Public Media Honors Hispanic Heritage Month

September 18, 2018

Personal Statement

(In the CPB-supported film 'Personal Statement,' peer counselor Karoline Jimenez tracks down a student so he can take the SAT. Photo by Juliane Dressner)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Congress enacting National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 to mark the history, challenges and contributions of Hispanic Americans in the United States. And public media is spotlighting the Latin American experience and culture on the air and online throughout September and October.

At the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts’ Noche de Gala, held recently in Washington, D.C., the Corporation for Public Broadcasting President and CEO Pat Harrison presented a preview of the upcoming documentary Personal Statement, about three young people who become peer counselors to help their classmates and themselves get to college.  Filmmaker Juliane Dressner and Karoline Jimenez, one of the peer advisors featured in the film, shared the inspiring story of these Brooklyn students overcoming extraordinary obstacles and making a difference. Jimenez spoke about the importance of the film providing an example for students to know they are not alone and thanked public media for the opportunity, saying, “Being able to tell your story through public media is a powerful thing.” Funded by CPB through the American Graduate Initiative and Latino Public Broadcasting, the film airs on WORLD Channel America ReFramed and on PBS stations on October 23.

“Our support for Latino Public Broadcasting and other independent producers ensures we follow through on our belief that everyone’s story is worth telling,” Harrison said. 

Throughout the month, numerous public media series will highlight Latin heritage, including PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow,” which broadcasts an episode of Latin art and antiques, and the documentary series “Breaking Big,” which features San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. In addition, the 2018 Hispanic Heritage Awards, featuring performances and appearances by Fonseca, José Feliciano, Fat Joe, Giselle Blondet and Grandmaster Caz, airs nationally on PBS on September 28.

They join ongoing public media programming focused on Hispanic news, history and culture, such as the Latin public radio network Radio Bilingue; NPR radio programs/podcasts Latino USA, Alt.Latino and Spanish language podcast Radio Ambulante; WXPN’s biweekly World Café series Latin Roots, PBS cooking show Pati’s Mexican Table and Tri State Public Radio’s podcast ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest?, which launched through the PRX Project Catapult podcasting boot camp with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The NPR One app is highlighting NPR editors' favorite stories about Hispanic culture, art and personalities. 

Hispanic Heritage Month programs and special highlights are also available online from PBS and WORLD channel, a 24/7 multicast channel featuring documentaries, science and news programming available through public television stations in most of the country. WORLD channel is airing a total of 46 Hispanic Heritage Month programs, including rebroadcasts of the CPB-supported “Latin Music USA” and “The Latino Americans.” The CPB-supported “Willie Velasquez: Your Voice is Your Vote” is also airing through many local PBS stations across the country.

WORLD channel has developed a Hispanic Heritage Month Social Activity Toolkit, to engage families and communities in artistic expression, historical reflection and sharing examples of the contributions of Hispanic people and communities. Activities like mapping family trees, sharing inspirational stories and family Throwback Thursday photos, and creating soundtracks are some of the ways audiences are invited to participate under the #WORLDxHHM hashtag.

Among the programs airing on public media and streaming online (check local listings):

Ángel Botello Bronze Sculpture, ca. 1980 | Celebrating Latino Heritage | Antiques Roadshow

“Antiques Roadshow”: Appraisers spotlight items with connections to Latin American history and culture, including a treasure with an updated appraisal of up to $2.2 million, making it the highest-valued item in the “Roadshow” archive, at 8 pm ET on September 17 on PBS.

“Personal Statement”: This documentary, funded by CPB through the American Graduate initiative and Latino Public Broadcasting, follows three Brooklyn teens who become peer college counselors to help their peers and themselves get to college. It premieres at 8 pm on October 23 on “America ReFramed” on WORLD channel.

"Music from Conciertos de la Villa de Santo Domingo": This one-hour radio broadcast offered to public radio stations by PRX offers music and history from a music festival in the Colonial City of the Dominican Republic. Stories from the arrival of Columbus on the island of Hispaniola to the sacking of the city by Sir Francis Drake describe the founding and rich history of the first European City in the New World. 

“Nuevofest 2018”: This concert, recorded at World Café Live in Philadelphia July 15, streams  on demand on NPR Music and VuHaus

VuHaus: The public radio music discovery service will feature Hispanic artists for its Song of the Day feature, including Como Las Movies, a synth/Cumbia band from Austin, on September 20. 

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz on Breaking Big

“Breaking Big”: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who fought for relief aid after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico last year, was profiled on this CPB-supported biopic series on September 14 on PBS; the program is now streaming on

Doc World | Los Comandos | WORLD channel

“Los Comandos” and “Towards the North”: These documentary shorts, about volunteer paramedics fighting gang violence in El Salvador and family of asylum seekers traversing Mexico, are airing as part of the Humanity on the Move project that premieres on “Doc World” on WORLD channel. They are being rebroadcast September 19 on WORLD channel and streaming on