By Elia Esparza
Raquel Cordova aka RaqC is one of the most energetic Latina millennial, embracing her career and life with gusto!
In October 2005, Rac-C hit the airwaves of Los Angles at full speed and continues to rock her fans as a top personality on EXITOS 93.9 FM—where she earned her reigning title of “Queen of Spanglish Media”.
RaqC is the perfect example of a young girl with big dreams who didn’t let a little thing like working in a man-dominated industry get in her way. I’m pretty sure there are still some machos scratching their heads wondering what the heck just bulldozed through them.
I had the pleasure of meeting RaqC at last summer’s New Generation Latino Consortium, (NGLC/LA) when she spoke on the music panel. She was knowledgeable and confident sharing her insights on the current state of Latinos in the U.S, and she knows her market well. Aside from radio, she co-starred on the mun2 reality show, Jenni Rivera Presents Chiquis & RaqC , where she intermingled with international singer Jenni Rivera and her daughter Chiquis, both close friends.
RaqC spoke to us about her life, career and on leading the way in the “Spanglish” market. She also spoke about Jenni Rivera’s tragic accident. She is intuitive enough to tap into her strengths, build on them and not pay attention to any weakness she may or may not have possessed at the start of her career at a young age.
Latin Heat: You got hired on your first radio gig at 18 in Palm Springs … how did this first job come about? Did you have any broadcasting training?
RaqC: Yes, I was a young girl when I picked up my stuff, left my family and comfort zone to pursue a radio career. It was actually my first real radio job after the internship I completed at Power 106 in LA. My first mentor in the business recommended me to the program director of the station in Palm Springs and the rest is history. I had very little radio and TV broadcasting experience under my belt when I accepted the offer. In reality, I had no clue what I was doing, but under the direction of my boss at the time, I was getting the tough love necessary to become who I am today. My boss recognized my potential and helped me to develop my “on air personality” persona.
LH: How hard has it been to work in the primarily Spanish-language radio industry?
RaqC: Growing up our primary language at home was Spanish. My dad was strict about my mom speaking to us in English because he was determined to make sure his kids would be bilingual, which is the only reason I am bilingual. I am able to speak Spanish on the radio and that forces me to practice daily and improves my ability to connect with a broader audience. So it’s a win/win situation.
It can be challenging to work in a primarily Spanish language radio industry at times because I am often more comfortable speaking English. But I have come to see the value in being able to connect with a wide range of people. I am a Latina-American so naturally by default I speak English, unless of course it’s my Dad I’m speaking with! (She laughs).
LH: Was there anything in particular during your childhood that helped shape the woman you are today?
RaqC: I grew up in the Inland Empire [Riverside County, CA] and I loved it because I didn’t know any different. I had a fun childhood and was allowed to be a free-spirited girl. I was actually a tomboy. I used to love making ramps out of wood with my brother and the neighborhood boys and jump off the ramps on our BMX bikes. I wasn’t afraid to fall straight on my face. I must say I was tougher than most of the boys!
During my childhood years I was allowed to be myself. I was always very active and I guess that set the tone to how my adult life would be, busy and full of risk-taking moments. If you don’t take risks in life you will never know your full potential.
I live by the motto “Fail until you succeed!” — RaqC
LH: Your billed as “The Queen of Spanglish Media,” has it sunk in how incredibly important it is for you that you’ve tapped into a relatively untapped marketing target?
RaqC: Well first of all it’s a HUGE compliment for me to be given such a title. I would like to say that it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. Right now being able to live and experience the bi-cultural world is pretty amazing. I am known to walk my talk. No one can try to tell me that I don’t live this bi-cultural lifestyle everyday because I do. It’s natural for me to have a full-blown conversation with someone in Spanish and then be able to effortlessly transition to communicating in English.
It’s really amazing to be able to sit in meetings with business executives that don’t quite get the bilingual movement and educating them on the power of the Latino-American. I leave meetings with these execs saying to me, ‘Wow, now I get it! Thank you for helping me understand this untapped bilingual market.’
I am not only educating people on the power of the bilingual market but paving the way for corporations and advertisers to feel comfortable to invest in the new wave of bilingual talent that is emerging.”
LH: Was it hard for you to convince your radio bosses that Spanglish is the way to go?
RaqC: It was and it wasn’t. I think being a woman in this business you have to learn how to position certain things and how to get your points across. One thing that is not easy is making powerful businessmen get your vision and more importantly see it without being a threat to them or their ego. I’m a radio personality and when allowed to work in my element I excel and my element is definitely the Spanglish market.
LH: Tell us about your gig as a Latina.com celeb blogger?
RaqC: I’m so thankful for the blogging opportunity Latina Magazine has given me. All of my followers know I truly enjoy writing just as much as I do talking. Sometimes I can express myself better in writing. So when this opportunity came along about what it means to be a ‘Fabulous Modern Day Latina’ I was all over it and they [Latina Magazine] told me I can basically write about anything as long as it was in my voice and with my unique flavor and along the lines of empowering women to be as fabulous as they can be. New blogs are posted to Latina.com every Thursday.
RaqC: Being a woman… It has been very interesting. Some of the challenges I have faced have been putting up with men’s egos. An ego can make or break a person. One of the greatest obstacles I’ve encountered is jealously from men. I don’t understand how that is possible but it is because I’ve experienced it first hand. One time I had a male co-host who asked that I be removed from his show because he knew that if I stayed on the show he would not be allowed to shine the way he wanted to shine. Poor baby he couldn’t handle the heat from this spicy firecracker. I’ve learned to just be myself. Remain professional, cool and calm in all situations. In this business you learn as you go. I wouldn’t have it any either way.
LH: We have to ask about Jenni Rivera, Chiquis and your season 1 show Chiquis & Raq-C. Why didn’t you come back even though you contributed to the show’s great ratings? And was renaming the show in part because you were not returning?
RaqC: Well as many know my radio career has always been priority to me. I believe this is why Jenni [Rivera] and her manager had reached out to me because I was Raq-C ‘the radio personality’ someone who had a great following. Jenni saw a lot of herself in me… Jenni was all about giving people an opportunity and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity she gave me to be featured along side her amazing family. When I started filming the show I was doing the afternoon drive shift on the radio, then as we were about to wrap the show of first season, I was given the opportunity to do the morning shift which required much more of me. My world changed a bit and I became less available to film resulting in my not being able for part of season 2 of the show…. and, unfortunately was not able to continue working with Jenni and her family.
LH: How did you hear about Jenni Rivera’s tragic accident? It is widely known that you and Chiquis were close friends, are you still in contact?
RaqC: I actually was sweeping my garage that Sunday morning and I stopped to take a break and peeked at my twitter feed… people were asking me ‘what happened to Jenni’s plane?’ I was so into cleaning my garage that I didn’t pay any attention to what they were saying. But, something inside of me as I kept sweeping became curious to know what people were talking about so I started being a twitter spy and saw that CNN, Univision, Telemundo all started reporting that her plane had gone missing off the radar. I thought to myself ‘this has to be wrong’… but it wasn’t. I immediately text Chiquis to let her know what I was hearing on twitter and she was the one who confirmed the tragic news. I do still stay in touch with Chiquis, and I know she is creating some pretty amazing things for herself right now.
LH: Who is your all-time favorite band or singer that you just love playing on your show? Have you ever dated any of them? Come on… spill the beans, RaqC!
RaqC: The two artists I love playing super loud through the speakers when I’m on air: Pitbull and JLO! Their music just lifts me up. Me encanta la musica so it’s hard to pin point one artist. This is a tough question when you are passionate about music. But I do have a confession sometimes I don’t pay attention to the lyrics of a song until I’ve heard it like ten times. I guess that’s what happens when you are constantly around music.
A true lady never spills the beans (she laughs)! I do have a funny story though about Pablo Montero who asked me out when I had no clue who he was. I was working at a Mexican regional radio station when he stopped me to tell me I was cute and asked me to lunch. I was so caught off guard I said ‘No gracias’ and who knows what else came out of my mouth. I was completely clueless. But no I can’t say I have ever dated Pitbull!
LH: You are known to be a generous motivational speaker inspiring young Latinas to follow their dreams… You stress to young Latinas to get an education….
RaqC: It is very important for me to motivate the next generation because I believe when you learn and become successful you must share your story with others to inspire them to take the necessary risks in life to succeed. Many of our youth lack the guidance in their home or come from broken families like I did (at the age of 15 my parents divorced) so they may only have one parent who plays both roles. I feel that in life, ‘When you know better, you should do better’ and I love to teach, it comes natural to me.
It is crucial for the young ladies of our next generation understand how important ‘Self-Love’ is. I want them to know it all begins with them and when you love yourself the universe will love you back and provide everything you need. But you have to do your part. Anything worth having takes time and dedication and along the journey you must also enjoy the ride.
I created ‘Amigas 4 My Soul’, a 501c3 designed to empower women through workshops, fitness events, by providing online resources and hosting monthly nation-wide conference calls.
Thanks, RaqC! Catch RaqC daily on EXITOS 93.9 FM.
To catch episodes of mun2 Chiquis & RaqC, http://www.mun2.tv/shows/chiquis-and-raq-c