Monday, May 22, 2000
Rick Malaspina (510) 987-0105



Audiences in New Mexico are receiving news and information in Spanish from the University of California about the Cerro Grande fire and its aftermath, including advice on managing credit after a disaster, dealing with insurance claims and helping children cope with the fire’s effects.

UC Spanish Broadcast and Media Services (SBMS) produced a package of special fire-related material and provided it by CD and e-mail -- at no cost and at the request of media outlets -- to 11 radio stations, two TV stations and three newspapers in Albuquerque, Belen, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Espanola, Taos and Las Vegas. The material is also posted in Spanish on the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Road to Recovery website at:

Working from SMBS offices at UC Riverside, Program Manager Myriam Grajales-Hall and reporter Alberto Hauffen swung into action during the fire, the largest and most destructive in New Mexico history, in support of UC efforts to aid in the relief and recovery effort.

Grajales-Hall had been to New Mexico in early February to offer the Spanish-language service to media outlets in connection with UC’s management of the Los Alamos laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. It marked the first direct expansion of SMBS, which serves more than 200 Spanish-language and bilingual print and broadcast outlets in California, including broadcast networks with affiliate stations in other states and Puerto Rico. SBMS is offered free as a public service to any bona fide media organization.

A number of New Mexico outlets asked to receive SMBS programming and news releases after the initial visit. They include radio stations KSWV in Santa Fe, KDCE in Espanola, and KRSN in Los Alamos; Albuquerque TV station KLUZ, Channel 41; El Hispano, a weekly newspaper based in Albuquerque; and the Albuquerque Journal North and the Santa Fe New Mexican, both major daily newspapers that carry weekly sections in Spanish.

George Gonzalez, owner and manager of KSWV radio in Santa Fe, said of SBMS, "This approach is a great way to reach the Hispanic community that is in dire need of this type of information."

For Los Alamos radio station KRSN, the UC service was a first-time entry into Spanish-language programming. "This is an opportunity to expand our services to our many bilingual and Hispanic listeners," said Bob Clark, KRSN sales and marketing manager.

In response to the Cerro Grande fire, Grajales-Hall and Hauffen worked in cooperation with the Los Alamos laboratory’s Community Relations Office and the UC Northern New Mexico Office. Grajales-Hall and Hauffen prepared a CD for broadcast use with 14 segments – four one-minute news segments and 10 public service announcements. For the print media, they prepared an additional 10 news releases, in some cases adapting material produced in response to California earthquake and fire disasters in recent years.

The SBMS material on the Cerro Grande fire included interviews in Spanish with Floyd Archuleta, an Espanola city council member. These addressed damage caused by the fire, laboratory safety, and actions by UC, the laboratory and other organizations to help fire victims.

Other news releases and the public service announcements, which pertain to fire and disasters in general, provided information on handling insurance claims, salvaging valuables, selecting a contractor, guarding against scams, replacing burned currency, cleaning up after a fire, managing credit after a disaster, and helping children cope with fire and its effects.

The SBMS is a unit of UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The service typically prepares and issues research-based information and public outreach findings of interest to Spanish-speaking audiences. The material includes news articles, public service messages, news tips and feature stories on issues such as health, family well being, nutrition and food safety, parenting, immigration, community and youth development, disaster preparedness and response, and science and technology.

# # #


  • For more information about the UC Spanish Broadcast Media Services, Myriam Grajales-Hall can be reached at (909) 787-4397 and
  • Contributions to The UC Northern New Mexico Fire Relief Fund should be directed to Los Alamos National Bank, PO Box 60, Los Alamos, NM 87544, (505) 988-3200; account number 96358501