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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience 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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Culture, Property And Power: The Effects Of Chicano Exclusion On American Cultural Production
Program #

Social Issues
Alejandro Saenz
Jorge Reina Schement
Jun 2, 1977

Culture, Property and Power: The effects of Chicano exclusion on American cultural production

In this interview, guest Dr. Jorge Reina Schement, assistant professor of Radio, Television and Film, discusses Chicano access to the media, the lack of Spanish language media, and the media’s portrayal of Chicanos. Dr. Schement explains that discrimination within the Federal Communications Commission might account for some of the lack of Spanish language media, but some of it may be due to the general invisibility of Chicanos in mainstream society and a widespread Spanish illiteracy. He explains that local stations in Texas tend to play content and programming produced in Mexico City and the rest of Latin America. This displaces local musicians and journalists, perhaps because of the difficult access Chicano artists have to recording studies, a bias against the aesthetics of Tex-Mex and Spanglish and general labor market discrimination in the United States. Consequently, Chicanos who listen to Spanish language media may know more about what is happening in Latin America than in their own communities. Chicano musicians also have a harder time getting on the air because they do not have access to the studios and equipment that produce the refined sounds radio stations and audiences want to hear.

The issue of access is one that Reina Schement returns to several times during the interview. He says that San Antonio, which has one of the largest Spanish speaking populations in the country, only has three radio stations and one television station that broadcasts in Spanish, whereas there are 21 radio and four television stations in English. Across the Southwest, there are only 41 Spanish-language radio stations and only six are Chicano owned. He believes that employing more Chicanos in the media may alleviate the problem of access, but notes that they will still not control the information distributed, which is in the hands of Anglo owners. The key to changing content and programming may lie in a vocal and organized local Chicano community. His own research seeks to come up with policy recommendations for the FCC to understand how Chicano owned stations may serve the community and if it makes a difference to television programming if ownership is local or not. Reina Schement also discusses the portrayal of Chicanos in the media and whether the media shapes or follows the general political situation of minorities in the United States.


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

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