INTERVIEW: Josh Norek of WEXT’s “The Latin Alternative”

July 3rd, 2009, 10:05 am by Greg

Josh Norek is the co-host of the new weekly radio show, “The Latin Alternative,” debuting on WEXT at 8pm on Saturday, July 4.

He’s also the director of the JN Media Group (a bilingual music public relations company), the co-founder of the Latin Alternative Music Conference and a founding member of the Latino-Jewish rap group Hip Hop Hoodios.

Josh Norek

Josh Norek

While Norek lives and works in Los Angeles these days, his roots are right here in Nippertown.

NIPPERTOWN: How does a kid from Delmar get into Latin alternative music? What was it about the music that first attracted you?

NOREK: I grew up in Slingerlands, or as I call it “Slingerlandia.” My family is Jewish, but I have extended family from Colombia and always embraced español. When I was 14 years old, I started translating Tom Petty and John Mellencamp songs into Spanish for fun. My Spanish teacher at Bethlehem High School, Marta Meacham, encouraged me to mix my love of music with Spanish, but I never thought it would lead to an entire career as a Latin music executive, political activist (I also serve as deputy director of Voto Latino, the Latino youth civic engagement organization co-founded by the actress Rosario Dawson) and recording artist.

Believe it or not, I owe part of my music industry career to growing up in Bethlehem. When I was in 9th grade, I founded a ‘fanzine’ that was a parody of Rolling Stone. It was called ZedNosh, and I somehow conned Bethlehem Central High School to pay for its production. Spin Magazine publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. became a big fan of ZedNosh and I wound up becoming his personal intern at age 17.

More after the jump:

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WEXT Launches “The Latin Alternative”

July 2nd, 2009, 10:50 am by Greg

WEXT-FM – the official radio station of Nippertown – is about to celebrate its second anniversary of broadcasting next week. But before then, the listener-supported, non-commercial Triple A radio station – that’s adult album alternative, for those of you who don’t know radio-speak – is branching out into something completely different.

latinalternative-drftStarting on Saturday, July 4, the station will launch a new weekly radio program, “The Latin Alternative,” which will air every Saturday night at 8pm. Focus on crossover-friendly Latin rock, electronica, funk and hip-hop artists, the show will be the first program of its kind in available for national syndication.

“We’ve embraced artists like Manu Chao, Juana Molina, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs from the start,” says Chris Wienk, WEXT’s program director. “We recognize that Latinos are an important part of the public radio audience, and we also know that non-Latin audiences love the Latin alternative genre.

“When we launched the station in 2007, we were surprised to discover that there were no syndicated Latin alternative public radio shows we could pick up to air. So we thought, ‘Why not create one ourselves?’”

“The Latin Alternative” is co-hosted by two of the genre’s leading experts, Josh Norek (co-founder of the Latin Alternative Music Conference and frontman for Latino-Jewish rap group Hip Hop Hoodíos) and Ernesto Lechner (contributing writer for Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times, as well as the author of the book “Rock en Español: The Latin Alternative Rock Explosion”).

The show is broadcast on WEXT (97.7 FM) and streamed on

Check back with Nippertown tomorrow for an indepth interview with Josh Norek, Capital Region native and co-host of “The Latin Alternative.”

Listen Up: Lisa Byrne’s “My Exit” tonight

June 22nd, 2009, 9:05 am by Greg

WEXT-FM – the official radio station of Nippertown – has been the biggest promoter of local music since it hit the airwaves two years ago.

Music fan Lisa Byrne, meanwhile, has certainly been doing her share to support the scene, as well. You’ll see her and her husband Tim out at lots of shows, often videotaping them for posting on YouTube.

At 8 tonight (that would be Monday) and repeated at 10am Sunday, June 28, Byrne teams up with WEXT for an hour to present her “My Exit” show, which promises to be loaded with plenty of Local 518 sounds including:


The Star Spangled Washboard Band

Ramblin Jug Stompers

The Gospel Train

The Fighting 86’s

The McKrells

Michael Eck

Frank Jaklitsch

Check out for more about Lisa and her selections.

The Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Artist Charles HaymesRamblin Jug Stompers