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  • Hawaii Public Radio (HPR) - Ray Cruz Returns With Latin Beat

  • Type: Special Event
    Date: Wednesday - 11/26/2014
    Time: 7:30 p.m.
    Hawaii Public Radio (HPR)
    Atherton Performing Arts Studio
    738 Kaheka Street
    Honolulu, HI 96814

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New Local Music Program Spices Up HPR Evening Programming

Veteran host Ray Cruz returns with Latin Beat

Hawai‘i Public Radio adds to its locally developed content with the debut of a new weekday evening program, Latin Beat, hosted by radio veteran Ray Cruz. Focused on instrumental Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz and Latin Big Band classics, the show premieres on HPR-2 on October 15, days after the anticipated close of the station's fall fund drive (currently in process). Latin Beat airs live on October 15 and subsequent Wednesdays, from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Cruz, recognized by many as the voice of Latin music in Hawai‘i through his long-running HPR show Sabor Tropical, is enthusiastic about the new hosting opportunity. "In the years since Sabor left the air in 2012, there's been an explosion of new music from Latin artists and I've often thought, I wish I could play this! I picture my listeners coming home from a hard day of work, turning on the radio to Latin Beat, and getting recharged."

HPR President and General Manager Michael Titterton approached Cruz to return with a new concept, a program that featured not just music but explanations of the historical and cultural significance behind Latin Jazz. Titterton adds, "Ray's passion for music is matched by his deep knowledge of the Latin music territory. He's a shining role-model for the kind of smartly curated local programming that we hope to develop more of."

Listeners to Latin Beat will be able to make requests by calling the station, as well as engage with its host and see the show's playlist on the show's Facebook page HPR will eventually offer podcasts of the show for download. Cruz also anticipates conducting the occasional live interviews with visiting and Hawai‘i-based Latin music artists.

About Ray Cruz

Ray Cruz was born in Brooklyn, New York, and spent his teen years in Puerto Rico. He discovered his passion for music at a young age while enrolled at a military boarding school in New York State. He played the trombone in school bands, during his Air Force service, and with bands in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Texas, while attending the University of New Mexico.

He began his radio DJ career while in college, hosting two FM Salsa programs for the Universities of New Mexico and Albuquerque. In 1990, he started his radio career in Hawai‘i at UH Manoa's KTUH. A year later, he joined HPR as a volunteer host with Sabor Tropical, playing Salsa, Classic Salsa, and Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz. Cruz became a member of the HPR staff in 2006 and has served as the local host for NPR's All Things Considered and HPR's morning show Foreward. He is currently the station's Assistant Operations Manager.

In 2002, Cruz was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 4th Annual Los Angeles Salsa Congress. In Honolulu, he has deejayed at popular nightclubs, and acted as emcee for concerts by touring Latin music celebrities, as well as at local Hispanic festivals and events. Cruz is fluent in Spanish.

About HPR's Atherton Performing Arts Studio

The Atherton Studio seats 75 people and is home to a magnificent Bösendorfer concert grand piano. The Studio is available for rent for musical performances, community group meetings, and lectures. It is located in the HPR office and studio complex at 738 Kaheka Street, across from the Honolulu Don Quijote. Metered street parking is available, as are paid lots at the First Hawaiian Bank (Kapi‘olani branch) and in the Pan Am building.

About Hawaii Public Radio

HPR is a private, non-profit organization which broadcasts classical, jazz, and international music; and in-depth news and informational programming from National Public Radio, American Public Media, Public Radio International, and other local, national, and international program sources, as well as programs produced by Hawaii Public Radio. In October 2013, Charity Navigator, the premier charity evaluator, awarded HPR its second consecutive four-star rating for exceptional fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

HPR's mission is to serve the entire population of the state of Hawai‘i with two excellent program streams. HPR-1, the news magazine and fine arts stream, can currently be heard on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i (KHPR 88.1 FM and 88.5 FM); Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and West Hawai‘i (KKUA 90.7 FM); and East Hawai‘i (KANO 91.1 FM (Hilo) and 94.7 FM (Waimea)). HPR-2, the news, local talk, and music stream, is found on Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i (KIPM 89.7 FM and KIPH 88.3 FM (Hana)); West Hawai‘i (KIPM 89.7 FM and KHPH 88.7 FM); O‘ahu and Kaua‘i (KIPO 89.3 FM; KIPL 89.9 FM)

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