Farewell Chata

Posted on Dec 28, 2013

Luis Medina with Chata Guitierrez (RIP) and Emilio Echevarria.

Luis with Chata Guitierrez (RIP) and Emilio Echevarria.

Chata Gutierrez, a mainstay in the San Francisco Bay Area radio scene for four decades, passed away on December 17 after a long battle with liver cancer.  She was 60.  Blessed with a great voice, smooth delivery and impeccable musical taste, Chata was a natural for radio.  She started back in KPFA under the guiding hand of radio producer Emiliano Echeverria back in 1972.   She hosted programs at KPFA and KPOO from 1972 to 1979.   I have known Chata since we were classmates in high school and actually worked together for a brief stint at KPFA back in 1976.   We were friends, colleagues and rivals but always had mutual respect for each other and the music.  She produced her long running Saturday salsa music program later known as “Con Clave” for 33 years at community radio station KPOO.  Her program was essential listening for Latin music fanatics and Salsa lovers.  She was a staunch advocate for Salsa who was awarded the Tom Donahue award in the late 1980’s.  She was loved by her radio public and the Mission community in SF that supported her but was also a fierce competitor and brutally frank in her opinions about music and people.  She kept hosting her popular program despite her up and down days almost up to the time of her death with the help of radio dj Jose Ruiz.  She will sorely be missed.  There will be a  wake at Driscoll’s Mortuary from 2 to 6 pm and a memorial concert immediately following at Roccapulco to honor her memory this Sunday, December 29th in San Francisco.