Listen to the radio in your own language . . . Each day SUR brings you music, sports, commentary . . . and much more," promisies the poster.
The language is Spanish, and SUR -- acronym for Servicios Unidos de Radio (United Radio Services) -- is delighted to be able to bill itself as "the only Spanish-language radio service in the Washington area."
SUR, which started test transmissions this month and will begin public broadcasting in June, is the brainchild of Combined Community Communications, Inc.
The Washington-based firm was established in June 1978 by two naturalized U.S. citizens -- Miguel Bomar of Argentina and Maximo Mewe of Chile -- and one native American, Roger Wilkison.
CCC comprises a team of multilingual media specialists who can do everything from translations to dubbing TV commercials to producing film strips.
"We've been working on this radio idea since 1973 or 1974," said CCC President Bomar. "Washington is the ninth largest radio market in the United States, and with the growth of the Hispanic community here, it is just inconceivable that there is no Spanish-language radio in a market that large."
Washington's one Spanish-language station, WFAN-FM, was nudged off the air in 1978 in a frequency dispute. It has not been replaced because the Washington AM-FM frequency spectrum is completely filled. CCC is the first of several groups to receive authorization for subfrequency broadcasting from the Federal Communications Commission.
Subfrequency radio is roughly analogous cable television, and requires a special receiver that CCC will supply to each of its subscribers. Individual subscriptions can cost as little as $10.50 a month, excluding a refundable deposit on the receiver.
CCC has offered free receivers to community-service organizations. The company also is prepared to install facilities for groups of 10 to 50 households in the same apartment building, for a variable installation fee ranging to several hundred dollars, but at a subsequent cost to the user of just $5 per month.
The receivers are manufactured in Nebraska. CCC already has received part of its initial order of 1,000 receivers.
"Frankly, we think the thing is going to boom," said Bomar. "The market here is just tremendous. We've got so many plans -- talk shows, news, music, soap operas we've already bought for transmission. First one from Argentina, then probably one from Mexico or Peru. Then we'd like to do a Spanish-language news roundtable like 'Agronsky and Company.'"
Maximo Mewe, the SUR equivalent of a station manager, is no less enthusiaste. "We already have six broadcasters working on a salaried basis," explained Mewe, "and we're still getting calls and interviewing prospective employes." Many of those are broadcasters who wave employed by the now-defunct WFAN-FM Radio Latina.
CCC is about to launch its promotional campaign, to include newspaper advertisements, posters in places of business frequented by Hispanos and a direct-mail campaign to homes throughout the Washington metropolitan area.
Test transmissions are currently on the air from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., the 10-hour period during which SUR will broadcasting initially. CCC has the authorization required to broadcast 24 hours a day, however, and plans to expand its programming in three phases -- from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and from 7 a.m. to midnight -- before finally beginning 24-hour operation.
"We want to act as a kind of communications bridge between one part of the community and another," said Bomar. "We want to provide a different kind of communications medium for a different listening audience."