Title: WQME starts bilingual broadcast
WQME is giving Spanish-speaking listeners an hour each Sunday to learn about Christianity in their native tongue. “There was a need, definitely,” said Gerald Longenbaugh, marketing consultant for WQME, the Christian-based radio station run by Anderson University. “The Hispanic population of Anderson, of Madison County is a large, large factor in our community,” he said. “And we have not addressed it until now.”
The show, called “The Voice of Indiana” or “La Voz de Indiana,” airs for an hour each Sunday at 10 a.m. on 98.7 FM WQME. It has aired since the beginning of December. In addition to sermons given by ministers from Indianapolis in Spanish, the program offers secular news and a bilingual talk show. Each week, a different guest speaker appears on the pre-recorded show.
Airing only in Anderson, "The Voice of Indiana" is an offshoot of an Indianapolis newspaper bearing the same name. The bilingual paper serves the Spanish-speaking population in central Indiana. It was only natural, said the radio show's coordinator and bilingual translator Lana Alcozer, that the paper should try to deliver its message to a larger audience.
"Many of the Hispanics in the area don't go to church because they aren't comfortable or don't know where to go," said Alcozer, whose brother, the Rev. Johnny Alcozer, ministers on the radio program.
Crediting God with "putting it in (her) heart" to begin the radio show, Alcozer said the Hispanics she speaks with have either let their religion lapse, or have limited knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Bible.
In working with the Indianapolis Hispanic community, Alcozer was surprised to find such little mass media directed at the growing population. In Chicago, where she lived previously, there were both radio and television stations that broadcast solely in Spanish.
In central Indiana, Alcozer said, it is easy for the Hispanic population to lose touch with news and other services because of the lack of Spanish in the mass media.
Longenbaugh, who has volunteered with Operation Love and the Red Cross, said he saw the same need mirrored in Anderson. "There is a strong Christian influence in the Hispanic community," Longenbaugh said. "Some say they are avid listeners of WQME, which surprised me."
In the future, Longenbaugh said, he hopes to offer listeners Hispanic Christian music. "People have asked us about it and we see it as a very strong possibility," said Longenbaugh.
--Keri S. McGrath is a reporter for Anderson Herald-Bulletin.