Universo Radio Program Celebrates 15 Years

25 March 2010

AUSTIN , Texas —The science radio program Universo will celebrate its 15th anniversary of daily Spanish-language broadcasts on skywatching and astronomy on April 1.


The program includes a special focus on the contributions of Latino scientists and the skylore of Mesoamerican cultures.

Produced by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, Universo airs on about 100 stations across the United States, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador and Venezuela, reaching about 2.2 million listeners daily. Recently, the show has become more easily accessible to radio stations through free, production-quality digital downloading of programs.

“It’s hard to believe that we’ve been producing this program for 15 years,” said producer Damond Benningfield. “It’s taken a lot of work to keep it on the air this long, but I think it’s been one of the most important projects that I’ve ever worked on.”

The program is recorded at Ixtlan studios in El Paso, Texas. Teresa “Fendi” de la Cruz has hosted Universo from the beginning. The Universo production team also includes associate producer Marco Lara and audio engineer Ignacio “Nacho” Acosta.

“I really appreciate the hard work and commitment of our production team,” Benningfield said. “Their dedication has kept us going.”

In addition to radio, Universo includes a wide range of Spanish-language media. The Universo Web site provides skywatching tips, guides to the solar system and beyond, and text of the radio programs. The extensive Black Holes Encyclopedia is also available in Spanish. Universo’s Spanish-language Facebook group provides listeners an arena to discuss programs and offer feedback.

Production for Universo is funded by the Friends of McDonald Observatory and an anonymous donor, with additional support from NASA and the National Science Foundation. The program is available for sponsorship.

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Teresa "Fendi" de la Cruz is the voice of McDonald Observatory's Spanish-language radio program Universo. Credit: Damond Benningfield

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Marco Lara (left) and Iganacio "Nacho" Acosta during a recording session of McDonald Observatory's Spanish-language radio program Universo. Lara is the program's associate producer; Acosta is its audio engineer. Vocal talent Teresa "Fendi" de la Cruz can be seen in the background, inside the soundproof recording booth. Credit: Damond Benningfield

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