Luis and Lupita Montoto Operate Wisconsin's First Spanish-language Radio Station

by Andy Soth
| July 12, 2017

It could be said that La Movida is the Montotos and the Montotos are La Movida.  The Spanish-language radio station serving the Madison area is owned by local broadcast giant MidWest Family Broadcasting, but operates very much like a family business.

In the morning, Luis Montoto is on the air with a peppy mix of lively Tejano tunes.  In the afternoon, Lupita Montoto takes the airwaves with energetic music she loves.  In between, they are on together for “El Debate” a discussion with local Latino leaders and government officials wanting to reach the area’s growing Hispanic populace.

It’s a dream come true for Luis who grew up in Texas along the border.  A musician, he started work as a radio DJ and was quickly hooked. 

When his band was going to tour and sell records across the border in Mexico, Luis had to register the band’s trademark at a local government office.  It was there that he met Lupita and soon determined he would marry her.

“My husband is a very persistent man,” Lupita recalls.  “After nine months that we met, we got married.  A week after we got married we moved to Wisconsin.”

Luis had a cleaning job set up, but also hatched a plan to put Spanish-language radio on the air in the area.  The Montotos started by leasing weekend air time on a small rural station and spreading the word to Spanish speakers.

“We went to Walmart. I always had flyers in my back pocket,” says Luis. As a newcomer with limited resources, Luis relied on the services provided by Madison’s Catholic Multicultural Center. “The first logo that I created for La Movida was done on CMC computers,” he recalls. 

Before long MidWest Family took notice and offered them a channel to go 24/7.  Other Wisconsin broadcasters were also impressed and the Montotos’ station, La Movida, took first place in the state broadcasters awards for large market music station.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lupita summed up the experience: “I come here from very humble roots, from very far, far way from here and I never though in my life this truly would be reality.”

Proof that with persistence, dreams can come true.


Tags: radio / Spanish / tejano music / wisconsin broadcasters association

Andy Soth is a reporter for the "Wisconsin Life" project who grew up in a neighboring state but now loves Wisconsin because it’s like Minnesota without the smugness.