My first job on air in the United States: KAPI AM, a small radio station in the state of Colorado
November 6, 1973
After being in Colorado Springs Colorado for a few months, I started to listen to the only radio in the area broadcasting in Spanish I called the radio station which was located in an old building outside of Pueblo Colorado and I just asked the first person that answered the phone, if I could help with programming.
Andres Naideg, the station manager at KAPI, answered the phone and after we talked for awhile he suggested I go to the station the next day, this was after I said to him that I had experience since I had worked at radio station XEPB-FM in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
When I arrived, Andres invited me to sit in the booth with him while he was broadcasting and mixing Long Play records. After a while he asked me if I knew how to operate the equipment. When I said yes, he said, “Ok, show me after this song.” Thankfully, I had been observing his every move as we talked. I felt confident since the equipment was an older version of what I was used to in Mexico.
I walked over to the chair where he was sitting, sat down, and waited for the song to end. I opened the mic and introduced myself to the Colorado listeners and took the opportunity to improvise a bit. I looked to my right and peeked at the next record to be played. (“El Manicero” known in the USA as “The Peanut Vendor” with orchestra leader Perez Prado) I introduced the song and after letting it spin to a complete speed, I turned the volume up and switched the mic off with ease, as if I had been working there for years. It was then that he asked me, “Can you start Monday?”
I accepted with pleasure and worked there for more than a year. After that, my brother Fernando Escandon called me from Los Angeles and let me know that they were having auditions in Los Angeles, CA for a job as television newscaster, announcer and reporter. And it was a TV station I had watched sporadically when I lived in LA: KMEX-TV channel 34.
When I arrived at KMEX, then operating from an old television studio building located at 721 N. Bronson Blvd in Hollywood California, they gave a list of stories in English that I had to translate and write a script for a 5 minute newscast. When I returned with my news script someone told me later that they were surprised I wrote it so quickly. When they recorded my presentation I was called to the office of Station manager Danny Villanueva where among other things if I was ready to work the following Monday! I told him that I had two jobs in Colorado where I had to give at least a week’s notice. After a week, I returned and started working as an anchor for the 5p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts I ended up working there for the next 28 years.
KAPI Radio does not exist anymore, but the memories of my afternoon there and my experience as a commercial salesman have lasted forever.
The connection you have with a radio audience is unlike any other, and the popularity you acquire as a television newscaster is unbelievable.
Eduardo Quezada Escandón
April 21, 2021