Onda Latina

The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Program Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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How to Use this Website

How to Search the Collection


You can search the text of the short descriptions and long descriptions for specific words.

You can browse the collection using the theme button. There are four themes for browsing: Culture, Society, Identity and Politics. We placed each show in at least one of these categories, though the majority of the shows could fall under all four categories. After rigorous conversation, we decided that a show could only have a maximum of two major themes. For simplicity's sake, the the majority of the shows have only one theme. The browsing search will provide the larger number of shows that reflect a concern for culture.

How to Browse the Collection


You can browse the collection by host, looking at the different interviews that each host completed.

You can browse the collection by interviewee, even tracking different people across different radio shows.

How to Use this Site for Research Purposes


First, it is important to know how the Mexican American Experience collection came into being. The Onda Latina digital database is built from the 226 radio shows broadcast from the basement of the KUT radio station, close to the heart of the communications building. The producers, the hosts, and the guests were responding to events on the ground, and seeking to document, analyze and discuss The Mexican American Experience in the late 70s and early 80s. The tapes were placed in the care of the Benson Library Rare Books and Manuscipts division. There was a finding aid attached to the tapes. Unfortunately and far too often, the description of the broadcast did not come close to matching the richness of the audio and the quantity of information in each broadcast. The person who wrote the finding aid - the collection's table of contents, if you will - placed the tapes in a series, often included the name of the guests, gave the show a short title, and sometimes included the host of the Radio Show. This information was an invaluable guide to the audio collection, though much of the context and content of the show was taken for granted and not included in any description. As result, researchers would find it very difficult to identify a radio show that might be of interest. Moreover, the audio-tapes were falling apart. Each time someone listened to a broadcast at the Benson library, there was the very real possibility that this would be the last person to listen to this broadcast. This might mean that the only information left about a broadcast about the raymondville strike might be the name of the guests and the title, the Raymondville Strike.

In addition to conserving the audio tapes, making a master-recording and making the recording available in a digital format, we decided that one of the best ways to make these recordings as accessible as possible was to provide a description of the contents of each broadcast. We identified a number of keywords in each broadcast, identifying issues in the broadcast that host and interviewee might have taken for granted. Claudia Rueda, John Mckiernan-Gonzalez, Kelly Kerbow, Ella Tenbarge and Michael Heidenreich listened to the shows and completed descriptions of each show. Claudia Rueda, a historian specializing in social movements of the 1970s and 80s, completed a list of keywords and the vast majority of the descriptions of each show. John Mckiernan-Gonzalez identified additional keywords in each broadcast, seeking to build stronger connections between The Mexican American Experience and current scholarly and public discussions about the United States and Latinos in particular.

For people who are committed to understanding the sound universe that is Onda Latina, we suggest reading through the list of keywords. This will provide a sense of the richness of each broadcast.

For researchers interested in Society, Identity, Culture or Politics, we suggest using the theme search to identify shows that might be relevant to their scholarly interest.

Once you have used the short descriptions to identify an interesting show, please click the title of the show to listen to it. We suggest printing the description of the show while you listen to the show. The description will follow the course of the show, letting you know when you can be distracted and when you should be paying attention. Take notes while listening to the show. Mark down the time when you heard something of interest in the broadcast, so that other people will know where and when you found something noteworthy in the show.

We think this broadcast is invaluable for any student of the 70s, the Chicano movement, popular culture, alternative radio, and even foreign policy with Mexico. The broadcasts open themselves up for an analysis of communication patterns, in particular since women hosted the majority of the shows, and men were the majority of the interviewees. Please let us know if you have found other ways of using these broadcasts in your research.

When you cite this database, please do the following:

Use the "host name," "the program number" and "title of the show," the Onda Latina website url, and the time and date that you accessed the broadcast.

Always cite your sources!


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection