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“It’s more than community … it’s family.” La Movida will celebrate its 20th anniversary at its annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon Celebration


This year’s annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon Celebration will be on a special date for host La Movida — Oct. 14. It’s the date that the Madison-based 24/7 Spanish language radio station first launched in 2002.

“We are very excited about celebrating the luncheon on Oct. 14 this year because that is the exact date that will mark 20 years – Oct. 14, 2002, is when we launched La Movida as a 24/7 radio station,” La Movida co-owner Lupita Montoto tells Madison365. “For me, the whole year I’ve been so excited that we will be celebrating the luncheon and at the same time celebrating our 20th anniversary and seeing everybody that we have known over these years since we first arrived in Madison. It’s more than community to me … it’s family.”

Every autumn, La Movida and Mid-West Family Madison celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a luncheon that includes delicious food, speeches, entertainment and awards at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in downtown Madison. This year’s 12th annual event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m.

La Movida co-owner Luis Montoto says they’ve come a long way since that inaugural luncheon that was held at the Warner Park Senior Center on Madison’s North Side back in the day.

“It’s been fun to watch the luncheon grow year after year. We actually started with a couple of recognition awards. And now we do a total of seven,” he says.

Lusi, like his wife, Lupita, is really excited about this year’s luncheon marking the 20th anniversary of their radio station, which has existed on a part-time basis since April of 2000, becoming a full-fledged 24/7 Spanish-language radio station just two years later.

“To be where we are at right now 20 years later …. Who woulda thunk it?, as they say,” Luis Montoto smiles. “When we started way back then, it was just a dream. And it’s grown. And to a degree, in growing this business, it’s been a big part of what we’ve done as a family and we’ve done as a couple.”

Luis and Lupita Montoto and the awards for La Movida being recognized as “Station of the Year” by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

It has indeed become a family affair with the Montoto’s sons playing a part in the radio station and helping out at all of the events that they host throughout the years. And for a lot of people in the Madison area and beyond, La Movida has become their family.

“We’ve recognized since the beginning when we started doing 24 hours that information is power. And that’s what we try to do with our listeners – we try to empower our community,” Luis Montoto says. “So every day, life is like a battle. And we try and provide that ammunition, those weapons so that so our community and our listeners go out every day and battle life challenges. That’s what we provide and that’s what we give them with information and resources … something we strive to do every single day at La Movida.”

This year’s keynote speaker at the Hispanic Heritage Luncheon Celebration will be Juan Jose Lopez, co-founder of The Latino Economic Development Foundation (WLEDF), co-founder of The Latino Chamber of Commerce and owner of López Consulting Services, LLC.

Juan Jose Lopez
(Photo: Marcus Miles)

“That’s a long time coming. He’s a great community leader and a great advocate,” says Luis Montoto. “Even though he’s retired now, he’s still very involved in the community.”

“Juan Jose Lopez has been a pillar in our community. He is an icon. So we are honored to have him for the event,” adds Lupita Montoto.

Leaders and representatives of local Latino and non-Latino institutions are expected to attend the luncheon including City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson, Emb. Consul Claudia Franco, Mexico Consulate of Milwaukee, and Julia Arata-Fratta, Alder of the City of Fitchburg Common Council who will give the Proclamation for the event. Special remarks will be made by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

“The luncheon is a time to recognize amazing people who have been doing remarkable things in our community,” Lupita Montoto says. “That’s so important to do and these recipients really deserve it.”

Seven awards will be presented on Oct. 14.

“It’s always so hard to pick just seven people for awards when there are dozens of people in the community doing amazing things,” Lupita Montoto says. 

The following leaders and entities will be recognized during the luncheon for their contributions in the greater Madison area:

◉ Community Institution of the Year: Consulado de México en Milwaukee

◉ Community Leader of the Year: Mario Garcia Sierra, Energy Equity and Innovation Manager at Madison Gas and Electric

Norma Gallegos

◉ Hispanic Achievement of the Year: Norma A. Gallegos Valles, president of the Latino Professional Association and Centro Hispano Workforce & Career Pathways Manager

◉ The Amigo Award: Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive

◉ Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year: Ode and Wensy Meléndez, owners of Amigo Construction

◉ Believe and Succeed Award: Jorge Antezana, vice president & COO of the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce

◉ Making a Difference Award: Roots4Change, Co-Op


Lupita Montoto says one of the fun things about the event is to watch the next generation of leaders come up.

“It’s interesting to think that some of the people that we are honoring at this event and many of our community leaders at the luncheon may have been people who grew up listening to La Movida Radio,” she says. “They might be people who listened to us 15-20 years as young people who are now the leaders of our community. It’s amazing to see the generational aspect of it now that we have been around for two decades. 

“We are hearing more and more of those types of stories – ‘Oh, my dad used to work with you at the station back in the day,’ or ‘My mom got me to start listening to you way back when,” she adds.

Community members can register for La Movida’s 12th Annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon by clicking here.  The Montotos ask that you RSVP by Friday, Oct. 7.

“It’s an event where all of these partners and collaborations and agencies and organizations and leaders that have been here for so long come together. This is a community event that they love,” Lupita Montoto says. “Everybody that has been working in the Latino community to make our overall Madison community a better place will be there … and that’s what makes this event very special.”


For more information about La Movida Radio’s 12th Annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon, contact Lupita Montoto at (608) 441-3768 or via email at [email protected]