Those Spanish words -- basically an invitation to listen -- were the first uttered, at about 10:10 a.m. Monday, on Worthington's newest radio station, KIMZ 104.3 FM, nicknamed "La Gran D." The station, owned by John Daniels of Sioux City, Iowa, will cater to the area's Hispanic population. Daniels has been involved in radio for many years, starting his first station in Iowa City in the early 1970s.

"We discovered that there's a very large and largely unserved population in Worthington -- its Hispanic community," said Daniels, adding that there's also a rapidly growing Hispanic population in nearby Sibley, Iowa, which is also part of the station's licensing area. "We decided we could become a bridge to these populations in this community. Our goal, our mission, is to enhance the integration of Hispanic and Anglo populations into a single community."

Headquarters for the new station is the former post office building on Third Avenue at 11th Street, which has long been home to the Sorensen dental practice and has additional office space. The station currently employs four people: Chad Cummings, general manager; Vanessa VanDam, office manager/sales; Jesus "Chuy" Vega, program director and on-air personality; and Josue Villa, programming consultant.

"It's a mixture," said Cummings about the programming, "The Bustos radio network is what we're based off. They're in 50-some communities across the United States. It's a proven format. It's a mixture of talk shows and music and live interaction, and then we get to put our local flair in with it."


Cummings, who has been a fixture in local radio off and on since 1993, noted that it's the first-ever local product for the Hispanic community that will air 24 hours a day, seven days a week in their language, and will also give the Anglo advertisers a chance to hawk their wares specifically to that segment of the population.

"We're going to have news, weather, local happenings, Chamber events, calendars, all of that," Cummings said.

Although Cummings has previously worked for a new station, this is the first time he's been in on the ground floor of getting one up and running.

"Literally, we built the countertops, pulled all the equipment brand-new out of boxes," he said. "This was pulling wire, unboxing equipment, the part I hadn't experienced from an engineer's perspective.

"And then it's deciding what parts of the community we want to focus on. We want to focus on the information, the cross-over, the relationship-building of the Anglo and Hispanic communities, as opposed to saying, 'Here's some music for you, go ahead and rock out,'" he said. "We're working on building the comfort level on both sides."

KIMZ is located at 1029 Third Ave. For more information, phone 372-4829.

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