Caroline Benavides says, "It's in my blood and I love it. I love it and I enjoy making the day just a little bit brighter for our listeners. It's a great career. I wanted to be a lawyer or doctor when I was growing up. I wanted to be a teacher, astronaut so many things I wanted to be but you know, God opened the door and said this is where you need to be and what you need to do."
Everyday when Sweet Caroline gets out of bed she's able to come to a job she loves and every morning she begins here day with a warm welcome for the people who love her dearly.
Caroline says to her listeners, "Felizidades! Somos Radio Allegria, la preferida...oooui." That's her way of wishing everyone a wonderful day and thanks for listening.
Growing up, Caroline wasn't able to speak Spanish but to hear her now, you wouldn't believe it. She says if it hadn't been for one special person in her life, she probably never would have learned to speak the language and certainly she would have never been on the radio.
"My Uncle Greg is the one that got me started, we began by just doing dedications. He used to do programs on Saturday in Spanish. He's been on the radio forever and he would come to me and days, Caroline come out, I want you to help me. I couldn't speak too much Spanish, basically all English and I started learning by saying un saludo para Juan de parte do Maria...just simple, simple things and I started getting better and improving and as I progressed I eventually got my own program," says Benavides.
And the one program that's a favorite among both her English and Spanish speaking followers is La Pulga...or Trade Radio.
Benavides says, "It's the opportunity for people to announce garage sales, sell cars, sell furniture, look for furniture, look for apartments...just what ever, what ever that's needed or you want to buy, sell, trade...this is the program and it's so popular and a lot of people are telling me that one hour's not enough."
People have the opportunity to buy things the family needs.
"They said they're selling a 96 model car. They're asking 1500. They can let it go in payments. They're wanting to by a baby play pen, something in good condition, says Benavides.
And then there are those unusual items like a medium size sheep that's for sell. While most people aren't in the market for farm animals, many call Caroline looking to buy or sell those much needed household items.
Sweet Caroline announces, "she's got a pair of living room tables for sale those little end tables $15.00 for both. She's got a leave blower, it's a Black & Decker leaf blower for $20.00
In Spanish and English, Caroline let's viewers know that someone out there is selling a tree and item after item, she passes along the information and has fun while she's doing it and one can easily see and hear that there's something for everybody.
For Caroline, the program brings back fond memories of when she and her grandfather listened to a similar program.
"He would love to call and my job was getting the line, dialing the numbers and once we got on the line, he would talk," Caroline recalls.
As the years have passed, Sweet Caroline's used her zest for life and sense of humor to endear herself to her mostly Spanish speaking audience and there's no question she won't answer, if asked.
Brenda Sims asks, "Have you always been in good health?"
Benavides answers, "No not really, I've always been overwight, I've always been a chubby person, but I'm a happy person. You know, I don't know why I go to the doctor sometimes because he tells me, you need to lose weight, you need to lose weight. I said well I know that, but what else? Other than that, I'm pretty healthy. I don't drink, smoke do drugs...nothing. I like to eat. Let me eat! You know it just upsets me, You know I worked all day and I'm gonna come home and they're going to give me a salad and they're eating tacos...nooo. Let me eat!"
Another thing Sims was curious about is, do DJs sing and dance while they work?
"Oh, all the time, all of us. I thnk you have to be a little crazy and happy of heart when you hear that song you just wanna start...like this one here, you feel it," answers Benavides
Well besides sweet, happy is the word that best describes this woman who reigns on the radio.
Benavides says, "I love this job because I feel that I can help my race, my culture. I love it because I get so much good feedback from the people from the listeners, They make me feel like a part of their family and I love music, I love music. Music is such a part of our life and to be able to be on the radio, play music and play songs that meant things that impact pepole, there's just no words t express how wonderful that feels. I just love love what I'm doing. A day does not go by that I don't thankd the good Lord for all my blessings, it's just awesome."
And the uncle that Sweet Caroline owes so much to is Greg Rodriguez a former member of the Bryan City Council who by the way is also still on the radio.
As for her parents, you probably know them too...they own Casa Rodriguez in downtown Bryan.