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Apr 10 2015


Across the Americas

Radio Ambulante is an award-winning podcast and audio series co-founded by novelist Daniel Alarcón in 2012. Described by many commentators as a Spanish-language This American Life, Radio Ambulante publishes stories from “everywhere Spanish is spoken,” reaching as many as 60,000 listeners worldwide per episode. They feature “uniquely Latin American stories,” from a Mexican father’s battle to regain custody over his U.S.-born children, to a community in Colombia that provides full burials for anonymous corpses it pulls from its river’s shores, to the personal reflections of the late President Hugo Chávez’s interpreter. As the only Spanish-language program of its kind, Radio Ambulante won the Gabriel García Márquez Journalism Prize for innovation in September 2014.

Though currently run by a small and creative staff working around the clock with up-and-coming producers from around Latin America, Radio Ambulante was co-founded by Alarcón and executive director Carolina Guerrero. Alarcón is a writer across genres, themes, and borders, with work published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Etiqueta Negra, and anthologized in “The Best American Non-Required Reading” in 2004 and 2005. He is author of “At Night We Walk in Circles” (2013) and “Lost City Radio” (2006).

“We’re entering a space of culture production that no one’s using,” the author told the NY Daily News. “There’s no one out there doing what we propose to do on a Latin American scale.” Along with a team of journalists, Alarcón is collecting human-interest stories that speak to the Latin-American experience. These tales won’t be the kind you see on the nightly news, however, they’ll be much more personal.

Alarcón and his crew are so committed to searching out stories that might otherwise remain untold that even their name reflects that mission. “Radio Ambulante” is a nod to mobile, resourceful street vendors — like the women who hawk churros in the subway or roses from a shopping cart along Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights — whom Alarcón called “the eyes and ears of the community.”

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