On October 7th the salsa music program "Alma Del Barrio" will celebrate 50 years on the air on KXLU-FM in Los Angeles! Kiki Soto tells how he helped put the show on the air, and why salsa is an important musical style.
On October 7th the salsa music program "Alma Del Barrio" will celebrate 50 years on the air on KXLU-FM in Los Angeles! Kiki Soto tells how he helped put the show on the air, how he and dozens of others kept it going, and why salsa is an important musical style.
In 1973 two young, smart, and savvy students at L.A.’s Loyola Marymount University who shared a passion for Latin music, came up with the idea of producing a radio show that played salsa, Latin jazz and Latin soul. It would be bilingual, and there would be an emphasis on public service and education. Phone lines would be open for listeners’ requests, the music would be hip, and the show would be fun to listen to.
The students, Enrique “Kiki” Soto and Raul Villa, took their idea to the manager at the college’s radio station KXLU, -- a gentleman named Don Rooney -- and began what would turn into an institute for Latin music lovers in L.A. They started out with a one-hour slot, and named the show Alma del Barrio, to highlight the show’s roots in the Latino communities of L.A. Through Kiki and Raul’s vision, creativity and hard work, the show flourished and added hours until it snowballed into 12 hours on Saturdays and another 12 hours on Sundays.
Kiki is still an advisor to Alma del Barrio and the students and volunteers who keep the salsa music flowing.
Enrique "Kiki" Soto is the co-founder of the radio program "Alma Del Barrio". Kiki earned a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Business Administration before age 24, while simultaneously growing the radio program from 1 hour to 24 hours of programming. He has worked in Los Angeles at ABC-TV Network, ABC Production Studios, CBS-TV Network, KFWB News Radio, and KKGO-FM (Jazz). Kiki has worked in 4 different industries, as Assistant VP of Admin, Finance & Real Estate Development and Assistant VP of Budget, Planning, & Strategy. Kiki has served on various Boards including the Board of Governors of L.A. County's Economic Development Corporation. Kiki was a member of his high school's first soccer team (eventually becoming team captain), when his mother foretold his future by telling him "You're an Instigator."