Yolanda Estrada

Music Genre(s): Latin

About Yolanda Estrada

"I want to be the first to play a new record. If a record is played on a commercial station, I stop playing it. I want to play something new, something different." In other words, Yolanda Estrada, who hosts WWOZ's Latin Show "Tiene Sabor" ("It has Soul") won't play a record that's been overexposed.

WWOZ's Show Host of the month for September became a volunteer programmer in the spring of 1989. "I didn't want to do it!" she laughs, "They drafted me!" But she quickly grew to enjoy the show and moved with it from the original Thursday afternoon time slot to the now familiar Saturdays.

Originally from Honduras, Yolanda moved with her family to New Orleans in 1962, graduating from Alcee Fortier Senior High School. She went on to study Business at LSU and now, with her husband Juan Suarez, owns Musica Latina, a local CD shop.

"Latin music comes in all genres," she says, citing Cuban folk music as her personal favorite. "I've been able to bring all styles of Latin music to New Orleans via WWOZ. And through the Internet, 'OZ has been a great contributor to the globalization of Cuban music and Latin music as a whole."

As we chatted during "Tiene Sabor," we had a constant stream of calls from listeners inquiring about a tune just played. "They're like a great big family," Yolanda said, laughing. "Everybody out there believes they're your friends. They call you like they've known you forever and it's a great feeling to have somebody do that."

When Yolanda isn't sharing time with the 'OZ family, she's with her own, usually in the close vicinity of two granddaughters. "I spend all my free time with them," she says. "Last Saturday was the baseball tournament, so I had to miss my show. I've spent all summer on baseball fields." She then says, with a look only a grandmother could have, "You just don't know how rough those little girls can get!"

Her wish for the future of 'OZ? "Bigger studio," she said sheepishly, referring to the roomful of people who volunteer on her show during WWOZ's semi-annual fund drives. "It gets kind of crowded with all the telephone operators, musicians and producers," though she admits that the "jolly atmosphere" is heightened by the closeness of all involved.

Now nearing a dozen years at the station, Yolanda looks forward to the future of bringing Latin sounds to Louisiana. Asked what message she'd like to send listeners, she said simply, "Stay tuned to WWOZ 90.7 FM." When I asked why, she answered, "Tiene Sabor!" It has soul.Yolanda, we couldn't have said it better ourselves.

By Bill Berry [September, 2000]