Rag Radio: Public Radio Legend María Martin, Founder of Latino USA

At a celebration of her 40 years in public radio, NPR’s John Burnett said that Martin "was present at the creation. She is the radio earth mother"


Thorne Dreyer’s featured guest on Rag Radio, María Emilia Martin, a pioneering public radio journalist and the founder of NPR’s Latino USA, was honored Nov. 19, 2015, at the University of Texas at Austin, for her 40 years as a mover and shaker in public radio and her notable role in training and mentoring young journalists, especially in Latin America.

Joining us in the discussion is UT-Austin professor emeritus Mercedes de Uriarte, who helped organize the event honoring Martin.

At the UT celebration, tagged “Crossing Borders and Building Bridges,” NPR’s John Burnett said of María Martin: “She was present at the creation. She is the radio earth mother.” Martin started her career at KBBF in Santa Rosa, California, the first community public radio station in the United States owned and operated by Latinos. She has developed ground-breaking programs for public radio, including NPR’s Latino USA, which began at Austin’s KUT-FM in 1992 — and landmark series like Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars, produced in Guatemala. A recipient of Fulbright and Knight Fellowships, Martin has extensive experience in Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, and other countries. She currently heads the GraciasVida Center for Media and GraciasVida Productions based in Austin, Texas and Antigua, Guatemala.

Mercedes de Uriarte, who taught at UT-Austin in journalism, Latin American studies, and gender studies, and was an assistant editor at the Los Angeles Times, is a director of the New Journalism Project and a contributing editor to The Rag Blog.

Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. The show’s engineer and co-producer is Tracey Schulz and the staff photographer is Roger Baker. The syndicated show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP in Austin, and is later rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., on Houston Pacifica’s KPFT HD-3 90.1-FM, and by KKRN, 88.5-FM in Round Mountain, CA — and is a featured podcast at VT. All Rag Radio podcasts can be found at the Internet Archive. Contact: [email protected]


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