Hector Lozano: The voice for Univision Chicago Sports

Univision Chicago sports anchor Hector Lozano says even after celebrating his 24th year on the air he’s not ready to retire yet. As the longest-tenured on-air talent on Spanish newscasts in Chicago, Lozano says he is enjoying his profession more as time goes on.

“From the first moment in front of a mic, I knew,” said Lozano of his career. He started with Univision Chicago (WGBO Channel 66) in 1995, but his career in news media spans back to the early 1990s.”

The Guanajuato native knew as a teenager that he wanted to be in front of a microphone.

“I played soccer all my life,” said Lozano. “But I became involved in my high school’s broadcasting classes after suffering an injury.”

That unexpected turn of events turned into a full-time passion: Lozano would dedicate the rest of his high school years to broadcasting, and would continue to hone his skills at the Little Village Boys & Girls Club even after graduation. Despite receiving offers to play college soccer, Lozano decided to give up a promising soccer career and attend Columbia College for its radio and television program.

Attending Columbia College was not easy, Lozano said. “I had to take time off after high school to work and pay for Columbia,” said Lozano. “I worked the graveyard shift at a color matching plant and made good money, but between that full-time job and my work at the Boys & Girls Club, I was only getting four hours of sleep a day.”

That hard-working attitude is something that continues to this day, says Ericka Pino, meteorologist at Univision Chicago and a colleague of Lozano.

“As we speak, he has his headphones on and is listening to a baseball game while writing his script for tonight,” Pino said. “He’s also hitting down schedules for a different sport that he must tune into, watch and report on.”

His work at Columbia and at the Boys & Girls Club grabbed the attention of higher-ups at the now defunct La Tremenda 1200 AM, where Lozano received part-time broadcasting offers that he eagerly accepted. In 1991, with only a few semesters left to graduate, Lozano left Columbia College to accept a full-time position at La Tremenda.

“I’m doing what I went to school for,” he said. “It wasn’t a hard decision to make.” A quickly growing Spanish-speaking community in the 1990s created a need for a 24-hour Spanish station in Chicago.

Univision held auditions in 1994 for its on-air news team. With his experience as a show host and play-by- play announcer at La Tremenda, Lozano prepared as seasoned an audition as there could be.

“My first day was Dec. 4, 1994,” said Lozano. “I was there for our first broadcast on Jan. 1, 1995. The rest is history.”

Lots of faces have come and gone at Univision Chicago since that day. Lozano became the longest-tenured on- air talent at Univision Chicago earlier this year when Jorge Barbosa, the lead anchor at the station, retired after being at the station since the first day. That fact doesn’t seem to faze Lozano.

“I think I have 10 more years left, at least,” said Lozano. “I have a six-year-old that I want to put through college before I consider retiring.”

Despite holding the same position at Univision Chicago for 23 years, Lozano says he keeps it fresh with new projects, such as being the Spanish play-by-play announcer for Chicago Fire soccer and Chicago Bears football, and as the color analyst for Chicago Cubs baseball.

“This week is a seven-day week for me,” he said. “I have five days of newscasts, the Fire on Saturday, and Bears on Sunday. But I love it. I love what Ido.”

Lozano’s professionalism and love of his craft sets him apart, says Raquel Ortiz, Lozano’s partner on Chicago Fire broadcasts.

“He’s not only knowledgeable, he also has the ability to inform while truly engaging the audience,” Ortiz said. “This being the second season that I get to work with him, I can say that working with him is a pleasure and privilege. His experience is put at our disposal and he is always looking for ways to remain relevant in an ever-changing industry.”

Pino can confirm Lozano’s love for his craft.

“He is fun,” Pino said. “He will sing along if I start a song during a commercial break,” Overall, he’s a great guy’s guy.”

Lozano does not think remaining relevant in this industry is hard.

“I feel lucky to be where I am,” said Lozano. “You know the expression, ‘if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?’ That’s how I’ve felt all this time.”