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DJ Wanako: Reaching Hispanic Immigrants and Building Community Through Radio

By Julienne Gage

Julienne Gage is a Washington, D.C. based freelance journalist and cultural anthropologist who specializes in coverage of immigration and the politics and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean. See more of her work here.

DJ Wanako at Radio CPR

DJ Wanako at Radio CPR

A few years ago DJ “Wanako”, an immigrant from El Salvador, walked through the doors of Radio CPR, a community radio station in Washington D.C.’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. He started playing rock music, but the other Latino immigrants in the neighborhood weren’t impressed with his choice of genre, so he changed his tunes to fit their tropical tastes. As he built a community following, he started announcing jobs and outing employers who mistreated their workers. Suddenly, he became an accidental advocate for immigrant rights.

Watch Julienne Gage’s story about DJ Wanako.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in Two Worlds brings the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists from communities across the U.S. to public radio and the web. Since 2005, this award-winning project has expanded the diversity of voices and stories on public radio by presenting the work of journalists representing a broad spectrum of immigrant communities including Arab, Bosnian, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian, Indian, Irish, Latin American, Pakistani, Polish, and Russian immigrants. Feet in Two Worlds reporters appear on nationally-distributed public radio programs including PRI’s The World, Studio 360, and The Takeaway, American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Latino USA, as well as on public radio stations WNYC, New York Public Radio, and WDET in Detroit.