HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Longtime Holland radio personality Lupita Reyes will retire later this month after being on the air for more than 50 years.
Reyes has hosted Alegria Latina, a Spanish-language radio show, since 1964. The show airs Sunday nights on 92.7 The Van.
Born in south Texas, she moved to Holland as a child in the 1940s, not knowing how to speak English.
“The trauma of being bullied, being humiliated by teachers, by students, stayed with me,” Reyes said. “It’s a scar that’s not going to disappear simply because I’m getting older. It’s there and it has driven me.”
Reyes, along with other members of Holland’s Hispanic community, wanted to hear Spanish on local radio, so she got in touch with then WHTC-AM/FM station manager Bill Gargano.
“(He said) ‘Yes, we can put on a radio program in Spanish,'” Reyes said. “He says, ‘one catch. … You have to do the program.’ I said, ‘wait a minute, I don’t know anything about radio.'”
Reyes eventually got comfortable introducing songs, delivering news and interacting with listeners.
“We’ve really touched the lives of many people,” Reyes said. “That is what the program is all about, touching lives, and getting information out that’s important to the community.”
In addition to her duties at the station, Reyes has served the community in other ways.
She’s a member of several groups promoting Hispanic culture.
A clinical supervisor, she also owns her own counseling business.
Her contributions to the community were recognized by the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners.
Her final show will be on Sunday, Dec. 12.
“I’m leaving the show but I’m not leaving the community,” Reyes said. “I’m not going to stop advocating for people simply because I’m leaving the show.”
In the future Reyes plans on writing an autobiography.