Edgar Sotelo is relaxed as he walks to a far corner booth at an Uptown Dallas restaurant for brunch a Saturday afternoon. Looking casual with aviator sunglasses, a military-inspired shirt, jeans and sandals, he takes a seat, after greeting the magazine crew with a huge smile and hug, and orders coffee. Already a family sitting on the opposite corner is giving him the eye, trying to figure out if it’s Mega 107.5’s morning host “Shoboy.”
He’s aware of this and acknowledges their gaze with a smile. “I don’t want them to think I’m a showoff,” he says and gets up to go greet the curious family. The moment defines what our interview continued to reveal about the 29-year-old: He’s a down-to-earth guy who, despite his rising fame and hectic schedule, manages to get words like God, family and blessed into every other sentence.
Sotelo is very much the energetic, funny guy you hear on the radio. One can’t help feel positive around him. He constantly high fives people, amid texting himself radio-show ideas spurred by our conversation. And he consistently ends negative stories or anecdotes with an inspirational message or his popular Pero no me aguito, ¡eh! which “means it’s all good.”
But beyond his laidback, wisecracking on- and off-radio personality, Shoboy, nicknamed by his friends long before being a radio showman, is a driven, savvy businessman who’s on a mission to push the next generation of Latinos above par.
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s in organizational development in hand, Shoboy relentlessly uses his talent to positively influence people — his honors include the U.S. Senate 2009 Most Influential Leader Award. The radio wiz has led citizenship and voter registration drives and helped raise more than $2 million for hospitals and disaster victims. Moreover, his motivational speeches at K-12 schools, colleges and universities have reached more than 100,000 students and parents.
Good Morning, Dallas
Sotelo has taken Dallas/Fort Worth by storm ever since his hit show “Shoboy en la Mañana” invaded Mega’s airwaves in May 2010 — the station’s morning drive ratings have skyrocketed to No. 7 from No. 21 in the 18-34 general market demographic. His ability to capture listeners already garnered national recognition.
On Sept. 15, Shoboy won the National Association of Broadcasters 2011 Marconi Radio Award for Spanish Personality of the Year. The Marconi, radio’s equivalent to an Oscar or Grammy, is his and Mega’s first. Winning colleagues include Ryan Seacrest. “What gives you depth is community work – what you’re doing with those ratings and all those listeners,” Shoboy says. “I’m not the most talented radio guy, but I’m one of the most hardworking, and that what makes a difference.”
With the ultimate of radio awards on his resume and growing up around his brother Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo’s success, it’s hard to imagine radio was not in Shoboy’s career plans. “I never wanted to go into radio because I didn’t want to wake up at 4 a.m.,” the Jalisco, Mexico, native says. “And the number one person keeping me from radio was Eddie because he thought I was going to do it for the wrong reasons: fame, fun, whatever.He knows how crazy [show business] can be. I think he was afraid for me. … Now, he’s my number one fan, and I’m his. We support each other.”
A Polytechnic University undergraduate, Shoboy started lobbying for his school in Washington, D.C., and was hooked on obtaining funds for Latinos. Inspired by the impact Piolin was having among the community through airwaves, he ditched the idea of studying politics in D.C., stayed in Los Angeles, and interned at his brother’s show while earning a master’s at Azusa Pacific University.
A half-hour radio show Sunday nights at an L.A. AM station proceeded by three years in full-time afternoon radio in San Francisco were his ticket to primetime mornings in Dallas, where he almost immediately started reaching out to the community.
Two to three days a week, Shoboy can be spotted volunteering throughout DFW schools, encouraging students to get educated. His mission to empower goes beyond moral support; the Mega Beca scholarship program he initiated will soon award five, $1,000 scholarships to Latino students who meet grade requirements and demonstrate exemplary determination in pursuing a college education.
We’re excited to see this mega-human’s next goals unfold!
Infórmate DFW: Tell us about your experience on primetime morning radio and where you get your ideas.
Edgar Sotelo: Our listeners are amazing! The way DFW has embraced us, it’s unbelievable. They’re the ones that keep me there and make the show with their crazy, hilarious stories. I’m simply a mediator. [The ideas come] from real life and our audience. I have a great team. We put in hours of brainstorm. [We mainly] ask each other, “What’s going on with your friends?” We also post questions on Facebook and see the reactions. Our topics are a reflection of people’s lives. I tell everyone I hang out with, “Unless you tell me this is off the record, it’s gonna be on the show tomorrow!” [Laughs.]
IDFW: What advice do you have for those who want a career as a radio host?
ES: Don’t get a degree in radio broadcast. If God’s given you the gift, you just have to polish it through internships and practice. Get an education in business administration, psychology or social sciences, so you learn about behavior, people, how they think. I use psychology everyday in my business.
IDFW: How likely is it to get a broadcast radio internship if that’s not what you’re studying?
ES: Very. We have a tough time getting Latino interns because they aren’t the ones at career centers asking about internships. Things aren’t going to fall in your lap. Investigate research, knock on doors at radio stations and work for free. We’re always looking for people, especially in promotions, posting banners. That’s how I started.
IDFW: Why is it so important for you to encourage education amongst Latinos?
ES: Every day we hear that Latinos are becoming the U.S. majority. Sooner or later, we’re going to become the giant. But without an education, we’re going to be the weakest giant to ever exist. I made the mistake of playing basketball in high school one year, when I was 4 feet tall [laughs], and we had a 7-foot-1-inch freshman.
The biggest guy in court, he could’ve dominated everyone; he didn’t have the power of coordination to use those tools. I don’t want Latinos to be that weak giant. And I’m not about Latinos against everyone else or some raza-power-for-life kind of guy. As Latinos, we’ve got to integrate.
IDFW: What is the major obstacle in Latinos building that strength?
ES: Ourselves. Screw discrimination and racism.
It exists for everyone. We limit ourselves believing in stereotypes. In many cases, parents come here as immigrants and only think in survival mode. Then, they get comfortable and say, “Ya, mijo, ponte a trabajar so you can help out in the household.” What parents have to realize is, if they sacrifice four more years, their child will be able to provide tenfold in the future.
Let children know they have options. My parents always told me, “Queremos que vayas al college. No se como le vas hacer, but we heard it’s good for you.” [IDFW laughs hard.] ¡Orale! They didn’t understand most of my homework or bills that arrived, but they were always asking me about my homework.
IDFW: When not working, how are you different from your radio personality?
ES: It’s funny because I meet people and they’re like, “Hey tell a joke. Make us laugh.” I’m the same person, just not a machine you put a quarter in and I’m on [like when working on radio]. I’m very chill, not the party animal that people think I am. I don’t need alcohol, drugs or women around me to have a good time. I go to church every Sunday and bible study to keep myself and remember that my identity is not what I do [for a living] because you can get up in what people say.
IDFW: Is there a goal you have yet to accomplish?
ES: My goal is to follow what God’s calling is for me, first and foremost. Radio-wise, it’s to be in other markets to grow my outreach program. I want to be heard and visit schools across the nation and create a scholarship that is sponsored by big, national companies.
IDFW: Anything else you want to share?
ES: I want to emphasize that we all represent so much more than ourselves. We have to reach our full potential in life. God’s made us limitless. Break through those limits. Break through those racisms. Don’t be a victim, be a champion. Let’s be the solution, not the problem.
An education and the power of voting are going to be the muscles to our giant.
Shoboy en la Manana on Mega 107.5 • 6 a.m.- 10 a.m.