Anthony Valadez (a.k.a. DJ Valadez) launched KROQ’s first-ever Latin show Alternalido from his makeshift studio at home in Venice Beach on May 17.
The two-hour show, the first of its kind for L.A.’s alternative KROQ-FM (owned by Entercom), kicked off with the music of artists including Chicano Batman, Cuco, Ozomatli and Bomba Estéreo, to name a few.
“Last night I had a lot of anxiety,” Valadez, who serves as host and curator of Alternalido, tells Billboard. “Latin alternative means so many things to different people. You’ve got fans that love Maná and then you have new artists like Omar Apollo and Ambar Lucid who want to break rules and do their own things.
In an effort to better serve the bilingual Latin community in California — which has the largest Latino population in the U.S. — Alternalido aims to spotlight an array of Latin alternative sounds from around the world. “Think of it like it’s Anthony Bourdain behind the turntables taking you around the world through sound,” Valadez says.
While the idea of a Latin-centric show was floated around a few years ago, now was the “perfect time” to go live, according to Jeff Federman, Entercom’s regional president. “We are so much better than we were when we entered March because we were forced to catch up on technology and learn to be even more resourceful. It’s almost a renaissance for radio.”
Mike Kaplan, senior vp/programming at Entercom, echoes Federman. “It’s exciting to know that we’re evolving and taking it to the next step. It was needed in this station. There are no boundaries in music.”
It was precisely that that drew Valadez — who will keep his weekend show on KCRW — to be part of the show as a host and curator. “In a new space and a new era, there’s more room for experimentation. Latin alternative is not new — it’s been there and it’s been neglected. And for these guys to say, ‘Let’s showcase this,’ yeah let’s break rules, that’s super important to me.”
Valadez, who has hosted weekly radio programs for the past 20 years, says he’s not only excited to offer a new home for Latin alternative artists but to be able to create a sense of community in trying times.
“People need community more than ever,” Valadez says. “This is music that is hand-picked and that’s a beautiful thing. The show is very inviting, it’s created with love for everybody and no matter where you come from, you’ll hear something you like.”
Alternalido airs Sundays from 8-10 p.m. PST on KROQ.