By Mike Kinney
Hundreds of people pass by it every day, but few may realize that a radio station operates on 23rd Street in Richmond.The Spanish-language Radio SOL 98.1 launched in September last year inside El Sol Furniture at 1169 23rd St., near the corner of Costa Avenue.
The Internet radio station, which has 12 on-air personalities and primarily plays top 40 Spanish-language hits, draws roughly 300,000 to 400,000 listeners weekly and about 64,000 hourly, said General Manager Manuel Martinez, who also owns El Sol Furniture.
“We play the heat,” Martinez says.
While the majority of listeners derive from the Bay Area, people tune in from around the world using the Internet and social media, Martinez said.
Popular on-air personalities include Poquito El Barrio, who comes on Sunday, 9 am-11 am, and Super Frank, who’s on Monday from 6pm-8 pm.
Martinez, a veteran radio broadcaster who goes by Matador, goes on air Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm-9 pm. He’s a veteran radio broadcaster who first started at La Grande 1010 in San Francisco and began his radio career as a promotions coordinator. He went on to do news and eventually to have his own radio show.
One of the station’s greener personalities is Mauricio ‘El Gato’ Melgar, whose show El Gato marks his first ever radio gig. He told the Standard that he takes great pride in his new profession and particularly loves when listeners call in their dedication.
“It gives me the opportunity to entertain our listening audience with the music they really want to hear,” Melgar said.
Correction: The story has been corrected to state that Radio SOL 98.1 is an Internet-only radio station.