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From Allentown to the White House: How a Pa. radio host is playing an outsized role in the 2024 presidential election

Lindsay Weber, The Morning Call on

Published in Political News

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — As a former host for mainstream corporate radio stations across the country, Victor Martinez was told to stay away from politics while on air.

While working for a Washington, D.C., radio station in 2016, a large immigration-related protest was planned in the city. But corporate leaders told Martinez and the other radio personalities, “don’t get involved.”

“Those (radio) companies are very, ‘Stay away from anything, just play music and give away your concert tickets, and that’s it,” Martinez said in an interview with The Morning Call.

When Martinez purchased what is now La Mega Radio station in Allentown in 2017, it was his opportunity to define his own rules as a radio host.

Now, Martinez is an outspoken advocate for Pennsylvania Latinos, seeking to inspire them to vote and run for office. National political leaders are starting to take note: He has been interviewed by CNN about Latino voters, and broadcast his morning talk show from the White House in February. Vice President Kamala Harris called in to a recent show, where she discussed the economy, reproductive rights and immigration.

“It’s about time, right? That’s my first reaction, you know,” Martinez said of fielding calls from top Democratic officials. “When you look at the 2020 election where Biden won by 80,000 votes, in such a close election in such a now swing state, we could make a difference.”

 

Pennsylvania’s 600,000 Latino voters are a key voting bloc targeted by Democrats and Republicans alike, and the Lehigh Valley has one of the largest Latino populations statewide. The voting age population in the Lehigh Valley’s congressional district is 16% Latino, the second highest among Pennsylvania congressional districts, and many of these voters are in Allentown, which is more than 50% Latino.

Martinez wants to make sure those voters are not ignored.

Politics in Puerto Rico

Martinez was born in Jersey City but spent most of his childhood in Puerto Rico. He is a graduate of Florida Memorial University and spent 30 years as a TV and radio host across the United States, including in Philadelphia, D.C., Orlando and Atlanta, until he bought La Mega seven years ago.

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