Behind the mic
Leader shares his love for Spanish music with children and tackles tough topics.
Francisco Treviño hosts “El Espacio del Tio Pancho” from 8-10 a.m., Saturdays, on 104.9 FM Que Buena.
Francisco Treviño, longtime president and CEO of the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has recently doubled down on his work in the community, adding “children’s radio show host” to his resume in March.
The live, Spanish-language music show is a 50th birthday present of sorts to Treviño, who is a father of three — but it’s local listeners who are celebrating.
AB: What’s it like doing “El Espacio del Tio Pancho” (“Uncle Pancho’s Space”)?
FT: I like doing it live because people can call in and ask for songs and send greetings. The music is very traditional. It’s not silly songs that the parents will get tired of listening to.
What’s the reaction been like from kids and parents?
We had a caller who said, “I don’t know when you guys came up with this program, but I’m enjoying the music, and this is the first time my kids are sitting quiet, listening to the song inside the car.” A truck driver on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma was telling me on the air, “This song brings back memories. I’m listening to
“La Muñeca Fea” (“The Ugly Doll”), just thinking of my childhood.”
These days, you don’t see kids living a full childhood. They grow up so fast and they don’t have the opportunity to be children. In a way, that’s what I want to bring back.
You’ve got a character as the show’s host, right?
As Tio Pancho I give advice to people. I tell it like it is, respectfully. I promote the culture, the language, imagination, the arts, creativity. So, in a way the
character is me. But at least by being Tio Pancho, I can be more open.
It’s like a secret identity. Do you think people know now that you’re Tio Pancho?
They’d probably be surprised — if I’m at the chamber, how can I be doing children’s music over here? They are complete opposites.
You’d think so, and yet it sounds like the goals of the chamber and the radio show are the same: promoting the community.
Exactly. There’s a lot of good within the Hispanic community. It’s not what you hear about out there. People think because I’m Hispanic I’m undocumented, or because I’m Hispanic I’m taking advantage of social services and I don’t pay taxes. And that’s not true.
I talk about immigration on the program. My goal is to have kids join me on the program — have it not just be my show but their show, too. So I invited a Hispanic girl, and we talked after Trump came out with his immigration stuff. As a child, and as Tio Pancho, we talked about it. I would ask questions; she would answer me back, in a child’s perspective. Her mom was there, and another lady was there. They were just listening.
I don’t think a lot of people really talk to kids. People say you have to look down to kids. No. You have to look at their eye level. We have those conversations that maybe kids don’t usually have.
You’re giving them the opportunity to participate.
I think it’s healthy for kids to be able to express themselves about the real problems of an adult. Because this immigration issue doesn’t just affect the adults. It affects the kids, as well. The not knowing if, by the time they get back from school, their parents are going to be there (or if they will be picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials). That’s a true fear in our community.
By being open on some of the issues with the kids, I think you accomplish a couple of things. You let the kids know that we know they suffer just like us. Two, you allow them to have confidence in themselves.