A Martínez: Sports activities-radio man to NPR Morning Version co-host

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Starting in early July, public radio host A Martínez must regulate his alarm clock. On Thursday, Nationwide Public Radio introduced that Martínez, the voice of Pasadena-based NPR affiliate KPCC’s every day information journal “Take Two,” will be a part of the community’s flagship present “Morning Version” as a West Coast anchor.

“I’ll must rise up at 11 p.m. to get to Culver Metropolis by midnight,” Martínez mentioned with a nervous chortle, guessing that bedtime will seemingly be about 4 p.m.

Martínez, whose delivery title is George however who has lengthy passed by A on the air, will be a part of co-anchors Steve Inskeep, Rachel Martin and Noel King, and fills a emptiness left by anchor David Greene’s departure final yr.

In an announcement accompanying the announcement, Sarah Gilbert, NPR’s vice chairman for information programming, mentioned the community was “delighted” so as to add Martínez, 50, to the workforce. “He brings a exceptional file of journalism and empathy that enables him to actually join with audiences and tales,” she mentioned, including that his “intelligence, a humorousness and a deep curiosity … will match proper in with the present’s dedication to telling distinctive tales that make a distinction to our understanding of the world.”

NPR’s morning rush-hour information present, which is carried by 835 public radio stations nationwide, has lengthy been the go-to supply for tens of millions of Southern California commuters tethered to their FM radio dials. Nonetheless, the evolution of satellite tv for pc know-how, which permits for full on-line connectivity, has upended the medium during the last decade. The place as soon as listeners looking for in-depth drive-time information protection had few choices on the radio dial, on-demand every day podcasts, akin to The Occasions’ newly launched present “The Occasions” and the New York Occasions’ well-liked new roundup “The Day by day,” now attain commuters with the contact of a dashboard display screen.

As a approach to fight these incursions, the Morning Version workforce additionally produces the podcast “Up First,” a preferred digest model of the present that includes, within the phrases of NPR, “the highest three tales listeners want to begin their day.”

Martínez’s ascent in public radio received off to a rocky begin. A longtime sports-talk radio character who earned his chops on ESPN Radio as host of 710 KSPN-AM‘s “Within the Zone,” he had by no means listened to public radio when he was employed at KPCC in 2012 to co-host an expanded model of public radio stalwart Madeleine Model’s well-liked morning present.

Introduced on as a part of a $6-million grant awarded by the Company for Public Broadcasting to Southern California Public Radio, Martínez’s hiring was a part of One Nation Media Undertaking, a top-down initiative to diversify KPCC’s newsroom workers, produce multicultural programming and construct bridges into the area’s Latino group. He was one in every of 11 new hires made doable by the grant. One results of that effort was “Model & Martínez,” a two-hour L.A.-focused every day present launched in 2012 that instantly adopted “Morning Version.”

“That didn’t go properly,” Martínez mentioned of the present, which lasted a mere 4 weeks earlier than Model introduced her resignation. Describing himself as “a bit of naive” on the time, he mentioned he didn’t notice what he was strolling into. “I simply noticed it as a job that was posted and I utilized for it they usually employed me. I didn’t notice that it was half of a bigger grant.”

He added, “If the parameters of that initiative hadn’t been in place, they wouldn’t have been searching for somebody with my form of Spanish final title. There’s no beating round that bush. It was accomplished to diversify the newsroom, with a extra native radio purpose of increasing the Latino viewers.”

After the departure of Model, who now hosts the favored “Press Play With Madeleine Model” on cross-town competitor KCRW-FM, Martínez hosted KPCC’s “Take Two” with Alex Cohen for 5 years. With Cohen’s departure for Spectrum Information 1, Martinez turned the solo anchor of the present, which airs weekday afternoons on KPCC.

Along with the unforeseeable drama, Martinez mentioned that he entered public radio with an Achilles’ heel distinctive to the community’s bookish listenership: I all the time joke that I used to be the final doable alternative — a lifetime sports-radio man — to leap into public radio. The blowback was very intense from radio listeners about somebody like me being on these airwaves.”

Martínez begins his new job on July 6, however the date of his on-air debut as a “Morning Version” anchor has but to be finalized.

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