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Weekend America Voices

Michael May

  • Michael May

    Michael May is a freelance reporter living in Austin, Texas. Michael's reporting has brought him in contact with coon huntin' soldiers, Houston socialites, Willie Nelson, a Russian swing band conductor, and a very friendly bat named Bob.

    A former news reporter for NPR affiliate KUT-FM, Michael has been a regular contributor to "Weekend America" since 2006. He's also reported for "Studio 360," "Morning Edition," "Day to Day" and "Marketplace," and has won a Murrow award, a Lone Star award and several AP awards for his radio work.

Recent Stories


  • Fronteras Unlimited

    In West Texas, along the Mexican border, an American woman named Cynta de Narvaez spends her Saturdays making an all-day trip - one that used to take just a few minutes. The Rio Grande once was an easy way to visit her neighbors in Mexican border towns. That changed after the September 11 attacks, when the US government closed the border.

  • Girl Talk and the Future of Music

    Gregg Gillis is Girl Talk

    One of the most talked about bands out there right now is Girl Talk. But Girl Talk is a pretty different kind of band. To start with, it's just one guy: Gregg Gillis. Also, no instruments, just Greg and his laptop computer. His latest release, Feed The Animals, has over 300 samples on it - all of which he's borrowed without asking. It's a gray legal area, but there's no doubt he's made the music his own.

  • Homes for No Pay

    Ramiro Mora snaps a chalk line.

    When we think about home, of course, we usually think about houses. The companies that build residential homes rely on Hispanic workers, many of them foreign-born. Much of that work has dried up with the housing bust. There's still work to be found--for less money, and in some cases, no money at all.

  • The Politics of Hurricanes

    Mel Gonzales' roof was destroyed by Hurricane Ike

    The hurricane shelters on Galveston Island closed this week. People have been living in Galveston in tents after Hurricane Ike hit on September 13. But the island is still in ruins, and many people are in hotel rooms or crashing with friends. Reporter Michael May went to the heart of the disaster bureaucracy in Austin to find out how things have gone in Ike's wake.

  • Politics on the Spot: The Houston Ship Channel

    The Texas Petrochemicals flare

    For the final installment of our series Politics on the Spot, we head to the industrial heart of Houston, the Ship Channel. Texas has some of the weakest environmental enforcement in the country, and the city of Houston has no zoning codes at all to regulate its large number of oil refineries. As Weekend America's Michael May reports, it all adds up to a bad situation for families and children living right on refinery row.

  • Biloxi's Luck

    Betty Davis in her FEMA trailer.

    It's been three years since Hurricane Katrina. The damage to flooding and botched response to the flooding in New Orleans has gotten the most attention. But it was actually Mississippi that received the full brunt of Katrina's 120 mile-per-hour wind and 27-foot storm surge. In Biloxi, Miss., the casinos that sat on huge barges in the bay were washed inland and destroyed. But the coastal casinos are now making record profits, more than one-billion dollars in revenue last year.

  • After the Floods

    David Connor in front of FEMA trailer

    It was three years ago that Katrina made landfall in the southeastern corner of Louisiana. Within a day, New Orleans was filling with water. But small towns along the coast were also devastated by Katrina, and by Hurricane Rita, which would follow less than three weeks later. We take a road trip to the hurricane-ravaged bayous along the Southern Louisiana coast to see how the recovery is going.

  • Scaling Swiftcurrent Pass

    Ptarmigan Tunnel Pass

    Swiftcurrent Pass in Glacier National Park rises sharply from Going to the Sun Road, a winding highway that slithers along the edge of a deep valley in the center of the park. From the car, the mountains look impossibly steep and majestic. From the tree-covered trails, they just look impossibly steep.

  • Weekend Underground: Turncoat Narc

    Barry Cooper with some illegal contraband

    Congress is on the verge of approving a new round of grants to fund the nation's drug task forces, even though the actions of some of those task forces have sparked numerous civil rights scandals. Reporter Michael May brings us the story of one former drug task force cop who's staying on the front lines of the drug war -- but in his own peculiar way.

  • Kosher Meat Plant's Immigration Woes

    Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa

    Last month, the largest kosher meat processing plant in America was raided by immigration agents. More than 300 workers, one-third of the workforce at Agriprocessors in Iowa, were arrested in the sweep. The bust shines a light not only on the kosher meat market, but also on working conditions for vulnerable immigrants.

  • Iraq's Oud Ambassador

    Rahim Al-Haj

    Rahim Al-haj is a master of the oud, the ancient instrument that's the precursor to the lute and guitar. It's origins are in Iraq, where Al-haj was forced to flee Saddam Hussein's regime. He found a new home in the U.S., and recently returned to Iraq to play for his mother one last time.

  • Bun B, Solo Without Pimp C

    Cover for Bun B's latest CD,

    For nearly two decades, Bun B performed with his partner Pimp C as the Houston hip hop group UGK. They're one of the longest-running groups in hip-hop history. But Pimp C's death in December changed things forever. Now Bun B's out with a new CD, and he talks to Michael May about what's next.

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