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This Week in Texas Music History: Domingo Peña

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll go slippin’ around with a honky-tonk legend.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a television host who entertained and educated his audience.

Domingo Peña was born on Dec. 16, 1917, in Kingsville, Texas. During the Great Depression, his family moved to Corpus Christi, where Peña began working in radio and television. From 1964 to 1981, his Domingo Peña Show was one of the most popular television programs in South Texas. Peña’s show featured performances from a variety of Tejano musicians, including Isidro Lopez and Esteban Jordan.

In addition to musical entertainment, the Domingo Peña Show also served as a high-profile forum in which Peña and his guests discussed issues of concern to the Hispanic community. Along with the many musicians who appeared on his program, Domingo Peña hosted representatives from such groups as LULAC and the American G.I. Forum to discuss Hispanic civil rights in Texas.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a small record label that had a big impact on Texas music.