‘Radio Ambulante’ Gets NPR Distribution, Becomes the Network’s First Spanish-Language Podcast

Lead Photo: Photo: Hugo Rojo for NPR
Photo: Hugo Rojo for NPR
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The excellent independent Spanish-language podcast Radio Ambulante just got a major signal boost. NPR announced today that it will distribute, market and promote the award-winning show, helping the podcast’s deep-dive look into Latin American life reach a much wider audience.

Helmed by husband and wife duo – Peruvian novelist Daniel Alarcón and Colombian media entrepreneur Carolina Guerrero – Radio Ambulante was inspired by the desire to capture the unique human experiences of Spanish speakers as told in their own language, with their specific accents, slang, and idiosyncrasies. Featuring stories that range from political to humorous to dramatic, the scope of Radio Ambulante‘s long-form narrative audio journalism is wide: from the personal – like how an undocumented immigrant became a key behind-the-scenes figure for MTV’s ‘Pimp My Ride’ – to underreported aspects of Latin America’s history  – like exploring Los Frikis, the Cuban punk rockers who deliberately injected themselves with HIV in the 80s as a political protest.

Beyond growing their audience, the partnership will allow Radio Ambulante to team up with journalists throughout the NPR ecosystem in order to tackle bigger stories. Current reports that an upcoming episode will feature NPR Code Switch reporter Adrian Florido reflecting on his coverage of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, for example. Meanwhile for NPR, Radio Ambulante will provide an entry to a large, underserved audience of Spanish speakers currently residing in the US.

“There are more than 50 million Spanish speakers living in the US, and we too are part of the ‘public’ in ‘public radio’,” Daniel Alarcón said in a statement. “It’s exciting to be part of NPR, helping it sound a little bit more like America. NPR shares our journalistic values, our commitment to good storytelling, and our desire to innovate. We couldn’t be happier, or prouder, to join forces.”

We’ve been rooting for Radio Ambulante since 2012, when we were blogging to ask our readers to donate to the Kickstarter that helped get the project off the ground. It’s great to see how far they’ve come.  If you’re a fan of narrative, story-based radio podcasts like This American Life, make sure you’ve got Radio Ambulante on your radar.