At the age of 16, Samantha Ante convinced her mother that they should move from their economically and relationally toxic environment in Mexico and move to Chicago. Captivated by the arts and culture found in the states, she was excited that her mother had finally agreed to go. Years down the road she found herself at the age of 25, acting as a one-woman show by producing and hosting for Hispanic radio station, A Toda Voz, in Chicago.
Have you always lived around Chicago?
I moved from Mexico to the United States when I was 16.
Was that a pretty hard transition, for you to go from Mexico to Chicago.
Yes, it was. I was really excited though I was the one who convinced my family to move to the U.S. We were going through some problems with my family and economic hardships. You know when you are in a toxic environment you can’t really feel motivated. So I thought maybe starting from zero could be the best idea for us, and my brother was born in the U.S. So I saw a better future for him if we move to where he was born. It was an interesting transition obviously into the culture and the language. But I’ve always loved American culture, especially the arts.
You took that by the reins when you were 16?
I know, it’s crazy but I’m glad for my mom, I mean she was scared, but I’m glad that we took that chance because now she’s happily married and she found the love of her life and a job and everything worked out at the end. Even though it was a roller coaster at the end, finally we are finding some stability.
Tell me what your usual day looks like at the station?
I usually like to get there about an hour, or like 30 minutes before the show so I can prep and welcome my guests. I have two hours on air. The first hour, I have my segment where I bring a guest in and we drink coffee together while we discuss different topics. I usually bring nonprofit organizations so that they can share resources with the Hispanic community, because that’s what I want to do. I think language actually seems really important, and sometimes the Hispanic community doesn’t get the chance to have all of the information that is out there, so I wanted my platform to change that.
Are you usually the one to find your sources, like who you want to interview, or does somebody else do that for you?
I do, I do it all; I produce and host. I want to, in the future, have interns to help me with that because I want to give others the opportunity to experience that. And also that will give me a lot of help, because sometimes it’s hard to be like a one-man show doing everything so I would totally be open to the idea of having more help.
What are the best parts about your job?
Well, I keep informing the community. I keep doing the best I can by finding those resources and now we are able to have people in-person, so that that has been better. In my show, I get to promote people that are maybe selling food at home or that are small restaurants that are struggling. I gave them shout-outs in the show so that it has really more connection with my community and their needs.
Most of the time when people think of radio stations, they just think of music but yours is actually a little different where you’re promoting small businesses and connecting people to resources.
Sometimes we have the chance to talk to staffing agencies to get to know the information of the positions they have open. So that’s pretty cool as well.
Tell me a memorable story that always sticks out to you when you think about your job and it can be anything from an inspiring interview or maybe something embarrassing that happened.
A lot of people started making food from home because they got laid off and they have to stay at home with their kids, so they started making all this amazing Mexican food and Puerto Rican food. One lady gave me some tacos on my show. [While talking to a source who] was out collecting groceries for people that got [COVID-19], he [came on] the radio to talk about his project and we were eating tacos, that that lady gave us, and we were eating on air, so I had a bite [of] a chili that I thought wasn’t gonna be spicy, and I lost my voice on air. That was the funniest thing ever.
What keeps you passionate about this type of work, what keeps you going?
Connecting with the community, making meaningful connections and just seeing that my work impacts others, and that the community trusts me.
This article was edited for clarity.
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