Radio Free Northfield

Radio Free NorthfieldRadio Free Northfield Northfield’s longtime radio station KYMN (AM 1080 and FM 95.1) used to broadcast exclusively in English. As the number of Hispanic and Latino families living in the region has grown, however, the station has added Spanish-language programming to its lineup. On Sunday nights, listeners can tune in to El Super Barrio Latino, hosted by Mar Valdecantos and featuring interviews conducted by Carleton students.

The students are enrolled in “Radio [and] News in Spanish.” As part of the course, taught by Spanish professor Palmar Álvarez-Blanco, students connect with Latinx community members to talk about such topics as housing discrimination, equity in education, immigration policy, the US census, and COVID-19. The interviews, conducted on Zoom, are recorded, excerpted, edited, and shared on air.

“The interviews connect the Spanish-speaking community on campus with communities in Northfield,” Valdecantos says. “The students are eager to learn from and talk with people they might otherwise never have a chance to meet.”

The Mellon Periclean Faculty Leadership Program in the Humanities recently awarded Álvarez-Blanco a grant to develop the course, which promotes civic engagement while empowering students to tackle real-world problems.

Zoë Pelletier ’21, a Spanish major who took the course fall term, says the radio broadcast raises the stakes for students. “It made us more involved in the coursework,” she says. “We’re not having conversations just for the sake of conversation.”

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