June 12, 2002 | By: Haven Miller
LEXINGTON, Ky.

Early this year the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture began serving a new market of radio listeners โ€“ central Kentucky's Spanish-speaking residents.

Through its Cooperative Extension Service the College has for many years provided radio stations with free programs on topics ranging from farming to nutrition. With the increase of Spanish-speaking people into the state, the College's department of Agricultural Communication Services decided it was time to address the information needs of the Hispanic community.

"I had some discussions with our department director and we decided this would be an excellent thing to do, and the right time to begin was now," said Bob De Mattina, UK Extension communication specialist.

After making some phone calls, De Mattina discovered that WYGH-1440 AM in Paris was doing some Spanish-language programming. He called the station, found their management to be open and encouraging, and with the station's cooperation developed a system for airing Extension- produced programs in Spanish.

"We're now providing WYGH a limited number of informational programs and also public service announcements in Spanish," said De Mattina.

The station, which has listeners in 15 central Kentucky counties, uses the programs on its bilingual morning show which airs Monday through Friday.

"There's a lot of information coming from the College of Agriculture that people may not associate with agriculture, such as landscaping and food preparation, and these are areas in which many of our Hispanic community are employed," said Don Souleyrette, WYGH Spanish programming director. "I think it's very important work for UK to reach out to this part of the community."

Producing Spanish language programs is not as easy as it sounds. To accomplish it De Mattina sought the help of one of his student radio interns, Nara De Sa Guimaraes.

"I was born in Brazil and speak Portuguese, but also learned Spanish as a child so it was easy for me to help with the programs," said De Sa Guimaraes, who is a UK sophomore majoring in international economics and foreign language. "I've helped with some of the scripts, and also with the information we put on our web site about the Spanish programs."

The programs have been voiced by Spanish-speaking talent both locally and in Florida.

"We participate in a multi-state network of land-grant universities called Radio Source that supplies Spanish-language broadcast programs via the World Wide Web," said De Mattina. "The University of Florida is a participant and had several of our scripts translated for us into Spanish for use on this multi-state network, and we also use these programs locally."

The College of Agriculture's Spanish-language radio programs may be heard on the web by going to www.ca.uky.edu/agc/audio/ and clicking on "Programs In Spanish." Radio Source may be accessed at www.radiosource.net.

Contact: 

Bob De Mattina, 859-257-4736, ext. 260