From the desk of Michael Antanaitis…
Turn your FM radio dial to 105.5, which are the call letters for Radio MixCris, a lively, contemporary radio station in Juxtlahuaca, Mexico, and you might hear the contemporary or rock or rap or acoustic sounds of the various forms of Spanish-language, Christian music dancing through the airwaves. You flip through other area stations and you might tap your foot to the classic sounds of fast-paced Mexican “country music” with its brass and guitars, but 105.5 on your FM dial blesses the ears and cheers the hearts of its listeners unlike any other radio station in Oaxaca state, or perhaps Mexico.
After listening to the big sounds of Radio MixCris with its fun mix of great music, public service announcements, listener call-in shows, music request segments, and many other kinds of programs, you begin to wonder what big corporation is behind this station. Then when you start listening regularly and tune in to programs for your children, and to enjoy interview shows and educationally formatted broadcasting slots and discussion shows covering a wide array of topics on things like health, family dynamics, teen issues, women’s concerns, history, culture, the Bible—all presented with a thoughtful, helpful, cheerful and animated Biblical worldview—you know that you are listening to a kind of radio station in Mexico that you have never heard before.
So who is actually behind this station and its programming and its music? It must be a big multi-media company employing polished broadcast school grads, seasoned professionals and techno-savvy electronic and computer whizzes. It’s just got to be these kinds of folks!
But it is not.
If you scan the “skyline” of Juxtlahuaca and its smaller neighbor, Tecomaxtlahuaca for obvious media office buildings you won’t find any clues. The colorfully decorated Catholic churches in these two towns are definitely the tallest structures by far. On the other hand, if you start looking for unusually high antennas, you would be led to a very quiet, unpaved side street, in a very modest residential neighborhood of Tecomaxtlahuaca to a two story home with a tall antenna on its roof and with a bunch of barking dogs behind its walls. Congratulations, you have just found the home of Radio MixCris.
Someone comes to the door to answer your ring and you politely ask to visit “the studios.” After having been inspected by the dogs (and cats…rabbits…chickens…and multiple children) you are led to a small, brick building in the backyard next to the animal pens. This building looks more like a man’s workshop—well, that’s because that is what it was… and still is. You walk in, past the man’s tools and stained glass crafting workbench, and in one corner there it is! You have just found the radio station—the one with all the big sounds and the big ideas. You see a computer, a little mini sound board, a couple of microphones and some headsets. The small-sized transmitter is elsewhere in the house itself. That’s it.
The proprietors, broadcasters, programmers and technicians are Martin and Karen Arroyo and their older children and a sweet-voiced fellow worker, Mary, from their church. There is not a radio professional, broadcast graduate or techno-whiz in their midst. There is no corporation. There is no big money. But what there is, is the miraculous work of God who made this possible, the generosity of God’s people who give faithfully, the faith and hard work of the Arroyos and their congregation (which they pastor daily), and a delighted determination to bless their community and the scores and scores of other mountain communities who pick up this 105.5 FM signal. The story is too long to tell about how all of this happened—perhaps for another day—but what is most important is that these folks who never, ever planned for or thought of operating a radio station, now have the one placed in their hands by a friendly and cheerful God who wants our Mexican friends to enjoy his friendship with them in a way that also serves the community and its people in many other loving and educational ways.
The Arroyos’ programming puts Christian music and honorable and redemptive thoughts in the ears of their neighbors 16-18 hours a day (thanks to computer automation)—but I think the Arroyos would say that the sweetest music for them is when someone on the street says, “I recognize your voice and I love your music and your teaching—we listen to your station all the time.” That would be 105.5 Radio MixCris on your FM dial.