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Column: How One Bakersfield Radio DJ Is Getting Essential Information To The Essential Workers Who Pick Our Crops

(Photo courtesy of Pepe Reyes and El Gallito/Illustration by Chava Sanchez, LAist)
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When COVID-19 began to spread, Spanish-language morning radio shows in the agricultural hub of Bakersfield were helping get essential information to the most essential of workers -- the people who pick our crops.

Mis Ángeles columnist Erick Galindo introduces us to Pepe Reyes, a veteran of Spanish-language commercial radio whose warm baritone goes out each day to farm workers in the fields. Erick writes:

Pepe Reyes has the kind of voice some audio nerds probably gush over when they talk about the Golden Age of Radio. It’s a perfectly rich baritone, warm, confident, charming even.

I wonder if those audio nerds might picture a voice like that coming from a 6-foot-tall Mexican from Nogales. But Pepe has been using all that warmth to reach campesinos picking grapes, citrus and almonds on the southern edges of the San Joaquin Valley for the better part of a 40-year career in Spanish-language commercial radio.

“A lot of our listeners work the fields and they rely on us for important information and for entertainment while they work,” Pepe told me during a phone call this past weekend.

As Pepe tells him, it's all "part of the grand tradition of radio to get information to the community."
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