Always Playing Something New Nine years broadcasting in spanish
BY KACIE GAZTAÑAGA
Dave Luera in the studio at AK Public Media.
While other Anchorage residents flocked to Flat Top Mountain to enjoy the first night of sunshine the city had seen in well over a month, Dave Luera dutifully reported to the recording studio at AK Public Media, where he has recorded his Spanish music broadcast Algo Nuevo (Something New) every week for the last nine years. Transplanted from New Mexico to Alaska, he says his dedication to his listeners is what keeps him going; after all, he presents the only Spanish-language radio program in all of the Last Frontier.
The way Dave speaks about Alaska, one would believe he was born and raised in the Great Land. First stationed at the remote Air Force base in Clear in 1987, which is known for its massive missile warning system, Luera said arriving in Alaska felt unexpectedly like coming home. From that original assignment 29 years ago until his retirement from the Air Force in 2001, he consistently found ways to stay in his newfound home. He served in Clear, at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, then nally returning to Clear, and retiring there. “It’s very exciting to bring people up here and introduce them to Alaska,” Luera says, smiling, proudly sharing memories from trips his family and friends from back home have made to visit him here.
While Luera has developed a great love for Alaska, he hasn’t lost touch with his New Mexican raíces (roots), nor with the Chicano culture he grew up in. When his deep voice and incredible personal music collection earned him the chance in 2007 to host a two-hour Spanish radio show for AK Public Media in Anchorage, Luera gave it a shot. He had grown up playing in bands around his hometown of Deming, New Mexico, but had never worked on the radio, so this was a new and exciting challenge. He describes the experience of hosting the show from that day forward as being an “incredible ride.” Then a one-hour Friday night program was added to his schedule, which evolved into the present three-hour Sunday evening format. “A different hour would probably mean more listeners would tune in, but I have some incredibly dedicated friends and listeners here and even from the Lower 48 who tune in each week online, even though their time zone makes it even less convenient for them,” Dave notes.
Incredible rides seemed to be the theme of the evening Sol de Medianoche spent with Luera. He bounced between telling stories about how the show has connected him with all kinds of fans and old friends, and how he now owns and has fully restored the beautiful, prize-winning 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z 28 that he and his best friend grew up working on in New Mexico. Much like his car, his near decade-long run as host of Algo Nuevo shows no signs of stopping soon. Even after suffering a heart attack in 2007, Luera rushed to the studio as quickly as possible to record his show before Sunday evening. “I will continue with Algo Nuevo as long as I can,” he says, the joy his listeners give him evident in his voice.
Luera says he learned this passion and dedication from his years in the military. This, mixed with his likeable persona and smooth radio sound, have kept Algo Nuevo successful for so long. Dave says he has somehow managed to find algo nuevo, something truly new to play each week for all these years. “I am constantly listening to music,” he says. Therefore, listeners enjoy a Spanish music experience different than any other found on top 100 Latin radio, or even the more traditional lists of classics. In addition, Luera maintains longstanding relationships with a wide variety of artists from his native New Mexico, and mixes them in alongside Vicente, Selena, and anything else his listeners request during his show. Even buying entire albums to be able to meet a listener’s request is nothing unusual for Dave, who spends his own money on all the music he plays.
Algo Nuevo airs every Sunday night between 8:00 and 11:00 PM on the NPR station 91.1FM in the Anchorage area. To send Dave requests, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. As the program is pre-recorded, phone calls cannot be taken during the broadcast.
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