¿Dónde puedo escuchar la radio en español en Auckland? Where can I find a Spanish radio station in Auckland?
This weekend, I started taking Spanish classes in Auckland as a way to keep up my mehhhh Spanish while hopefully making new friends.
I have Spanish-speaking family members, but my parents decided jointly to raise their family in English while encouraging their kids to pursue Spanish when offered in school.
That family decision was a good decision — my nuclear family could all communicate confidently with one another while I could pursue Spanish in school and in university. Which I did, but am nowhere near fluent. I can order a taxi, some pupusas, and a round of beers. Any more than that and I freeze. I do consider lack of Spanish fluency a personal flaw.
Interestingly enough, there are examples of Hispanic Americans speaking more English than Spanish. (Note: I do use Latino/a and Hispanic interchangeably, it’s fairly common to do so. National Council of La Raza’s website seems to back this up.)
Actress Gina Rodriguez told Vanity Fair her grandmother spoke to her in Spanish and Gina responded back in English.
Julian Castro, the U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (one to watch in 2016), doesn’t really speak Spanish (via New York Times, but there many articles on this topic). Or neither does Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) or Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, reports the Wall Street Journal.
And who can forget: Selena didn’t speak Spanish. Check out her Biography link.
I guess that makes Americans who happen to be a) Latino and b) mainly-English speakers just something that exists. Or just something to note that’s of human interest in the United States, where the second most spoken language is Spanish and Spanish-speakers are a competitive voting bloc for both political parties.
Why would I want to pursue Spanish… in Auckland?
Frankly, the argument can be made that I don’t need Spanish in New Zealand. People who identify as part of the Spanish ethnic group in the 2013 Census (which is part of a larger European group) make up less than 1 percent of the New Zealand population (via Statistics New Zealand).
For me, the reasons for learning Spanish are personal. Pursuing Spanish maintains a personal sense of family bond while thousands of miles away. Being able to read one of the best digital newspapers in the world, El País, can help in seeing what works well in digital media. And it’s just fun. It would be cool to use Spanish whenever I meet other hispanohablantes in Auckland — I’ve had the chance to meet (in English) Spaniards, Dominicans, Peruvians, Chileans, Argentinians…
Back to the Spanish class: I asked the instructor whether there was a Spanish-speaking radio station in Auckland. I think she misheard me originally because her response was: There is one?
Enter the Google: 87.8 FM Radio AustralNZ, operating from Mangere East, a 24-hour radio station. I think it’s the only Spanish radio station in New Zealand — the site itself says so, and I don’t see any offerings from area media companies NZME. or MediaWorks. (If I’m wrong, PLEASE let me know via email so I will gladly update this post and listen to your station.)
I tried listening to the station via the website, but I didn’t have some plugin. I figured it was a Chrome on Mac thing. If you have Windows, you should be fine.
I listened to a clip of the station on YouTube, and closed my eyes and started moving to the music, having a bit of a moment and a bit of confusion. It sounds my childhood in New York, but the “desde Auckland” is throwing me off HARD. I half-expect to hear “de Univision.”
I tried to tune in to the station from my burner-phone’s FM app. It’s a bit staticky from Mount Eden, which is maybe 20 minutes away from Mangere East by car. I tried the other FM address, 107.3, off my phone, and still no dice.
Is it my crappy phone that is the problem? Or does the station still exist?
I called the number on the website and was able to confirm it exists. I needed to go back and try to stream it from my laptop.
I had to download Flip4Mac, a plugin that allows Mac users to play streams intended for Windowns Media Player. Flip4Mac is featured on Microsoft’s site.
It took me some time to install and reboot. But once I did and pulled the site up in Safari and… Voila! Or rather: Se funciona! (I’m trying to say “It works!”)
I started listening to a feature profile segment about the country El Salvador. What I like about this stream is that the speakers do not speak superfast; you can follow along even if you don’t quite understand all the vocabulario. I also couldn’t quite get if this segment was original or something from a wire.
Learning more about this station would make a great feature piece: Who runs the station? How are they funded? Who is listening? And what has changed since the station started operating?
I’m glad this station exists: I can throw on my headphones when I’m working on this blog or on another web project and improve my aural proficiency. I still need to pursue other channels in order to improve my reading, writing and speaking.
For me, I have greater questions for the Spanish-speaking community in Auckland: Can they access Univision, Telemundo, TV Azteca or others? How do they access Spanish media? Do they miss their shows?
Right now, as I wrap up this post, the El Salvador feature is discussing pupusas and empanadas. Yum. I’ll tune in again.