Simplified: The South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce wants to start a Spanish language radio station in Sioux Falls, but CEO and President Selene Zamorano-Ocho said they still need help getting it up and running.

Why it matters:

  • During the pandemic, Zamorano-Ocho said a lot of Spanish-speaking citizens in Sioux Falls were cut off from their communities and any form of local news.
  • Not all Latino immigrants have access to Spanish news or know where to find it, but music and listening is a big part of their culture, Zamorano-Ocho said. She said this has also created a huge responsibility for the bilingual members of the community where they feel a duty to translate important news for their friends and family, but don't always have the time or access to do so.
  • Zamorano-Ocho said all of our neighboring states have at least one Spanish language radio station, and most have more than one.
"There's a big lack of communication and then the little communication that we do have is sometimes misinformation and miscommunication," Zamorano-Ocho said. "And so having a radio station, you'll be going into all of Latino homes. You'll be able to educate them on what's going on in their state."

What are the plans for the station?

Right now, Zamorano-Ocho said she's in the information and planning stage of the process. As the only member of the chamber, she's trying to establish the connections or the resources to license a station, so she said she's hoping someone in the community could help them get started.

  • Zamorano-Ocho said she would be happy to get a weekly radio spot, but ultimately she wants her own station for music, news and culture conversations.
  • The ultimate goal would be a statewide station to compete with neighboring states.
  • The station would ideally have a time slot for other groups in the city, Zamorano-Ocho said, where they could invite other cultures to share their experiences.
"I think it's time for Latinos to wake up and see what we're missing and just get a lot of education," Zamorano-Ocho said. "And the only way that we can get through every Latino home is the radio station."

What else is the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce up to?

On October 15, the chamber will have its first Latino business expo and job fair.

  • They're also trying to get a few postsecondary scholarships set up for Latino students.
  • The chamber also hosts La Pulga, a flea market in Sioux Falls for local businesses.

What happens next?

The hope is to have the station up by Feb. 13, 2023, but the project is still in the beginning stages.

"For everybody to be involved, especially the Latino community, we want them to unite and work together," Zamorano-Ocho said. "So when we finally achieve our goal, we can all say, 'Hey, this is what we did as a whole community. If we can do this, we can do anything,' and I really want them to feel a lot of pride for it."