In a state and country battered by record-high levels of violence, radio station XHPOZ’s debut with messages of hope and redemption could hardly have come at a better time.
In July, La Estación (Spanish for “The Station”) began broadcasting in Poza Rica, Mexico, a town in Veracruz state along the country’s east coast. La Estación is the second offspring of TWR’s newest national partner in Latin America, Radio Encuentro Internacional Mexico, which works with local Christian groups to get organized, to navigate the government permitting process and then to establish radio stations.
Poza Rica and Veracruz urgently need the Bible-based programming aired by 96.3 FM XHPOZ, said Erica Cruz, a member of the station’s board. In recent years, drug cartels have battled to gain the upper hand, with abductions, murder and prostitution becoming almost commonplace. Roughly a month after the station started broadcasting, an armed gang sealed the exits of a bar in another Veracruz town and started a fire that killed 31 people. A few weeks earlier, a prominent journalist was gunned down elsewhere in the state.
“We are committed to guiding and giving hope,” Cruz said. “Only by trusting in God and praying for our city, state and country can we be a strong and powerful nation, capable of achieving everything in him. He is the only one who makes us strong and courageous and who can enable us to maintain the family unity we need so much. We dream that the station will be powerful in Christ, that new multitudes will come to him.”
Dreams of a Distant Future
The group’s dreams for the station have taken 16 years’ worth of praying, planning and perseverance to be realized. That’s how long ago a group of concerned citizens in Poza Rica began working toward their vision of creating a radio station that would broadcast a positive message and sound advice to the area. The proposed station would broadcast high-quality content, providing families and young people with music, uplifting programs and Bible teaching in a fun and wholesome environment.
The city was the product of an early 20th century oil boom, but when the oil dried up, the resulting economic crises forced many men to seek employment elsewhere and led to family breakdowns and other social problems. The Poza Rica group turned for help to Radio Encuentro, whose director, Alejandro Vieyra, assisted in applying to the government for a broadcast license.
While the Poza Rica group waited and prayed, Radio Encuentro became TWR’s 17th national partner in Latin America and the Caribbean. In December 2018, Steve Shantz, TWR’s vice president for the region, joined Vieyra in Mexico City for a ceremonial signing of the partnership agreement.
Then, not long after the signing, word came from the government that broadcasting permission and an FM frequency had been awarded to the Poza Rica group. But there was a slight catch: The station had to be up and running within six months. Suddenly, the situation changed from waiting and praying to praying and hustling.
Dreams Become Reality
Fortunately, a location for the transmitter had already been selected. A local university that previously operated a campus radio station made its studios, transmitter room and rooftop antenna platform available. A generous donor enabled the work to begin, and a Mexican engineering firm was contracted to install the antenna and transmitter. Before the deadline arrived, La Estación was on the air!
Now that the long wait for the dreams to come true is over, the fledgling station is airing programs produced by TWR Spanish ministry partners as it builds an audience. The board is also striving to build financial support to keep the operation going strong.
“As a board of directors, we are expectant of the miracles that God does in the Veracruz community and in ourselves,” Cruz said. “We are led every day by his Holy Spirit. We continue when he tells us, and we stop to analyze when he commands.”
PHOTOS: La Estación operates under agreement with a university whose campus radio station is no longer in service. The facilities include studios (at top) and offices where the staff members (above left) work. There is even space on the roof (bottom right photo) for the station’s antenna.