Take a look as most of the commercial news media in Philadelphia and you’ll notice something odd — there are precious few Latinx journalists represented.
Maybe a dozen reporters at the online news sites, and handful of editors, despite the fact that Latinxs are more than 14% of Philadelphia’s population. It’s even worse if you look at the local TV broadcasts, where there is next to no Latinx representation among the English-language on-air talent, and the Spanish-language on-air talent — while all Latinx — is mostly recruited from stations in Miami and Puerto Rico.
Where are the Philadelphia Latinxs?
Making news and community media at PhillyCAM it turns out.
“A commitment was made three years ago to increase the number of Latinx radio and TV producers at PhillyCAM which at the time were very under represented, ” said Gretjen Clausing, the organization’s executive director.
May marks the three-year anniversary of the launch of the first of the PhillyCAM offerings: Atrévete – I Dare You, PhillyCAM’s bilingual news and culture TV magazine show which explores culture, talent and resources from Philadelphia’s Latinx community. According to an organizational release, the Atrévete team has produced over 24 episodes of the show on topics that have included refugees seeking sanctuary, organizers working to defend immigrant rights, artists celebrating the Day of the Dead, and climate refugees from Puerto Rico starting a new life in Philadelphia following Hurricane María.
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In the years since Atrévete started broadcasting, PhillyCAM Latinx has grown to include more than 50 Spanish-speaking and bilingual television and radio producers that reflect the diversity of the Philadelphia Latinx community — there are Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Panamanians, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans, Peruvians, Cubans, Nicaraguans and folks from the Dominican Republic producing #ownvoices shows that are born from the Philadelphia Latinx experience.
“Their content is different from commercial fare because it elevates the distinctive voices of Latinx people in Philadelphia, who are speaking directly to the issues and cultural activities that resonate here,” Clausing said.
Three Spanish-language TV programs air on PhillyCAM’s public access cable channel Comcast 66/966 and Verizon 29/30, and six radio programs air weekly on WPPM 106.5 FM. This Thursday, May 2 the Latinx producers of those shows are throwing a party (with networking, music, food and a live television feed) from from 6 – 9 p.m. at PhillyCAM’s studios at 699 Ranstead Street, as a bit of mixer for their audiences — and the rest of Philadelphia — to meet the Latinx TV and radio producers.
“It’s important to have a conversation, for and by the community, to share best practices,” said Carmen Mercet, a producer of the TV show, Milenio Femenino. “We have to know each other, because together, we can do better and do more.”
Clausing said the growth of PhillyCAM Latinx has been “a real learning experience for the organization.”
“It’s more than just translating your materials but how you make folks feel welcome and supported,” she said. “It’s exciting to see the growth of this cohort of producers who are really supporting one another.”
And now that the interest is growing, she said, the organization will continue to work “to best meet the needs of Spanish-speaking media makers and other non-English speakers going forward.”
The PhillyCAM Latinx schedule
- Ahora Sí, airs Mondays at 6 p.m. Produced by Marilyn Rodriguez. Addresses concerns of health, education, culture, technology, and social issues affecting the Latino community within the Delaware Valley.
- Atrévete – I Dare You, airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. Production Coordinator: Gabriela Watson-Burkett, produced by all members of PhillyCAM Latinx. Bilingual community news produced by PhillyCAM Latinx, showcasing the diversity of experiences, stories and ideas within the Latino community in Philadelphia.
- Milenio Femenino, airs Fridays at 6 p.m. Produced by Arianne Bracho, Claudia Ceballos, Nereidas Alvarenga, Carmen Marcet, and Lili Daliessio. A monthly talk show about current issues from the perspective of five Latinas.
- Dos Puntos, airs Saturdays at 9 a.m. Produced by Emma Restrepo. Focuses on the Latinx perspective of the issues that are part of our local and global agenda.
- Super Variada, airs Saturdays from 6 p.m. Produced by Miguel Baptista. A program for the whole family that focuses on the musical and cultural scene, promoting different musical genres from bachata, merengue, through salsa, rock and ballads.
- Higher Than 7, airs Sundays at 8 p.m. Produced by Udini La Voz and Anis Taylor. A bilingual showcase of “Above Average” community members including local artists and musicians, organizers, and other talented people from the Philly area.
- Madre Tierra, airs Fridays at 5 p.m. Produced by Arianne Bracho and Claudia Ceballos. A program about women’s’ issues from a holistic perspective.
- Nika Tlaka, airs Thursdays at 1 p.m. Produced by Brujo de La Mancha. A radio show dedicated to talking about indigenous people living in Philadelphia. News, music, art, interviews, and more.
- What’s Next, airs Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Produced by Rafael Collazo. A program about personal development, leadership, self-help, communication skills, relationships, news, politics and today’s hottest issues, with our most inspirational Latinx leaders today.
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