Behind the Scenes: Morning Host Natalya Estrada

Nov 30, 2017

Most of us wake up to her voice.  In this interview, KHSU's Natalya Estrada talks about what it takes to bring you Morning Edition each day.  Plus, we ask about her morning rituals, listener calls and get a peek at her inner nerd.

(Originally published in the KHSU Sustainer newsletter December 2017)

Natalya:

So my day starts when my alarm goes off, like a vibrate noise at three thirty a.m. So I get ready and that gives me an hour to get to the station. I like to have breakfast, I like to listen to the news before my news and I just like to chill out before going to work it's kinda like a meditation thing.

David:
So when do you get into the studio?

Natalya:
Four-forty-five. So in that hour and fifteen minutes: one, I make tea because there's this really incredible like hot water maker. I don’t know what to call it in English but in Spanish we call it a Botijón (laughs). Water cooler! that's what it is! So I make tea and I sit out there for the first fifteen minutes. And five o'clock hits and I go inside and I record some state reports -- look at the local news. Or sometimes I have local news that I wasn't too tired to get in the regular afternoon and I like to put together at least four five stories to have. Sometimes they’re press releases, sometimes I utilize local media. So I'm also doing other stuff while I'm creating those stories like I am printing out basically a rundown of Morning Edition, a rundown of Marketplace Morning Report, Cal Report and putting out what's gonna go on and I'm figuring out ways I can promote them. The other things I'm doing is setting up Democracy Now! making sure all the shows are current and and sometimes they're not and I have to backtrack, it’s a little embarrassing but we all make mistakes and hopefully are making less and less as time goes on.

David:
Yeah there's a lot of moving parts. So, you do news during the hour, you're doing the breaks during the hour, what else is happening, what else is going on?

Natalya:
Sometimes we have people call in and ask ‘what particular song was playing in the bed music at seven eighteen’ and so I have to look that up. I look it up for them. It's actually available on NPR.org and you can look it up, but I feel like sometimes it simpler to just look it up. I'm also monitoring the weather because weather changes. And sometimes I look at the roads. We don't have as many traffic problems as they do maybe in the bay area or down south but sometimes we do, so I think it's important to look and monitor that.

David:
Tell me about your nerdiness, (laughter) just one thing. 

Natalya:
So, my sister and I are both Lord of the Rings nerds. We decided to get this tattoo because we were hoping to find Nine Companions, the Fellowship of the Ring starts with nine companions. So, we’re two out of nine, so we need some more people to jump on this with us... but we have a tattoo of “nine” in Elvish.

David:
So okay strangest question or complaint that you've got.

Natalya:
Occasionally when I don't like the ‘bed music’ I switch it to something I do like. This morning, I was listening to The Doors on my way up, “Riders on the Storm” and I found an instrumental version of that and I played it. I sometimes think nobody notices the little things but I would get two or three callers who are like, “I love The Doors oh my gosh!” That kind of makes my day because it proves that they really enjoy the content we're putting out.

David:
Okay, the strangest complaint?

Natalya:
Someone once told me that my voice gets really high and happy at seven a.m. but then by eight a.m. it's really rough and boyish. I don't know how my voice could sound boyish. But then I think about how I describe my voice to others and it's like ‘yeah, my singing voice it sounds like some twelve year old boy going through puberty’ that's what my voice is.

So, I think I I take it with a grain of pink Himalayan salt.