In 1993, Delta College Public Radio saw the debut of two new voices, Mike Mendoza, the host of “La Caliente 90.1,” and Rod Bieber, host of “The Audition Room” and “Backstage Explorer.” Thirty years later, the two radio veterans reflect on their longevity.
“I was scared to death. I had no idea what I would talk to people about.” That was the feeling radio host Rod Bieber had in March 1993, moments before going on air.
Over time, he has cultivated a space with two radio shows that each embrace in-depth conversations with guests and diverse musical tastes. “The Audition Room” offers new releases of musical genres such as jazz, world, folk and other selections. “Backstage Explorer,” is an interview and music program that highlights local and regional arts and humanities, while putting a spotlight on local talent.
“I’ve never gravitated to TV, but with radio you can paint a picture with words, which is a challenge, but it’s very rewarding when you’re successful at it,” Bieber said.
His love of radio emerged as a child from watching his father, an amateur radio operator, speak to people across the globe through a radio set he operated from their home—a memory he cherishes with this milestone.
“I can’t believe it’s been 30 years, and it seems like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye,” he said. “I’m thankful to Delta College for allowing me to start and continue the program.”
Mike Mendoza has loved DJing and radio since high school, even hosting a show until his senior year. When he began attending Delta College as a student, one of his professors approached him to host a new Spanish program after a previous one was unsuccessful.
He decided to give it a try.
“I didn’t think I’d be here for 30 years. So, I came in, and we had two turntables, a mixer, a microphone and later added the CD players,” Mendoza said. “The more I did it, the more popular the show became.”
On January 1, 1993, “La Caliente 90.1 with Mike Mendoza” went live and he hasn’t looked back. The two-hour program primarily consists of Tejano, known as “Tex-Mex music,” from new and traditional artists and Latin music. (Fun fact: he met and interviewed Tejano music icon Selena in 1994. Her music is one of the most requested on the station.)
Mendoza, also known to listeners as “El Gueroman,” describes his audience from across the country as “very high energy,” from children to senior citizens.
“I started here in my early twenties, and the Tejano I played was for younger people. I always joked back then that I’m going to do a set for my 50-and-over club, and now I’m in it,” he said with a laugh.
Reflecting on his years of entertaining the masses, Mendoza is grateful for the support of Delta and his audience.
“It means a lot. When I started, I knew people liked the music, and the people are what keep me going.”
Would you like to support Mike or Rod’s Delta College Public Radio programs or become an underwriter? Contact Gwen Serbus at 989-686-9012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating 30+ Years of Delta College Public Radio
Delta College Public Radio has endured for more than 30 years thanks to the unwavering support of its loyal listeners.
In 1989, Delta Broadcasting launched WUCX-FM 90.1 to offer public radio programming to reach listeners in Mid-Michigan and the Thumb under the direction of former program directors, the late Paul Sturm and Howard Sharper. Today, Joe Yezak is at the helm of scheduling programs on the station, as well as serving as an on-air host at times.
Our weekly local radio programs keep listeners informed and entertained, including "Beyond Broadway," "Mid Michigan Sound Operative," "El Sol Latino" and more.