Friday, November 8, 2013

The Return of "Puro Tejano"

Margarita, Mando San Roman y Bonnie Hernandez.
Mando San Roman aims to help the future by reaching back into his past.

The longtime radio personality has brought back to life a format that was used to promote Tejano musicians during its most recent boom period.

In the early 1990's, KIWW 96.1 and Summit Productions teamed up for a television project that came to be known as "Puro Tejano". At the time, Roman was ten years into working as a Tejano DJ for KIWW.

"Summit Productions had an idea for a show and they came to us (at the radio station)," Roman said. "It was hosted by four of the DJ's, within the radio station. Which were Mad Mexican, Rock N Roll James, Iris Hinojosa and myself."

The Valley-based television show was launched on January 17, 1993, and aired locally on KGBT. Eventually, it spread through different markets via syndication. Over the years, the magazine-format program showcased Tejano artists via interviews, behind-the-scenes features and music videos. Old episodes that focused on Selena are regularly uploaded on YouTube, and remain very popular with fans.

Later on, the title would change to "Puro Tejano En Vivo", as the show started including more footage from live performances.

The series came to an end around 2001. There were several reasons as to why. KIWW was no longer involved with the product. Summit Productions evolved into Sendero Multimedia, Inc. and they decided to expand into radio broadcasting. Their interest with the show dwindled and it went off the air.

"A year later, they were thinking of bringing it back, but they had more pending projects, that were of higher priority at that time," Roman said.

In the past four years, Roman and his business partner Eli Gonzales, the CEO of Total Multimedia Team, discussed potential new projects. They came to the conclusion that the time was right to do another Tejano show. "Puro Tejano TV" was green-lit, with Roman serving as the producer.

To get the ball rolling, they turned to social media. On the "Puro Tejano TV" Facebook page, they posted short, online videos to hype the relaunch of the show. As of press time, the page has received 4,481 'likes'. The hosts were introduced on there in short vignettes — Roman, Tejano performer Margarita and longtime radio DJ Bonnie Hernandez.

The show hit the airwaves last month, airing Sunday morning at 9:30 AM on KVEO 23. Historically, Sunday mornings have been a go-to time-slot for Tejano music television programming. This show continues that tradition. The latest episode, which covered the 33rd Annual Tejano Music Awards, can be found on their Facebook page. While no timeline is set, the plan is to take the show to different regional markets.

A lot has changed since the original show went off the air. One key difference is the lack of major record labels involved in today's scene.

"Back in 1990s, when the show was going strong, companies Capitol EMI, RCA, Sony, they were all on board with a lot of Tejano artists," Roman said. "The biggest record label right now, that is out there exposing Tejano artists, is Freddie Records. But besides that, a lot of the artists are, as it was back in the beginning stages of Tejano music, independent artists, working with independent labels."

Roman's goal is to expose fans to a new crop of Tejano talent. When asked who he feels are some up-and-coming artists that deserve our attention, he points to Los Badd Boyz Del Valle, Llueve, AJ Castillo, Ricky Valenz and Cacy Savala.

By promoting these new musicians, within this television format and on social media, Roman hopes he can ensure a bright future for Tejano music.

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