I feel out of place and sort of lost. I’ve lost a connection to Atlanta, where I have lived for more than nine years. Almost instantly, I feel like a foreigner in this city with a huge — and growing — Hispanic population from many Latin American countries. Viva was a link to my Hispanic identity in this city of transients. It was the familiarity of the Spanish language, a link to my culture in a day that is otherwise filled with English. Although Viva’s hosts were not very sophisticated and some parts of its programming were overtly tacky or kitschy, Viva was the familiar.
Even friends that I didn’t know listened to Viva are upset.
It is a disservice to the Hispanic community in Atlanta for Clear Channel Communications Inc. to have dropped Viva 105.7. Viva’s sibling station, El Patron, though also a Spanish-language music station, plays “rancheras” and other regional Mexican music, a totally different genre of music that appeals to a different audience. And La Raza 102.3 is not really an alternative to that format. It’s not clear why Viva was shut down; it had a huge audience, and it seemed like they were doing well, with tons of advertisers that included big, solid companies.
There is nothing out there for Viva listeners. It was equally popular with established professionals like me and my friends, who have been living in the states for years and feel comfortable in this culture. Now, there is no choice for those preferring a Spanish-language station. It’s like English-speaking people having only the choice of two polka stations.
“Rancheras” and regional Mexican fare are no way to make up for the loss of Viva. Viva has left a void. Advertisers trying to reach Hispanics have certainly lost a vital medium, while listeners have lost more than that.
Atlanta certainly has a big and diverse enough Hispanic community to necessitate a station of much wider appeal.
Writer Aixa Pascual lives in Roswell.