Student radio show 'beacon of hope and knowledge'

Alex Sosa is committed to creating a space in which all students and other members of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa community can find guidance and support. The undergraduate public health student created and hosts “Real Talk,” a weekly radio show on campus radio station KTUH, which discusses public health topics ranging from social justice and the protection of natural resources to substance use disorders and sexual health education. 

Sosa’s motivation to start the show was deeply personal. 

“I was adopted as a baby, and as I grew up, I learned everything I knew about American culture from TV and radio,” he said. 

Normalizing controversial topics

His goal for the show was to help steer cultural conversations, and normalize having deep discussions about controversial topics over the Tuesday afternoon airwaves, from 3–6 p.m.

“I believe people want to have these conversations but don’t know how,” Sosa said. 

“Real Talk” has gained recognition among students and community members as a platform for discussing pressing public health issues that often go unaddressed. 

On the show, Sosa engages his audience in conversations aimed at improving the lives of society’s most vulnerable members. Through expert interviews, personal stories and evidence-based information, he seeks to educate his listeners.

Sosa is driven by a profound empathy and an understanding of the importance of access to resources. 

Helping make a difference 

He believes that if his biological mother had access to the right support and information, her life choices might have been different. This personal connection to the cause fuels his passion for public health and motivates him to make a difference in the lives of others.

“Alex’s radio show is a beacon of hope and knowledge,” said Michelle Tagorda-Kama, the academic advisor for the Office of Public Health Studies in the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health. Tagorda-Kama was recently a guest on the show to discuss professional identity and personal branding. “He connects with his audience and creates a safe, informative space for important conversations.”

In discussing substance use disorders, Sosa works to destigmatize addiction by unraveling its complexities and creating open dialogue. The show explores social justice, with a recent episode focusing on the experiences of Black students on the UH campus. Other shows have focused on sexual health, and the urgent need to break down the barriers around such stigmatized subjects.

After he graduates in spring 2024, Sosa plans to work for a nonprofit that provides resources to all members of the community. 

He said, “I want people to know there are resources, and create a space where anyone can go for assistance and guidance with the challenges they are facing.”

Story originally posted at UH News

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