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Talking Up Soccer, Spanish Rock

Ashburn resident hosts cable radio show on soccer and Spanish rock in Merrifield.

It's a Saturday morning, but Pedro Arellano still looks forward to the commute from his home in Ashburn to the WRLD studio in Merrifield. For Arellano, Saturdays are the days when he dons the radio-producer hat and plays in front of a live audience songs from his favorite bands Soda Stereo and Caifanes. He also reports on the latest news and scores of some of his favorite soccer teams, including the Chivas of the Mexican League, the Boca Juniors from Argentina and England's Liverpool team.

Stereo Gol, a show on WRLD Cable Radio on Cox Cable, fills a void in the Washington area, with its Spanish rock play list and news about soccer around the world. Created by Arellano, the show, which had its first airing on May 10, combines two of Arellano's passions: soccer and Spanish rock.

"It's the outlet I was looking for, really," said Arellano, a former high-school newspaper columnist now working for a software company.

Arellano learned about hosting his own show while flipping through channels one day when he still lived in Fairfax. A notice on the WEBR cable radio channel about creating a show intrigued him, so he signed up for the training course. His show is the only Spanish-language show on the WEBR and WRLD rosters.

"It just sparked my curiosity," Arellano said.

Every week, Arellano makes his play list, picking Spanish rock songs mostly from the late 1980s, early 1990s. Besides the Argentinean band Soda Stereo and the Mexican band Caifanes, he likes playing songs by the bands Kinky and Zurdok.

Between songs, he talks about soccer events and games from around the world. Occasionally he'll invite guests to provide commentary on the games, similar to what occurs when he and his friends get together to watch games in Arellano's living room. He may be rooting for England's Manchester United soccer team, Spain's Barcelona or Real Madrid teams or the Tigres team from Guadalajara, Mexico, while his friends may be supporting their opponents.

He discovered that even during off-season, tournaments are taking place in South America, Latin America or Europe. If soccer news is light that week, Arellano will comb through the Internet looking for news on Spanish rock figures.

"I didn't think you'd find this freedom to produce a show anywhere else," Arellano said.

At first, feedback came from friends and co-workers, but other people starting calling him at the station as well. His first phone call was from a Colombian man who wanted to hear more news on soccer in South America. When the station broadcast was put onto the Internet, he got an e-mail from a listener in Mexico City, congratulating him on the show.

"The message there is, you never know who is listening to you," Arellano said.

Arellano's friends say his show provides area listeners with hard-to-find music and news.

"In this area, there's no other way you can hear that kind of music" or news about Latin and South American soccer, said Omar Garcia of Herndon, who has been on Arellano's show several times to talk about soccer.

Fellow friend Jaime Perez of Herndon agreed.

"He picks a lot of good music that I like and my wife likes," said Perez, who has also appeared on Arellano's show. "There is a lack of exposure to rock in Spanish and to soccer. Not only here, but in the U.S. in general."

Arellano plans to continue airing the show throughout the winter. Those without Cox Cable can listen to the program, conducted in Spanish, at www.geocities.com/stereogol.

"I look forward to Saturday the whole week," Arellano said.