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UMN student creates Spanish-language podcast with local Latino community in mind

The podcast will feature news and conversation aimed at informing the Spanish-speaking community.
University students Antonio Elias, left, and Mitch Rold
Image by Courtney Deutz
University students Antonio Elias, left, and Mitch Rold

After working with Latino school kids and parents in Minneapolis, Antonio Elias and Mitch Roldan wanted to give local Latinos a new platform for news.

Elias, a University of Minnesota student, and Roldan, a Minneapolis Public Schools employee, created Hablando Franco — a Spanish-language podcast that will feature news and commentary. The podcast, which translates to “frank talk,” launched Monday.

The goal of the project is to inform Spanish-speaking people and spark dialogue about important issues relating to the local Latino community. The pair’s target audience include Spanish speakers from various demographics.

“It’s something that we need and something that our community can use to get informed,” Elias said.

The duo met while working for Minneapolis Public Schools, where they teach young students and their families about higher education opportunities available to them.

“There’s so much going on in our community,” Roldan said “We have a lot to talk about.”

Roldan said the new presidential administration’s policies could impact programs and institutions such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — a policy that grants young, undocumented immigrants “protected status” for two years, allowing them to work and study in the U.S.

Elias said Hablando Franco is one of the first Spanish-language news podcasts based in Minnesota. Other outlets are based in areas of the U.S. with a higher number of Latinos, such as California or Florida, where media giants Telemundo and Univision are headquartered.

“I watch Univision,” said Jorge Riera an economics freshman. “I think [the podcast] will be really nice, really informative. You could learn something you don’t know.”

Youth studies senior Brenda Hernandez said that she would listen to the podcast to show support.

“I think the Latino community in the state is one of the fastest-growing communities,” said Jimmy Patino, a Chicano and Latino studies professor and Texas native. “Most of that coming from immigration.”

In areas such as the Southwest, much of the Latino population has roots in the U.S. that go farther back than those in Minnesota. Those of Hispanic heritage who live in Minnesota make up 5 percent of the state’s population, according to a Pew Research Center study. But the state’s population is growing.

The podcast will provide an opportunity for the community to stay informed.

“We believe in our families,” Roldan said. “We believe in our communities.”

Hablando Franco officially launched on March 6, and is recorded at the University. The podcasts are posted on Facebook and Twitter.

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