As a younger man, Bismarck Rodriguez Sosa wanted to become the next biggest baseball player to come out of Nicaragua. His career path changed, though, when he got his first job at a radio station.
Rodriguez, 67, has been heard on Miami airwaves for the past 27 years, informing Nicaraguans of the latest news from their native country.
“The important thing is that we speak about Nicaragua. We are objective. We use Nicaraguan slangs, which we think of our listeners so they can enjoy,” he said. “Nicaragua is always present.”
Rodriguez hosts the radio program La Voz Nica, “the Nicaraguan Voice.” It airs 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WRHC La Cadena Azul 1550 AM in Miami and can also be heard live at www.cadenaazul.com.
He arrived in Florida in 1987, escaping tumultuous political issues facing Nicaragua at the time.
“We fled from the war and communism,” he said.
Rodriguez said he also sought to be a member of the free press. Back then, the Sandinista National Liberation Front kept a close eye on radio, newspaper or television content, reviewing all news content.
“What was happening in Nicaragua was an attack to those who believed in democracy,” he said. “I worked in a democratic radio station called Radio Corporacion and we had difficulties financially and politically. The politicians didn’t allow us to practice our right to free press. They censored us.”
When he arrived in Miami, Rodriguez worked all kinds of jobs, including preparing meals for airlines. His heart was always in broadcasting.
“The radio is an addiction,” he said. “When you are in the radio it is something you don’t want to give up.”
He would call in to a local radio show hosted by reporter Eucario Bermudez. Rodriguez would recite a poem. After hearing Rodriguez’s voice on the air, he was impressed and invited him to the station. Bermudez gave him the nickname of “La Voz Nica.”
Rodriguez and co-host Mauricio Peña, a Nicaraguan singer, hosted a program for 23 years. Peña retired a few years ago.
Salvador Collado, who arrived in the United States in 1983 and runs business NIC Printing, has been a faithful listener. He says hearing the radio program is nostalgic and informative.
“That is how the news is delivered in our country,” Collado said. “The program is a way of getting informed of what is Nicaraguan in Miami and a way to find out if someone passed away. It has illuminated our exile community.”
Rodriguez now hosts the show, with the help of Abel Melendez and his brother, Cesar Rodriguez, a journalist in Nicaragua.
La Voz Nica has paved the way to other Nicaraguan radio weekly programs and newspaper catering to the exiles.
When it comes to retirement, Rodriguez has no thoughts of ever shutting off the microphone.
“The Nicaraguan stores, the voice and people of Nicaragua are all there,” he said. “It is our country, the state of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario. We are the voice of Nicaraguans.”