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Asking the tough questions

Sep 20, 2013
by Carrie Pack Chowske, '00

Alumnus Luis Hernandez goes up against some heavy hitters at KNPR For 1996 alumnus Luis Hernandez, working in public radio often means rolling with the punches, especially when interviewing Mike Tyson.

Hernandez has been working for KNPR 88.9 FM Nevada Public Radio in Las Vegas for almost three years, and he’s interviewed everyone from local politicians to celebrities, including the former heavyweight boxing champ.

“He is a very intimidating character,” Hernandez said. “Even though he said he’s mellowed out over the years.”

Hernandez asked him how a 22-year-old Tyson would have answered his questions. Hernandez said the answer was quite memorable.

Now as full-time host of KNPR’s morning edition and one of two hosts for State of Nevada, Hernandez talks almost daily to politicians, celebrities and everyday people.

“I treat it like I’m having a coffee with someone, and I’m fascinated by them,” Hernandez said. “Public radio gives me the chance to have those longer, in-depth conversations that you can’t have in commercial radio.”

And just like many of Flagler’s alumni working in radio, Hernandez got his start at WFCF, Flagler College Radio. In fact, he was on one of the station’s first student staffs.

Hernandez spent the next three years growing the station’s sports coverage before working his way up through the ranks at the University of Florida’s campus station and a commercial radio station. Hernandez then landed his gig in Las Vegas.

As for how he deals with the tough interviews, including once when he got in an argument with Jerry Springer, Hernandez says it’s all about challenging his guests.

“It’s like a tennis match,” he said. “I’m always respectful, but I’m going to ask the tough questions because that’s my job.”

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