More than the school DJ


Julia Baroni

During her radio show on Nov. 7, Bella Tamas uses the audio box in Hinsdale Central’s radio room to change the volume and sound distribution of the music.  Tamas was playing her favorite Bachata artist, Romeo Santos, on air at the time.

Bella Tamas brings her Mexican culture to the Hinsdale Central Radio Station

It’s a Saturday morning and Bella Tamas, sophomore, enters a dimly lit room at the end of the science hallway.  Upon manipulation of the orange, green, blue, and red buttons on the large soundbox before her, the inviting rhythms of Latin music pour through the speakers, as well as radio station 88.5 FM.

“I go to school from 11 to 1 [p.m.] and play music in Spanish on the air for everyone to hear,” Tamas said.  Her weekly radio show, “Musica Latina,” is in English, but plays predominantly Spanish music, and is on every Saturday morning.

As a Mexican American student, Tamas has been listening to Latin music all her life.

“I grew up listening to music in Spanish,” Tamas said.  “When I was younger I didn’t really like it as much.  As I grew older I discovered my love for it, especially a genre called Bachata, which is a type of dance music, and I just fell in love with the music.”

It’s a labor of love for Tamas.

“…She has to wake up earlier,” said Mrs. Cristina Tamas, Bella’s mother, laughing.  She contributes to the Mexican side of Tamas, and has been very supportive with her radio show.  “It’s gotten her out of the box; she’s done something that’s out of her element.  I think it’s really cool what she’s doing.”

bella studio
Every Saturday morning Bella Tamas, sophomore, is greeted with this switchboard for her radio show.

But it takes more than just waking up; Tamas has a plan and playlist for each show.

“I give a little introduction to what the show’s gonna be like.  I play usually four or five songs. I use Apple Music to play it off my iPad and I make a list of songs that I want to play, like from my childhood, and I put them in a playlist every week,” Tamas said.

She then speaks about a pre-researched topic for a few minutes between songs to break up the  air time.

“[The topics] are different every time, although there’s one segment that happens every single week, Artist Background, so the listeners can learn more about the artists heard,” Tamas said. “I just talk about current events in the Hispanic community or even in the music community. Last week I even talked about Justin Bieber.” She additionally must read either a commercial or public service announcement three times per hour.

Despite the general structure,  Tamas enjoys the freedom of having her own radio show.

“My favorite thing about it is that I kinda get to do whatever I want. I play the music I enjoy and that I hope other people will enjoy.  Sometimes I play different music too, like two weeks ago I played European house music… since I’m half Romanian and half Mexican,” Tamas said.  This was a favor for her aunt who was visiting from Romania at the time.

The radio show is especially important to Tamas because she gets to represent her Mexican culture.

“Only four percent of the school is Mexican and I feel like…[this radio station] is… putting it out there, the Mexican community, or the Hispanic community at the school,” Tamas said.

She is happy to be “putting it out there” and has remarked on how many new things she’s learned about her culture through searching for current events for the show.

It’s especially meaningful to her mother, whose first language was Spanish and has been listening to Latin music since birth.

“Oh, we have music on all the time…every single holiday was filled with music, every house party, every barbecue,” Mrs. Tamas said.

As a Spanish Club member and honors Spanish student, Tamas is able to combine her passion for the language with her love for music and an understanding of her heritage.

“I just think it’s a better way to embrace my culture,” Tamas said.