In 2023 Latino USA celebrates 30 years of being on the air! Over the last three decades, we have covered a diverse range of topics that are of concern to our communities. So to honor our past work, we decided to go back to the archives and hundreds of hours of tape to bring you the voices of some of the most influential Latinos and Latinas in the last three decades. Here’s the rundown of the special Latino USA 30th anniversary episodes we have aired so far:
- 30 Años: An Oral History of Latino USA — On May 5, 1993, the first episode of Latino USA aired on more than 50 public radio stations across the U.S. Thirty years later, three former Latino USA staff joined Maria Hinojosa and went behind the scenes to reflect on what it took to keep the show running over three decades.
- Creating the Sound of Latino USA — How do you capture the sound of Latino USA? It’s a tall order, and Latino USA has cycled through quite a few theme songs in its 30 years. In this episode, musical artist Xenia Rubinos opened up about her process of creating the Latino USA theme song, and all of the artistic and personal influences that went into it.
- Portrait Of: Linda Ronstadt — In this episode, we caught up with music legend, Linda Ronstadt, known primarily as the “First Lady of Rock.” Now, at 76 years old, Linda returned to Latino USA —after 23 years— and opened up about her memories growing up in Tucson, Arizona, reckoning with her family history and her legacy.
- ‘I Want to Outlive AIDS’ — We embarked on a journey to find out how Latino USA covered the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. After reviewing archival clips from the past three decades, we found a woman at the center of the fight against stigma in the 1990s: Ilka Tanya Payán. We delved into her life and activism, and the wider reality of how HIV-positive women’s medical needs were largely unattended at the height of the epidemic. Today, Puerto Rican activist Aracelis Quiñones carries Ilka’s legacy and advises her community on the challenges of aging with HIV.
- Hector Galán: A Life Documenting Marginalized Stories — Maria Hinojosa caught up with pioneering filmmaker Hector Galán, who for over 40 years has been documenting our Latino communities. Hector shared how he got his start as a cameraman at a local TV station in West Texas in the 1970s and how the Chicano Movement gave him a sense of identity and purpose that has stayed with him throughout all these years. After a long career making documentaries, Hector looked back at his legacy and the projects he still wants to pursue.
- Belonging, Recruitment, and Remembrance — Producer Reynaldo Leaños Jr. traveled to Laredo, Texas on the U.S.-Mexico border to bring us the story of Lance Corporal David Lee Espinoza, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2021 during the U.S. withdrawal from the country. He met with those closest to David to help tell the story of who David was, as well as explored how the military has historically, and continues, to seek Latinos and Latinas to fill its ranks.
Listen to all Latino USA 30th anniversary episodes here.