MIAMI (BP) — It may seem strange to some that in the age of podcasts and YouTube videos that an AM radio program is as highly ranked as “La Hora Positiva” in Miami. La Hora Positiva also is a Christian radio program on a secular radio station.
But La Hora Positiva — “The Positive Hour” in English on 670 La Poderosa — is ranked second among Spanish-speaking AM radio programs in South Florida by Nielsen, a global information and measurement company.
Guillermo Escalona, the program’s host, director of pastoral education at Baptist Health South Florida and pastor of Coral Villa Baptist Church in Miami, attributes the program’s success to the positive messages it portrays on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
“It’s the very idea that the focus is positive. It’s the good news. It’s creating awareness of what God is doing and how He is moving through people who are doing good,” Escalona said.
The show covers topics ranging from social services and politics to the arts and health care by highlighting individuals making a difference in those fields while engaging their Christian faith. Al Fernandez, lead strategist for church planting with the Florida Baptist Convention, appeared on the show after his open heart surgery to discuss his health and how his faith helped him through that time. Fernandez’s surgeon was also interviewed during a separate broadcast, and he talked about his faith and how it plays a role in his work.
More recently, Escalona welcomed Rafael Cruz, pastor and father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), on the program to discuss the humble beginnings of the Cruz family in America. During the program the elder Cruz talked about how he migrated to the United States when he was 15 years old with just $100 sewn into his underwear. He also talked about seeing his son excel in school and how he felt when Ted was sworn in as a senator in 2012, making him the first Hispanic to serve as a U.S. senator from Texas.
Another popular guest was Maria Rivas, a Venezuelan singer and songwriter who survived a diagnosis of terminal cancer. While medicine played a role in her healing, “there was divine intervention and it was a period of spiritual awakening for her,” Escalona said.
But the program is more than interviews with special guests. Escalona enjoys playing a classical piece of music or a popular song with a theme that lends itself to be analyzed in spiritual terms.
Escalona says the program has a large following in Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico and Canada via the Internet.
According to the Total Audience Report by Nielsen, during the first quarter of 2015, more than 90 percent of adults listened to the radio each week — with Hispanics being the “most avid radio listeners.”
Escalona says that feedback from listeners pours in through email and phone calls. Sometimes a program is so well received by listeners that the station re-broadcasts it outside of its designated time slot.
“People can move from hope to despair if all they hear is bad news,” Escalona said.