The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs is crediting local radio stations for helping outreach efforts to the Hispanic and Latino communities, which it says have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, “not only with the number of cases but also with receiving the information they need.” The organization explains that it faced challenges when reaching out, but was “able to utilize radio stations to reach as many families as possible.”
“There are radio stations throughout the state that are bilingual to reach these communities. When this pandemic hit, one of the first things we did is put health experts on the radio to start answering questions and provide information to our Spanish families,” Margie Gonzalez, Executive Director of ICHA, told KSAW-TV Magic Valley, ID.
A significant problem throughout the pandemic has been a language barrier. “Even if Hispanic and Latino families received the information they needed, there was a high chance of them not comprehending what was said,” Idaho News 6 reported. Added Gonzalez, “The communication between educators and families is critical. If you send the family an email, how sure are we that, number one they are receiving the email, and two, that they can comprehend?”
There are no Spanish-language TV news stations in Idaho, so a majority of Hispanic and Latino families rely on Spanish radio stations to receive information. “It’s the same with the reopening of schools. We need to utilize these radio stations to get this information out to families,” Gonzalez said.
The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs has worked with radio stations throughout the state during the pandemic to reach families.