Long Foundations provide support for Universo, Spanish-language sister program to StarDate radio broadcasts

29 August 2000

AUSTIN, Texas: The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory has received a $100,000 gift from Joe R. Long and Dr. Teresa Lozano Long of Austin, through the Long Foundations. The gift will support the innovative Universo radio program, the sister program to StarDate radio.


Begun in 1995 with a grant from the National Science Foundation, Universo is a daily, two-minute Spanish-language radio program devoted to astronomy. The program is broadcast on 175 radio stations in the United States, Central America, and South America, with 3.5 million listeners each week.

Produced in the studios of KXCR-FM in El Paso, Universo is the most widely syndicated daily Spanish-language program on any subject in the United States, airing in markets that are home to 90 percent of the Spanish-speaking population in the nation. The Universo Web site is: http://universo.utexas.edu/ (StarDate radio has 5.7 million weekly listeners in the United States.)

"This generous gift from Joe and Teresa Long through the Long Foundations helps advance one of strongest goals for the observatory and The University of Texas at Austin," said Dr. Frank Bash, director of McDonald Observatory. "It allows us to reach out to young people throughout Texas and the country and to excite them about the planets, galaxies, and stars around us. The program is an excellent tool to interest young people in careers in science and technology."

Bash added that funding "from the Long Foundations continues their wonderful tradition of support for the University of Texas, the arts, and our community."

The Web site makes Spanish language educational materials available to thousands of teachers and students each year. Recent sponsors of the Web site include the American Honda Foundation; Harcourt General Corporation, based in Boston and San Antonio; National Instruments Inc. of Austin; and the American Astronomical Society.

"Universo is instrumental in improving science literacy in the Spanish-speaking population of the United States and in inspiring talented youth in this community to pursue careers in science," said Robert W. Milkey, executive officer of the American Astronomical Society. "The increasing use of minority talent will be essential in increasing the strength of the country's technical workforce for the new century."

McDonald Observatory officials said they would welcome new national sponsors for Universo or the Universo Web site and classroom materials. A national sponsor provides $180,000 and also a provides 15-second sponsorship message, which is featured on of each of the 180 programs per year.