Radio Presets Move Inner Chingona Forward


For well over a year, life happened to me so I had not really listened to a radio station aside from talk radio or Catholic radio…all the more amazing because, working in radio, we radio peeps tend to listen more than regular folks. Ask anyone in radio, every single radio space on the dial is usually completely preset and you better know that all we do is punch the preset buttons constantly. I always have to tell folks in the car what I’m doing, that it’s “work” or “research” or “monitoring” so that I don’t completely drive passengers insane with the constant changes of station.

Ask any radio person what they are listening for…every person listens for a different reason LOL. The Marketing and Sales side of me listens for the promotions – what are they giving away, how can people win, what concerts are they exclusive for, what are their upcoming big events, are my clients’ commercials running right? Are they running at the right time? Is there a competing client/business running right before or after? It’s madness for sure and attention to this madness will indicate whether all is well or whether I will be laying over a serious “lumbre” (fire) shortly!

So on this morning’s drive, I finally got tired of hearing talk radio or no radio at all and started listening to regular music radio in both English and Spanish. Out of pure instinct, I started punching the ‘preset’ buttons and, within minutes, all of my preferred stations are preset. As I continued driving, strangely, I started to relax and breathe easier if you can believe THAT! I felt as if a fog had been lifting over my body, I started to feel connected to the world and, dare I say it? Motivated. Motivated to do what? I do not know yet.

The way I see it, I’ve got a bunch of ‘presets’ to push, to find which station I stay with the longest without punching the next button, to figure out what it is that I want to do next. Will I be speaking or writing in English? Spanish? Spanglish? I’ll keep pressing until I find what it is that inspires and motivates me, this is the ONLY non-negotiable for my future: to support projects and people who inspire, empower, and motivate me.

It’s never too late to start over, to do precisely that thing that scares you, to do the right thing, to take care of yourself, to listen to YOUR Inner Chingona, to make your own set of preset buttons for your life! Work it today!


Day 10 of 15 Days Of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Aventuras/Adventures #HHM15Foto

ct blizzard

I know that the minute I post this entry, that I will have remembered many more adventures of my life!

This adventure happened when I was living in Denver,Colorado. I had never been around the snow in my life (and I loooooved it). This particular night, we noticed the snowstorm hit from a downtown remote and, after taking my crew home, I went back to the station in the Radio Romantica van. By then it’s really snowing and I’m wondering how bad it will be to get home. Like a sonsatontapendeja, I try and drive my car out of the parking lot and it was impossible so I turned back … yeah it was a BLIZZARD!

By the time I remembered that there was a Hilton across the parking lot, I had to WALK across that lot in snow that was almost to my waist. I ended up staying in that hotel for three days and there was no room service for one whole day because no one could get to work so I had my trusty box of Captain Crunch to hold me over.

Walking across that parking lot that night and hearing that weird wind felt like I was at Little House on the Prairie LOL. This is a pic of my car TWO days after the blizzard, as you can see I was going nowhere!  I had never seen anything like this and I was really amazed with Mother Nature and laughing at the stupidity of trying to drive in this mess!

I remember that Quique, the News Director, and I  had to go up on the roof and take the snow off of the satellites as the blizzard had knocked us off air and we needed to get back up on the air.  I wish we would have taken a picture of THAT!  It was hilarious trying to sweep off the snow as it was still snowing! ‪#‎HHM15Foto‬

Inner Chingona: Thanks for 2013! On to 2014!


While the first half of 2013 had me going thru the fire daily getting my personal and legal issues resolved.   The second half of the year, thankfully, was much more stable and peaceful.   

For the first time in many years, I have had to embrace major change, a fuerzas, in all areas of my life.   I feel like I live my life on a schedule for everything these days LOL, with things mapped out for the first time in a long time.   I completely depended upon schedules to keep me on track emotionally especially so that I could get thru some very dark days.  Living on a schedule has really helped me to be able to take care of the things that I need to like my job, my finances, and taking care of my folks, while at the same time, think about how I want to start over and live my life again.

After so many months of insomnia, stress, and drama;  I am so grateful for the very simple things in life:  getting a good night’s sleep, waking up knowing that I’m ok and that my loved ones are safe, grateful for my job where I’m learning and growing professionally every day.   While I can never forget, I remain convinced that the only way that I will move forward is to practice forgiveness and gratitude.   It may sound so cliché but when you go thru something traumatic, it is so comforting and energizing to hold on to the very simple and basic things to help you as you recreate your life.

Simply put…I am thankful for all that has happened to me.  I will accept and appreciate the fact that my life was blown up and shattered into millions of pieces and I will embrace the fact that I have been able to persevere and, dare I say it, THRIVE thru all of the madness.  I have learned that the only way to get thru anything and to put the pieces of my life back together is to walk thru it, eyes wide open.   I’m excited to live my life being honest with myself/others and to have my own back, that is, I will never, ever, ever hand myself, my self-worth or esteem over to any job, any project, or anyone else ever again así nomas.

Also beyond thankful that my parents and bonus parents are here with me after overcoming major health issues this year…love it that you are doing better every day Mama as well as our Ita!


Said goodbye to:  Four great women:  cousin Jennifer Rafanan Teal, bonus aunt Josefina “JoJo” Perez, event mentor Terry Alderete, fam friend Elvia Cortez

Said hello to:  our new bebito King Alexander

Celebrated:  Mama doing great!  Ita doing great!  Papito David’s 1st Communion,  Little Bea’s wedding, Summer fun with our Torres littles, Mikey III and Amy’s wedding, our Yazi’s first day of school, catching up with my Radio Fam this year at the KWIN/KWG/KCVR Reunions, putting on my first-ever solo event,  helping my CCgirl get college-bound, connecting with fam friends, my first year in Radio Sales

Looking forward to: 

  1. Staying  connected to my familia and to continue to be there for my ‘old school’
  2. Making my overall health a priority and to take this lonja down! LOL
  3. Learning more about my industry and learning how to grow my business.
  4. Studying and passing the State Bilingual Interpreter Exam…I was so close this time around!
  5. Remaining positive as I recreate a new life for myself
  6. Repeating my all-time fav quote as often as need be:  “Si me caigo por pendeja…me levanto por chingona!”

Looking forward to continued peace in my life and wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Great 2014!    Carmen:)

Inner Chingona and Owning It When You Are Right…or Wrong


Crazy morning…got a call from a client saying that his ad schedule was wrong and that I was to credit him for commercials that ran without authorization.   I look at the order and, see that, in fact, he was correct.  I thought “chiiin…”, how am I gonna explain this one?” But then again, I started thinking, “how come I’ve never ran across this situation before?”   Meanwhile, I’m watching as a chingo of emails are coming in telling me what I need to credit, etc.  More stress.

I then broke out the entire file and the contract and, went thru it page by page, and what did I find?  That I had actually done everything RIGHT.  Thanking God that I didn’t respond to his email right away, I went and made copies and scanned them back to Mr. Cliente and yes!  His signatures of approval were on the pages!

His response to me, “you INDEED are right, my BAD!”  LOL.

Owning it, the good and bad, are lessons that I’m learning as I channel Inner Chingona and as I start to listen to that voice, that intuition … it’s all about taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and researching these types of things instead of reacting like you’re the one guilty of whatever you are being accused of!  Conversely, when I’ve been wrong, instead of the drama, I simply say “I’m sorry”.  Sure, I’m embarrassed but I’m finding out that owning up to things is actually very liberating and effective when in the workplace.   Not too long ago, I would have reacted screaming and shouting all full of drama…NOW I’m learning to be more proactive versus reactive.

OMG! aaand as I write this, another client whom I go rounds with has just accepted another proposal I sent out!   I now see the value of being prepared and putting my ideas together calmly versus all desesperada and rushed…love it!  Go Inner Chingona … keep working it!

Celebrating Celia Cruz’ 88th Year!


Soooooooo cool to see CELIA CRUZ celebrated on the ‘google doodle’ in honor of what would have been her 88th birthday! No doubt, the most original salsera EVER.  Who else could pull off Celia’s style?  Wigs of every color, great clothes, spectacular stage presence, and that distinctive, strong voice!   Celia Cruz was completely authentic, diva in the best sense of the word, classic.  Loved it that she held her own among performers, young and old, white and black, men and women.


I had the chance to see her perform many times and a couple of memories come to my mind:

1.  In the 90’s at a Radio convention in Los Angeles:  arriving by car to the hotel, as we are getting out of the car, we see Celia coming out of the hotel with husband Pedro…so there we go, todos starstruck, and she was the most gracious with us and I’ll always remember her saying, “bueno mija me voy porque me ‘ta e’perando en el cho en Paul Rodrigue”!  (I have to go because they are waiting for me at Paul Rodriguez’ show)  She was too cute!

2.  A few years ago backstage at the Cow Palace San Francisco:   I’m with sis LG and another friend and we are standing a little behind the stairs that we know Celia will climb to get onto stage.  A few minutes later, here comes Celia in this fabulous green outfit (you know I would notice this), everyone is trying to get her attention…in her rush to the stage,  Celia is shaking hands, etc,, and to Christy, she says, ‘ay gracias mija por venir’; and to my friend Celia says, ‘ gracias, señora por venir’.  I remember my friend was like, “why is she calling me señora, I’m not old!”  LOL

3.  Backstage at The Gift Center, San Francisco:  Again, I’m with sis LG and this time we are standing on one of the Gift Center levels backstage. We watch as Celia gets onto the stage with Pedro.  Celia didn’t travel with a band, so she would perform with a local salsa band.  So Celia is front and center;  Pedro is in the background directing the band.

We come from a musical familia, so when Celia sounded kind of off-key, both Christy and I look at each other, then look to the stage.  The band was NOT workin’ it and, from our vantage point, we could see Pedro furiously trying to get this band back in time and Celia looking back at Pedro totally frustrated and, dare I say it, completely pissed off.  All I had to do was look at LG, a musician, a percussionist no less, and the shaking of her head as she watched this was priceless.  But when the band messed up on “Bamboleo”, Christy’s like, “HOW could a band NOT be prepared to play THIS song?”  I kind of felt bad for the band for a minute, and then I thought, LG’s right:  the band needs to be on it’s ‘A’ game to play with the Queen of Salsa.

Below are a few of the notable tributes that I saw online today…Feliz Cumpleaños Celia!


FROM FANIA RECORDS FB PAGE:  Majestuosa e inigualable la Reina de la Salsa #CeliaCruz! Hoy Celebramos 88 Años de aquel dia en el que la Guarachera nacio y con ella un nuevo significado a la palabara “AZUCAR”


FROM CHRISTINA TORRES AKA LG’S FB PAGE:  Happy birthday to the late great Celia Cruz – Reina de la Salsa!!! She was a huge influence for me – so glad I had an opportunity to meet her. Gone but not forgotten.#celiacruz #reinadelasalsa #happybirthday


“Quimbara” Celia Cruz & Patti Labelle   AWESOME rendition!

“Guantamera” Sound Check Celia & Fania All Stars in Africa — POWERFUL even in rehearsal

Celia Cruz & Oscar de Leon – one word: Badass!  They complement each other perfectly!

La Vida Es Un Carnaval … Instant Classic!

Inner Chingona + Milestone + No Te Rajes = Temblando as I plan my first SOLO event

2013 silhoutte jump new year

When I saw this picture, it hit me that I am determined.  Determined to put one foot in front of the other.  Determined to make things happen in 2013.  Determined to fulfill one of my life goals as long as I can remember:  putting on my own event.

It feels like I’ve been planning events my entire life.   While there is always a crew behind you, the real event planners will often say that, at the end of the day, when others are kicking back, partying,  or sleeping, that they are working it, crunching numbers, putting plans together, making and updating ‘to-do’ lists, putting ideas down for making the event better, writing that last email, making that last phone call…I totally relate to this and do some of my best creative work when I’m alone in my office, in front of my laptop, or in my Jeep as I drive — blasting music helps me envision how an event will be.

The difference between my entire life and right now is that I always had someone else’s resources and money to guide me along the planning process…I was forever submitting budgets, hoping to get that ok, and then cussing under my breath when I had to reduce the budget for some reason or another.   I learned how to make things happen one way or another and my goal has always been to have everything run smoothly…I’ve got a bunch of letters and emails giving me my props for ‘an event well-done’, for making it all appear easy…

Fast forward to today:  my first solo event ever will take place in a matter of days…so here I sit on a Sunday afternoon:  working it, updating my ‘to-do’ list, trying to find ways to make the event work better, sending out email, making phone calls and, of course, blasting musica LOL   In fact, I know that it’s getting close because I’m being constantly interrupted today to tend to the details!   It’s kind of scary albeit exciting to know that this is ME putting this event together – on my own -on my dime –  no huge budget – no real safety net.


I have to say, that, for the most part, things are progressing as they should … from dealing with the venue to getting commercials produced and placed — just trying to find the motivation needed for the final stretch to get the word out, to get the word out, to get the word out.   I’m also laughing at myself when the ‘diva’ in me comes out when I have to do things like get flyers out there — you see, I had people to do this for me in my former life LOL    So I’m most def out of practice!

Making this milestone happen will do wonders for me as I will be able to say that I rose to the challenge, started, and FINISHED one of my life goals.   I’m already learning so much  more about putting events together which is always a huge plus and it will be fun to see how people react on the day of the event!   I’ll get the boost of self-esteem that I need to eventually move into my next goal of producing events full-time.   Just need to keep on keepin’ on and work the details every day with Inner Chingona aaaaaand PRAY that people show up and that I have perfect festival weather:  which, in case you didn’t know, is 88 degrees and sunny!

‘A rajarse a su rancho!”  as my BFF says…there’s no turning back now.


Inner Chingona Al Rescate Helping Me Tragar El Coraje: Biting your tongue even when the client is NOT right.


I will not go into great detail here but a client, who shall remain nameless, who did not like the fact that “I asked for the order” — told me straight up that I may be that bold in Latin radio but not in General Market radio. Whaaaat?

Suffice it to say, I was in shock.

First, that I’m getting called out on doing my job, that this person likely deals with hundreds of people who ask for an order. Am I to assume that Latinos have no business asking for anything? that we are to take what is left and to take it with a smile? Second, to add to my shock, I almost laughed in this person’s face for a number of reasons: What state do we live in? How many Latinos live in the great state of California? Uuuuummmm, the likelihood of another Latino asking this person for an order is almost a given. Was it because I wasn’t a man? What? So much racism and sexism exists to this day in my business that I would be sick every day of the week if I let it get to me. It just amazes me that people THINK that they can get away with this type of attitude and behavior in business and expect to be applauded for it — well not by this woman, not today.

I decided to completely take the high road and thank this person for letting me know how they prefer to do business. No ‘vete mucho a la ch#$%^&*’ or ‘middle finger up attitude’ when I responded. And, NO, I did NOT apologize for asking for the order either.

What did I get in return?

A nice note telling me not to take offense and this person laid out in detail how they prefer to do business. All that needs to be said. While, again, I did not apologize for doing my job, a simple, ‘no te apures/no worries’ response was all I needed to do. One should always try to respond, as intelligently as possible, to crazy stuff like this. But I love knowing that, sometimes, Inner Chingona helps me handle it in a smooth, diplomatic way and saves me from throwing chingazos when there was no need to do so … not this time anyway LOL.

ASK for what you need. If you have to ask for forgiveness, not permission, do it sin miedo/don’t be afraid.

Very First Day Baaaaack In the Day…

I always remember November 4th as a very momentous day … it was the very first time that I ever spoke on-air while in my Broadcasting class at KNBS 90.3 when I was in high school. My mom, of all people, encouraged me to sign up for this Broadcasting class back in the day because, according to her, I was always saying that I wanted to be on the air. I swear that I do not even remember saying this when I was a child…but know one thing: the MINUTE I walked into the studio, I so KNEW that I was where I was meant to be!

I was shaking and very nervous thinking what lots of people think:  that there are so many people listening LOL — my school station was only about 200 watts I think so maybe it was about 5 or 10 people listening, if THAT.   The very first thing was read a PSA (public service announcement in both English and Spanish) and then I was asked to introduce a couple of songs during an hour during that day…my face still gets red when I think about it! LOL    Eventually, like many of us who start off in campus radio, I had my own show on Tuesday nights.  My target audience was my brothers and sisters and I played whatever they liked … I remember that the guys at the station would tell me that I had a nice voice but that they didn’t recognize any of my music LOL.   Eventually, I got it that I had to follow a Top 40 format, or at least try to…

While I may be a little more jaded now because my entire career has been spent in radio … and while I moved from on-air to the Marketing side … I know that all of my brothers/sisters in radio will agree with me on this one:  there is absolutely no energy like the one that emanates from a radio station…especially one that is rising in popularity…it’s awesome!

Some of my radio stories:

CARMEN SO GOT IN TROUBLE FOR PLAYING THIS SONG THREE TIMES IN A ROW…Just because I liked it LOL  “Got to Be Real” Cheryl Lynn…like this vid of Patti Labelle and Mariah Carey singing this song because I used to sing it all loud like that…

FIRST SONG I PLAYED ON-AIR ON AS A PAID WEEKEND PERSONALITY … at a Tejano station and had no clue who David Lee Garza was … mucho menos his singer Emilio Navaira … needless to say, I became a fan that MINUTE…”Me Quieres Tu o Te Quiero Yo”  David Lee Garza

ONCE ON MIDDAYS, I EITHER STARTED OR ENDED MY SHOW WITH THIS SONG…what else but “Se Me Perdio La Cadenita” Sonora Dinamita

BEING THAT I CAME FROM A TEJANO STATION, MY NEW LISTENERS ALWAYS KNEW THAT THEY WOULD HEAR music by Selena…I was probably one of the only ones on air who didn’t pronounce her name ‘Se-le-na’,  she was always “Se-lee-na” to me…


Sooooo many more stories and my share of ‘radio nightmares’ – where you dream that the mic won’t work and you have to talk that second or you’re unable to ‘pot’ turn up the music on time, etc.      My career has taken me to many places, I’ve gotten to meet so many people and do so many events…it’s always been fun and I’ve always been lucky — I always knew what I wanted to do … love it!


Happy 2012 y Mil Gracias!

Just wanted to take a minute to thank you for checking out ‘CARMEN’S BLOG’ and ‘LA CADENITA’ during 2011! I always sit back and think as I write, “who would read this? why would they read it? how will they like it?” This hesitation lasts for a split second because, not only do I write for you, I totally write for myself because I “have” to! Some days or nights, I may be tired or grouchy or really busy, and then the inspiration hits, the words pour out of me and there I go – typing about as fast as I think and talk — ya’ll know how FAST that is!

Things that inspire me? Familia, cultura, radio, Famfriends, musica, books, and finding the fun in life. Not only has this blog allowed me to immerse myself (and you) in the things that interest me … it has also helped me tremendously to set and try to fulfill my personal and professional goals – I’m always floored when I look back thru past blog entries to find that, yes, I have completed another goal.

I actually got a report about my blog page and LOOOVE it that quite a few of you find my page fun … so now I start 2012 with a new set of goals, a bunch of new events to talk about in the familia, famfriends to celebrate, always new things to talk about in radio and cultura, and bringing you more chisme chapters of ‘La Cadenita’!

But FIRST, I must get myself in gear as I take the State Interpreter Oral Exam on January 12th at 4pm. I didn’t pass it the first time so it is ON to do my very best so that, by March 31st, when I receive my results letter, it will say “Congratulations!” Hope your 2012 brings you more good days than bad and thanks very much for taking time out of your life to let me in – even for a minute! Feliz 2012!

Magic Blue Tape … Cinta Azul Magica!

In the Radio Marketing Promotions world – we carry around different kinds of tape: duct tape, tape ‘claro’ clear tape, and blue tape. Blue tape is used to place banners on walls so that, when we go to remove a banner from the wall, especially in a nice venue, the paint doesn’t come off with the tape.

Like any Radio Marketing professional, we usually find rolls of tape all over the place: in random boxes, the van, the car, the house, etc.

When I stopped to put in gas on my way to a wedding yesterday, I look down and see that my blouse is todo abierto showing more of my chest than I wanted to…I started looking thru the car and purse for pins or clips or something! Then I see my little work box that includes my tape — and I think, ‘that might work’… First, I lift the duct tape –and then I think to myself, ‘when I take that tape off, half of my breast might go with it!’ LOL, the clear tape usually takes the hair off of my arm when I hang banners so tampoco…and then I see the blue tape and think, ‘maaaaaybe…’ So there I am, in the gasolinera, taping the blouse to strategic areas of my body and it worked! Later on, when I got in from the wedding … I even forgot that I had the tape on until I tried to take the blouse off … and LAUGHED and gave props to la cinta azul magica … the magic blue tape! My taped-up blusa is below…can you tell where the tape is? LOL