Monday, September 28, 2009

Former KTRK 13 anchor Minerva Perez talks to Mike McGuff about new show, U2

Minerva Pérez is a familiar face to television viewers in places like Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio and Austin among others. She is an award winning journalist who was the first Latina News Anchor at KTRK TV/ABC 13 in Houston where she spent 15 and half years.

Now she is host of Latina Voices: Smart Talk on Houston PBS and Owner/President of Minerva Pérez Media, LLC, a Public Relations/Communications firm. Pérez was nice enough to conduct an interview with me for about the show and her appearance on a U2 song!

Mike McGuff: Tell us about Latina Voices? Why do you think this show needed to be on the air?

Minerva Pérez: Latina Voices: Smart Talk is a talk show with a Latina perspective and the first of its kind in the country - Latinas talking about important issues in English. I created it with the help of Texas Super Lawyer Sofia Adrogue and PBS Senior Producer and Host of PBS' Living Smart, Patricia Gras. We lend voice to a segment of our community that is not being addressed. There was no other Latina voice anywhere reacting to what's happening around us. Did you see a lot of Latinas being asked what they thought about Vote 08? Obama? McCain? CNN and most networks did a poor job of including the Latino voice during the elections. Also, where are the Latina voices on National TV Talk shows? Until very recently, there was only Elizabeth Vargas, who I happened to know during my Phoenix reporting days. We were both on the street covering the impeachment of Governor Evan Mecham back in the mid 80's. When Latinos are fast becoming the majority minority, and the predominant ethnic group in most major cities these days, the Latina voice is missing in the national discourse. That is why I created Latina Voices: Smart Talk.

MM: What kind of topics do you cover?

MP: About our topics: we cover the gamut. All topics are important to the Latino/a but nobody is asking them what they think of important issues. So we covered the historic Presidential Inauguration, Health Care, the Latino Vote, Obama, Women's Wellness, Global Warming, Immigration, Texas Lady Pioneers, Financial Strategies, Celebrities, everything that most Americans enjoy or worry about. Latinos are no different when it comes to these topics. We ask the smart questions nobody else is asking.

Again, I think this show needed to be on the air for the following reasons: the lack of a Latina voice on TV; It is serving an underserved target market. And HoustonPBS thought so too. They picked us up in January with plans to roll out nationally.

MM: Tell me about some of your favorite guests.

MP: Favorite guests? Former Houston Astros, Jeff Bagwell, who is one of the most 'down-home' guys in the world. Good heart too. His philanthropy is amazing. He was one our first guests. Also, Washington, D.C. based author Tom Finn, author of "Are You Clueless?" for his vision about tolerance.

MM: What's next for the show?

MP: One of our next guests includes the Vice President of Guatemala, Dr. Rafael Espada.

MM: Off topic, but when we worked together at KTRK, I figured out your anchoring work at KTLA in Los Angeles was sampled in the U2 song Desire (Hollywood Remix). So how is Bono and have you seen him lately?

MP: About the U2-Bono connection and since you asked... I worked in Los Angeles before moving to Houston. Apparently, when U2 was laying down tracks in a Hollywood Recording studio for one of their 80's albums, and unbeknownst to me, they lifted my voice from one of my newscasts and included it on their "Desire-Hollywood remix." Not being a U2 fan, I didn't know about it. Someone in the KTLA control room told me they heard my voice on a Bono album. I actually don't remember who told me. Regardless, it's my voice on the Desire track and that's my other claim to fame...even though it's just a few seconds reading about another L-A crime story..."shot him in the shoulder."

While in LA I met a lot of stars: Jane Seymour, Carol Burnett, Edward James Olmos, Andy Garcia, Jimmy Smits, Bob Hope (opened the door for me at Stuart Andersen Steak House), but I never met Bono. Can't tell you what he's doing these days. I just wish he'd pass along some of the Desire royalties.

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