Luis and Lupita Montoto had nothing when they arrived in Madison almost 20 years ago. They stopped into the Catholic Multicultural Center on Madison’s south side (then known as Centro Guadalupe) and then-Executive Director Romilia Schlueter made sure that they were given all the help that they needed to get on their feet in a strange new place thousands of miles from home.

A few years later, La Movida would use the tools they acquired at the Catholic Multicultural Center to start their own 24/7 Spanish-language radio station and the rest, as they say, was history. La Movida is now a very popular radio station in Madison and beyond featuring a balance of Spanish news, weather, sports, talk, and Top-40 music.

“There are so many great services that the Catholic Multicultural Center provides to the Latino community and the multicultural community in Madison,” Luis Montoto tells Madison365. “When Lupita and I arrived in Madison, that was one of the first places that we went to for help and they provided a lot of great help and we are always grateful for them. We’ve had close ties with them ever since.”

La Movida Radio 1480AM will once again team up with the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) to host its 5th annual radio fund-raising event for the Center on Friday, Dec. 16. Every year, La Movida broadcasts live from the center and encourages people to call in and donate. The event is always planned near the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, honoring one of the CMC’s patron saints.

Catholic Multicultural Center
Catholic Multicultural Center

“Our first Radiothon was back in the day with Safe Harbor,” Montoto recalls. “We met our goals with them and then we decided to focus on another non-profit organization. We always loved the Catholic Multicultural Center and they were in need of funds so we decided to give them a hand. It’s been five years working with them now and we really enjoy it.”

During the CMC Radiothon, community members will enjoy colorful dance performances by Mexican dance groups, live music by Spanish singers and songwriters and Latin-American food prepared by restaurant donors and volunteers. Festivities at the center will start at noon and go until 7 p.m.

“We start at noon and we have [Lady of Guadalupe] Mass [at the center’s chapel] at 1 p.m. and we broadcast that on the air and then the rest of the day is just us and so many great community members,” Montoto says. “We broadcast live from the Catholic Multicultural Center so people just pop in and chat with us on air.”

The CMC, located in the heart of Madison’s south side, strives to provide basic necessities as well as educational and spiritual opportunities to empower individuals to grow as a member of the community. They rely on support from individuals and businesses to keep their programs running and to expand their offerings. The Radiothon will help ensure the Center’s doors can remain open and will assist in helping with CMC’s many programs.

Catholic Multicultural Center staff are getting ready for the Radiothon fundraiser with La Movida Spanish Radio 1480AM.
Catholic Multicultural Center staff are getting ready for the Radiothon fundraiser with La Movida Spanish Radio 1480AM.

“What I love about the Radiothon is having that direct contact with our listeners and seeing the families come in with their kids and make a donation and seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids,” Montoto says. “They put money in the aquarium and they come in and enjoy the food and the dancing and entertainment. It’s a great family atmosphere … a great community event.

“I love that family aspect of it, too,” Montoto adds. “Families come in with their kids and teach them the importance of donating money and helping each other out. It’s about teaching the kids the aspect of giving and helping out your community. I think it’s especially important around Christmas time. It can be as little as one dollar or two dollars – it doesn’t matter.”

Sponsors of this year’s Radiothon include Madison Gas & Electric, Catholic Financial Life, and Middleton Family Dental. The Radiothon is usually held on or around Dec. 12, the day of the Virgin Guadalupe, but this year it will be a few days later than normal as the Montotos had a family function out in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Luis and Lupita Montoto at last year's CMC Radiothon
Luis and Lupita Montoto at last year’s CMC Radiothon

“The community can call the CMC at the Radiothon and donate over the phone. They can come on in and give money directly in person,” Montoto says. “I believe our goal is to raise $18,000 for the day. We’re also going to be increasing awareness of the important services offered at the Catholic Multicultural Center. What I like most about CMC is that it just doesn’t cater to Catholics even though it is the Catholic Multicultural Center. It literally is multicultural and that’s what I love about it the most. It’s helping other communities whether the person is African American, or from Southeast Asia, Latin America or Africa. Wherever. I truly enjoy that.”

This year the Radiothon will take place Friday, Dec. 16, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. at the CMC (1862 Beld St., Madison) and will be broadcast live on La Movida Spanish Radio (1480 AM). For more information about the Radiothon or how to contribute, click here.