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Phoenix trailblazer becomes the first Latina to own a radio station in Arizona’s history

Posted at 1:31 PM, Dec 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-18 15:31:57-05

PHOENIX — Laura Madrid still remembers her humble beginnings in the border town of Yuma, Arizona.

She was born in San Luis Rio Colorado in Sonora, Mexico, but was raised in Yuma. She says she knows firsthand what life is like living next to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“There’s a time when you feel like you’re not from there, you’re not from here, you're kind of in-between,” said Madrid.

Madrid’s first job was at a swap meet in Yuma, that’s where her passion for sales and marketing took place. But her life would later take another turn.

She went from working at a swap meet to becoming a news radio manager and now she’s the first Latina immigrant to own a radio station in Arizona's history.

She says her journey is an example that dreams do come true and that no matter what kind of challenges you face in life, you have the power to determine your outcome.

“I never thought that I wasn’t going to be successful,” said Madrid.

But she never imagined it would be in the news industry or as a trailblazer in news radio.

“I feel proud to not only to represent las Latinas, las Mujeres, and immigrants,” stated Madrid.

But she had to face many struggles to get there, many banks didn’t see her vision. Buying a radio station was a high-risk investment according to them.

"It was challenging because this is not a traditional purchase, and I had to think outside of the norm and do it my way,” expressed Madrid.

Known for never giving up, she says overcoming challenges is something she’s faced her whole life.

“I went to a Spanish news station, interviewed five times, and the five times they wouldn’t give me a job,” said Madrid.

It's been 16 years since she became the manager for the Phoenix Spanish news radio station La Onda 1190 am.

“I learned about the concept of Spanish news talk and what that means to our community, to Arizona,” Madrid said.

She says she also learned the importance of giving back to the community.

“As media outlets, we need to do a better job in providing local information, local content about our community’s needs and resources and work with organizations that provide those,” stated Madrid.

As the manager of the radio station she now owns, she has opened doors to many journalists of color and plans to continue with that mission.

“This is a great responsibility; this is a responsibility that I take very seriously, and I take with a lot of pride,” Madrid expressed.