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"Latin Soul" celebrates one year on air

By Adam Troxtell
On February 23, 2010

In February of 2009, Spanish Instructor and Coordinator of Spanish Language Program David Hervas sat behind a microphone in the 88.9 KETR studios for the first time.

Every Tuesday at 9 p.m. his show, "Latin Soul", has aired the sounds of Latin jazz and other world music genres for all of Commerce to hear. Today, Feb. 23, is the show's one year anniversary.

This was not Hervas' first brush with radio, and he refers to it as one of his hobbies.

"When I was here in the states, taking classes at Tulane University, there was a student-run radio station," he said. "I started there and had my show for two years."

After coming to Texas A&M University-Commerce, Hervas learned about KETR and went to them with his idea for a Latin music show.

"I suggested to them if they would be interested in having one musical show focused on Latin Jazz," Hervas said. "Not Latin mainstream music you may find in the clubs for dancing, but Latin tunes related to jazz somehow. They liked the idea."

Director of Programming and host of the Morning Blend radio show at KETR Jerrod Knight said Hervas and his idea came at just the right time.

"I'd been talking with the radio staff about ways to implement a program that went beyond Latino news and issues, something that could be done in-house," he said. "David shows up with his own incredible music collection, and a passion for presenting the nuances of various Latin genres to a radio audience. After working out a few production details, it was a no-brainer that KETR needed to be a home for David and ‘Latin Soul,' a name he suggested when we were brainstorming the ins and outs of the show."

He started out with a producer in the studio with him, Matt Malliaros. He would operate the soundboard while Hervas spoke and played records. Occasionally, he and Malliaros would talk about the music, until Hervas was able to take full control of the show last summer.

Hervas said he feels the show has been a success from the start.

"The professional look of the whole thing was pretty rewarding, as was knowing the show was coming out fine while I was still learning," he said. "Sometimes people have called in and said they liked it, so being in the studio and receiving calls is helpful. It's good feedback."

Some of the music played on "Latin Soul" comes from Hervas' own collection. He said he enjoys the way Latin jazz differs from many traditional Latin genres.

"When you say ‘Latin music' maybe you associate it with salsa and things for dancing in clubs," he said. "Someone who likes that probably doesn't like Latin jazz, because it's rhythmical but doesn't follow those very strict patterns of rhythm that Latin music usually does. It's not so contrained by a rhythmical pattern. It's combining the freedom of the melody of jazz with some steady beats added by the percussion."

Hervas said part of the show's mission is to bring a different culture to the area, as there are few sources of Latin music.

"That's something I'm trying with this show, taking this music I like and offering it from a local station to the community and give the community an opportunity to listen to something that is not so common. Yes, you can go on the Internet and find that kind of music, but you have to make the effort. Here it's just traditional radio."

Knight also said he felt the show had been successful.

"The program has been received very well by all of Northeast Texas," he said. "I believe that David brings more than music to the radio. He allows Northeast Texas a brief two-hour window into what it might have been like to come of age musically in a number of different cultures; what you might hear on the radio if home were someplace far away from here."

For the future, Hervas said he wants to add to the type music offered on "Latin Soul." He still wants to have Latin jazz but with an extra twist.

"I think for the coming year I'm exploring more musical genres," he said. "So far it's been more focused on traditional, instrumental music. There's a music style around where they take these melodies and do remixes based on Latin jazz tunes, Brazilian tunes. I think I'm going to explore that branch of musical remixing."

Latin Soul airs every Tuesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on KETR. Tonight's one-year anniversary show will feature comments from listeners collected by production staff.

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