Palmview — A legendary Rio Grande Valley broadcaster said goodbye to his fans Sunday night.
Rogelio Botello Rios, whose five-decade career in television and radio broadcasting spanned the development of local Spanish-language broadcasting, was honored in a ceremony Sunday night at Greg’s Ballroom.
He officially stepped down from his position as program director at Border Media Partners for La Lupe radio Dec. 31.
Sunday, he delivered a passionate speech after several co-workers and old friends roasted and toasted him.
The consummate broadcaster, Rios, 65, rose to a harrowing crescendo of effusive thanks to all those who supported him in a career that started in Northern Mexico and rarely took him outside the Valley.
“It wasn’t because of this face,” Rios said about his years on the airwaves. It was because of undying passion and sincerity to the audience, he said.
Throughout his career, Rios had an unyielding loyalty to the Valley, turning down all offers in different markets. He said one of the highlights of his career was covering weekend Houston Astros games in the 1970s.
“I love the Rio Grande Valley,” Rios said in an interview before his speech that was often interrupted by fans wanting to say goodbye. “This is my town, this is my place. I want to die here.”
Rios worked for three different media groups in the Valley, starting at KGBT when the station was just 6 months old. It was the first 24-hour Spanish language channel in the Valley, Rios said.
He was also there when BMP emerged in 2002, working behind the scenes and playing regional Mexican oldies on air.
“He really knows this business,” said Jeff Hinson, president and CEO of BMP. “We’ll miss him a lot.”
Sunday night, Rios gathered with friends and the top brass of BMP for the ceremony and a night of tejano music. He was in a thoughtful mood just before his speech as he contemplated the next step in his life.
“It’s time for my family,” Rios said.
Sean Gaffney covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at (956) 683-4434.