Durán started the Spanish radio program prior to his work with the Catholic Diocese of Toledo. It was an opportunity to bring tejano/norteño/conjunto music to the many migrant families that labored in the fields during that time.
“I credit my brother Ysidro with getting me involved in radio,” says Durán. “Ysidro recommended me to step in when Alfredo Aguilar, who was the deejay for WFOB, had to go to México for a short trip. It was also my brother who volunteered me for the job at the Catholic Diocese.”
The radio program was first called Cachito de Crystal – little piece of Crystal. The name was a reference to Durán’s hometown of Crystal City, Texas and to the crystal in the design of early radios.
Later, when the Catholic Diocese agreed to support the show as an outreach opportunity to the migrant community in Northwest Ohio, Durán changed the name to Junto a Uds, meaning “both near you and uniting you.”
During this time, Durán served as an advocate for many social issues and used the program as a vehicle to impart information. After the Diocese discontinued the program, Durán continued and changed the name to Radio Fiesta.
Over the years, Durán also deejayed at WCWA, 1230AM, and other area stations.
Durán, known for his vivacious personality, served on countless boards during the formative years of the Latino community in Toledo. He was one of the founders and president of La Raza Unida de Ohio and one of the founders and commissioners for Ohio Hispanic/Latino Affairs Commission under Governor Richard Celeste (now Office of Ohio Latino Affairs).
During this time, Durán was also a baile promoter, bringing top Tejano and Mexican entertainment bands to the region. Some of the more well know bands included: Latin Breed, Los Tigres del Norte, Los Humildes, Carlos Guzmán, and others.
Durán was one of Ohio’s pioneers of Tejano music, along with Billy Reyna and Benito Perales Sr., who passed away on August 29, 2008.
Durán also deejays at social gatherings and plays a mean guitar.
In 1976, in collaboration with the Latino Student Union at Bowling Green State University, Durán produced a concert with Mexican movie and recording star Vicente Fernández, who was in the prime of his career, as well as other Mexican artists.
DJs Freddy Gutiérrez and Felipe Pérez also host programs on WFOB and were concerned for future Latino radio broadcasting due to WFOB’s rate hikes.
According to Gutiérrez, who also hosts Latino programming on WBGU radio, Silvestre “was my mentor and a good friend—I learn a lot about radio-broadcasting from him.” Durán had “an amazing career—very professional;” he was very “committed and dedicated to the art. I wish him well. He will be missed from his listeners, friends ‘y colegas en la Radio’ nationwide.”
Editor’s Note: Durán’s last show aired last Sunday, August 31, 2008, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on WFOB 1430 AM. Carla Soto and Rico of La Prensa contributed to this report.
¡ Buena Suerte Silvestre !
Triste noticia para los radio escuchas de la estación de radio WFOB, 1430 AM. Pues después de más de 53 años al aire el programa Radio Fiesta de Silvestre Durán de 78 años se retiró ofreciendo el ultimo show el pasado 31 de agosto.
Silvestre Durán, durante su vida logro fundar la “Raza Unida”, enseñó GED, les consiguió trabajo a más de 40 personas para trabajar en Jeep cuando no estaban contratando latinos, trabajó para la diócesis católica de Toledo y también fue comisionado por dos términos.
Durán dice “ahora que me he retirado quiero dedicarme a la música, a cantar y practicar con el grupo en el que toco, que se llama Los Dintinguidos Tres, en el cual canto y toco con Francisco Ibarra y Jesse Ponce” Los Dintinguidos Tres tienen tocando por más de 7 años.
Silvestre también piensa en dedicarle más tiempo a sus 4 hijos, 14 nietos , 8 bisnietos y su esposa con la cual a estado casado por más de 55 años.