Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On LA Radio Show, a Peek into the Love Lives of Immigrants

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On LA Radio Show, a Peek into the Love Lives of Immigrants

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES * On weekday evenings, carpenters and longshoremen, working mothers and young professionals hailing from Latin America and living in Los Angeles and throughout the U.S. tune their radios to Oswaldo Diaz's show and get a peek into the love lives of immigrants.

"The moment has arrived," the Diaz, 33, announces in a deep, authoritative voice in Spanish. "To do away with doubt. To test your partner's fidelity."

Changing the tone of his voice into the high-pitched, plain speaking character of "La Chokolata," Diaz fields calls from lovesick listeners wondering if wives left behind in Mexico, deported husbands and love interests sparked on Facebook remain faithful despite months and sometimes years apart. Then he calls their unsuspecting partners pretending to be from a new company offering to send a free heart-shaped box of chocolates to "someone special" on their behalf.

Do they send it to their significant other or someone else?

Diaz's show is broadcast by Entravision and reaches more than 2 million people nationwide. "El Show de Erazno y la Chokolata" features many of the staples of a "Sabado Gigante" type variety show: A recent episode featured funny headlines from Mexico ("Goat Attacks Doa Maura; Today They'll Barbecue Him"); an interview with "Madonna Boy," a man who has undergone more than a dozen surgeries to look like the pop star; and advice from resident sexologist Elvia Contreras.

But it is Diaz's segment on love called "El Chokolatazo" or "The Big Chocolate" that strikes the strongest chord: In more than 10 years of doing the show, Diaz has witnessed marriage proposals, heartwarming reconciliations and a fair share of scornful breakups.

"Sometimes I feel bad," Diaz said. "I don't have the power to make people say things that are not really what they mean."

They are stories Diaz knows well.

Growing up in the western Mexico state of Michoacan, Diaz watched his own father leave each year to spend long months working in the U.S. Diaz immigrated to California as a teen and held jobs planting broccoli and landscaping before his knack for imitating voices landed him a job on the radio. …

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