Radio Red Delivers Música Fresca to Puerto Rico and Beyond

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There’s no lack of hometown coverage for the Puerto Rican independent music scene. Puerto Rico Indie, for one, keeps a steady blog beat, and Frecuencias Alternas, a Universidad de Puerto Rico station, explores all kinds of local underground sounds every Saturday night. And those are just two options; there’s plenty more. The island has no need for another, right?

Wrong! There is always room for more — especially if it’s something like Radio Red.

Launched on August 1, Radio Red is a platform for delivering música fresca from all over the world with an emphasis on the “relationship between the artist-music-listener,” says Luis de la Rosa, one of several founding members.

Programming consists of one and two-hour blocks curated by local aficionados, and can be heard via TuneIn using the online player or app. Niche styles and forgotten legends are given a retrospective treatment every Thursday at 7 p.m. on Chasm-Filler, while Los Vigilantes guitarist Jorge Mundo schools listeners on soul, punk, and garage at the same time on Tuesdays during El Culto. Airing shortly after is Sweet Dreams, where selector Figgy Von Doom features hip-hop, rap, and trap jams. Naturally, there’s also loads of local music featured on several shows.

Not only does the initiative serve up radio-style listening, but also a blog where the group shares new or obscure jams of their choosing. The editorial content may ring slightly elitist, but that’s kinda the inherent nature of these things. Anyway, the people running Radio Red are totally qualified.

Right now, operations are financially backed by a coffee-roasting service and equipment company owned by Etienne Cardona, who’s also one of the founders. De la Rosa, best known as frontman for the much-beloved salsa outfit Orquesta el Macabeo, is his administrator. Carlos Santiago of Füete Billēte is also a founder, but has since left the project; the hip-hop group’s DJ and producer Jose “Bass” Rivas, however, remains on the crew. Others on board include artist Juan “JUFE” Fernández, photographer and DJ Paola “Payola” Isabel, Luis López of Los Wálters and Ferdy Valls (aka Furry Vowels). Copywriting and additional photography is handled by Brenda Ayala and Mariángel Gonzales, respectively.

That’s a sizable squad, right? It’s not atypical of start-ups to take the route of strength in numbers, but in an endeavor like this, it’s a boon to the whole shebang. Maintaining a big, sorta complex crew — plus all the program contributors — affords Radio Red a truly diversified approach. Listeners and readers are virtually guaranteed to discover an unprecedented variety of tunes.

“We want to maintain a vanguardist approach to being a platform for fresh content that’s under the radar, not necessarily indie or underground,” says Rivas. “Anything that goes on in PR and internationally that deserves attention as far as the arts and new media goes, we want to pride ourselves in being a substantial source.”