Kean alum uses radio program to help Puerto Rico

By Lena Zhu | Published Nov. 28, 2017

Cotto stands smiling in his safe haven on the fourth floor of the CAS building. Credit: Lena Zhu

Cotto stands smiling in his safe haven on the fourth floor of the CAS building. Credit: Lena Zhu

Jose Cotto has been in charge of the Spanish Radio program at Kean University’s 90.3 FM radio for approximately 12 years, since his start in 2005.

On Sept. 20, a category four hurricane, Maria, hit his home, Puerto Rico. As a result, many people lost their homes, including Cotto’s mother. As a Kean University Latino alumnus, Cotto decided to use his power as the broadcaster of the Spanish radio station at Kean to help bring supplies to Puerto Rico with the help of local listeners from Elizabeth, Linden, Roselle, Roselle Park, Hillside and parts of Newark.

“This microphone right here is very powerful. This radio station reaches seven cities around NJ. So we’re talking about 700,000 people that can listen to this radio show every weekend,” Cotto said.

“So far, the people are pouring with stuff. I mean we are…right now we have about 5 containers that are being shipped as we speak to Patillas, Puerto Rico as we speak. It should be arriving in the middle of November,” Cotto said. “By the end of November, I should be flying back to Puerto Rico to help the people of PR to get food and clothes and [to simply] be there for them.”

He did not do this alone, however. The Puerto Rico Alliance based in Elizabeth, New Jersey had reached out to him to advertise their cause for collecting items for PR. The news reached a lot of people locally and one woman even contacted Cotto.

“One day there was a person who listened to me through Facebook Live and she contacted me and said ‘What can I do to bring a truck over full of stuff for PR?’,” said Cotto.

A new group of Puerto Ricans in Allentown are also collecting items for the town of Patillas, Puerto Rico.

“We are trying to collect as many items as we can send,” said Cotto.

Cotto is not looking for fame or recognition for helping Puerto Rico.

“I’m doing this for my heart. I don’t get paid for what I do,” said Cotto. “I love to help people and right now we have a lot of people behind. I am not the one in front. I am just the broadcaster. I am just the messenger. I don’t want to take any credit.”

Little by little, Cotto is slowly influencing locals to help out with the situation in Puerto Rico.

“It’s gonna take years to get Puerto Rico back in shape, but we will. That’s for sure.”

For more information, contact Jose Cotto at the Kean Spanish Pro Bono Radio Station at (908) 737-0446 on Saturdays and Sundays at 12 p.m. Donations such as toiletries, cans of food, batteries, flashlights, clothing, and other items are appreciated.

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