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1978: When BGSU met Latino music, at WBGU 88.1FM


By Alan Abrams, La Prensa Senior Correspondent

Part One of a Two-part Series


Bowling Green, OH: Thirty years ago, Benito Lucio, Jr. was a student at Bowling Green State University, majoring in physical education, with Spanish as his minor. That year—1978—he was not only elected president of BGSU’s Latino Student Union, but he started the first Latino FM radio program in Northwest Ohio on WBGU 88.1FM. His first co-host was his then-classmate, future community activist Margarita De León.

DJ Benito Lucio

You may remember him as El Super Mex.  He was born in San Benito, Texas to parents who were migrant farmworkers in
Montana, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. As a child, he and his family lived for eight years in a migrant camp.


And he has never forgotten his roots. This is further illustrated in part two of this series.


“In 1978, when I was president of the Latino Student Union,” recalls Lucio, “the Black Student Union asked if we would support them in their campaign to get airtime. I said we would, and after it was successful, I was told that there was a bloc of 30 hours a week airtime that we could have as well. So we went on the air.


“Margarita was our second DJ. I remember once we both were on the air together. We noticed there was a switch on the control panel. Margie accidentally hit the switch, and it knocked us off the air. We were sitting there talking on the air, but all our listeners heard was dead silence.


“I always remembered the importance of music to the workers in the fields. When I was working in the fields with my family, I remember all the cars that were parked by the fields with their radios on. I had this connection.


“I thought I’ll be able to do this show on the radio, and it is pretty cool. But I also knew what it was like out there in the fields. I started to think of how the workers could be getting information from my show. So all of my interests came together.


So how did Tejano music come to BGSU?  

“But the big problem was that I knew nothing about Latino music. When I was in college, I was into rock and roll, like Santana and Black Sabbath.  My dad knew Tejano Freddie Fender from back in Texas. But I didn’t know crap.


“So I started reaching out to people. I went to dances to get connected to the musicians. I went to Texas and saw Carlos Guzmán, the Tejano music legend. I came back with 700 albums. My little Camaro was so weighted down, that I had to drive slowly all the way back to BG,” remembers Lucio, who still has that music in his collection.


“Thanks to Carlos Guzmán, I began to talk with the record companies and develop ongoing connections. I also got to meet many of the artists such as Lisa López and Little Joe, who gave me an interview. And I got to meet Selena in 1993.”


Remember these names at WBGU 88.1FM?

“During the formative years, they were all on the show at various times: Isabel Sánchez (La Babé), Ofelia Ibarra (Juana Pelona), Johnny Sánchez, Israel Zamarripa (Mr. IZ), Ramiro Zamarripa (Ram), Angie Rios, her sister and Nora Bautista (the Super Mex Angels), Richard Romero, Robert Torres, Bobbie Rios, La Tigresa, David García, Fred Gutiérrez, and Valley Girl.


Diana Almanaza, La Estrellita, was la más bonita and the youngest Latina DJ that we had on the radio…and the one I remember the most…for her smile. She was a great young lady.

Freddy Gutierrez

“These are the DJs from WBGU…what a great group of people that volunteered their time to bring Tejano/Latino music and Latino pride to the community. I was blessed to have worked with all these folks,” says Lucio.


Co-host De León, being of Puerto Rican descent, loved salsa, merengue, and bachata. Their respective music was blended into a variety of formats, to honor these musical traditions. 

Richard Romero chuckles when he remembers those days. “I was the disco instructor (for LSU dances). That’s how I met my wife. I was pretty smooth,” says Romero, now Deputy Safety Director for the City of Lorain and also Chair of the Ohio Commission of Hispanic/Latino Affairs. 


“I was the events coordinator for the Latino Student Union at BGSU, so I used to go on the station mainly to promote our events. I was also a student publisher – I published the first LSU student magazine,” recalls Romero, who graduated in 1983. 


Like Romero, Margarita De León also came to BGSU from Lorain, OH. She met her future husband, Toledoan Sylvestre Durán, Jr. at BGSU. His father, Sylvestre Durán Sr., is a longtime baile promoter who still has a DJ show in Fostoria, OH.


Lucio, who moved to Columbus, OH in 1984, says he left the show and the station in 1995 because “I was taking on more responsibility in Columbus. And I had a daughter, so I scaled back.

Richard Romero, 1982

“I was honored to be a part of Tejano history. I was also a DJ in Fostoria and I taught Celso Rodríguez all about Tejano music. In the 1980s, I got to meet everybody.” Rodríguez later developed a very successful formatting of Tejano music on WRED 95.7FM.

Today, the show is called “La Unica,” broadcasting on WBGU 88.1FM every Sunday for four hours, from 8:00AM to noon. The DJs include Freddy Gutiérrez, his son-in-law Geraldo Rosales, Rudy “Jalapeño” Lomeli, Joe Cardenas, Maribel, and Daniel


Editor’s Note: Thanks to the research of BGSU’s Gloria Enriquez Pizana, on “July 1978, Lo Mejor de Bowling Green Radio Program, WBGU 88.1, South Hall, BGSU, commenced its Latino radio programming.  In short, Spanish program was given air time by WBGU FM. La Union de Estudiantes Latino (LSU) contributed $300 toward Mexican and Puerto Rican music for the radio library.



NEXT WEEK: Benito Lucio, Jr., moves to Columbus as a migrant ombudsman but his love for radio and Tejano music continued.



El Super Mex, Benito Lucio Jr., continues his community involvement in Columbus

Margarita De León




 DJs Juan Sánchez, Joe Muñoz, and Celso Rodríguez were instrumental in the success of Woodville’s WRED 95.7FM. La Prensa Archive Photo, circa 1991.







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