Google Doodle honors late San Antonio media pioneer Raoul A. Cortez

Oct. 17 is Cortez’s 118th birthday

Raoul A. Cortez (Courtesy of Guillermo Nicolas)

SAN ANTONIO – A Google Doodle on Tuesday honored the legacy of Raoul A. Cortez — a staunch community advocate who revolutionized the Spanish-language media landscape in San Antonio.

Cortez was born on this date in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1905.

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His family later immigrated to the United States, where Cortez entered the media landscape as a reporter for La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily newspaper based in San Antonio.

In the 1930s and 40s, Cortez owned and ran a theatrical agency that introduced talented performers from Mexico and other Latin American countries to U.S. audiences.

Cortez stepped into the airwaves when he bought airtime on KMAC Radio. The new venture would open Cortez’s eyes to the need for accessible content for Spanish-speaking audiences.

In 1946, he applied for a radio station of his own. KCOR-AM would become the first Spanish-language radio station in America.

Cortez later stepped into television with KCOR-TV several years later. His TV station became the first Latino-run American station in Spanish.

In 1961, Cortez sold the station to KWEX, a part of the Univision network.

While inclusivity in media was important, Cortez was also a committed civil rights and community advocate.

Cortez was involved with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

While serving as director for District 15, which included San Antonio, Cortez was present for the court case Delgado v. Bastrop Independent School District; the case ended the segregation of Mexican Americans in Texas public schools.

From 1948-49, Cortez served two terms as president of LULAC.

As the organization’s president, Cortez worked alongside Mexican President Miguel Aleman and U.S. President Harry Truman to remedy immigration reform efforts and develop the Bracero Program, allowing Mexican farmworkers to migrate back and forth to the U.S. on short-term labor contracts.

Cortez passed away on December 17, 1971, in San Antonio. Among several honors, in 2015, Cortez and his media programs were included in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History American Enterprise exhibit.

San Antonio dedicated the Cortez branch library on the South Side in his honor.

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About the Author

Mason Hickok is a digital journalist at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, reading and watching movies.

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