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.

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