Elaine Baumgartel

News Director

Elaine volunteered to answer phones during a KUNM pledge drive in 2003 and she's been unable to drag herself away from public radio ever since.  And why would she want to?  She wore many sets of headphones at the station before becoming KUNM's News Director - local anchor of NPR's Morning Edition, reporter in the KUNM newsroom, and host and producer of the KUNM Call In Show.  

As a graduate student in the Communication and Journalism MA program at UNM, Elaine completed her thesis project on the West Mesa murders and coverage of violence against women in the media.

In her spare time, Elaine likes to garden and work with ceramics in addition to spending time with her family.  

Ways to Connect

Photo: Laura Paskus

Albuquerque – Albuquerque police say the investigation into who killed 11 women and buried their remains on the West Mesa is still ongoing a year and a half later. Families of the victims are coping in different ways.

Albuquerque, NM – This week, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel talked with Senior Reporter Megan Kamerick about business news from around the state.

Santa Fe, NM – According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Alvord, Kaune and Larragoite schools would be consolidated into the old Alameda middle school. The plan is expected to save $1 million for the district. However, the controversial closing of Acequia Madre Elementary school would be postponed to allow time for planning.

In addition, the Board plans to increase class sizes, reduce staff, cut some sports, fine arts, special education programs and eliminate some double dippers who earn salaries in addition to their pensions.

Albuquerque, NM – The Albuquerque Journal reports workers filled meeting chambers and overflow rooms on Thursday night. Workers expressed concern that pay cuts combined with increases in health care costs would be greater than Berry administration officials suggested.

With tax revenue down around 8 percent this fiscal year, city officials told councilors the city should cut salaries in order to avoid raising taxes or cutting basic services. Berry's administration pointed out that city workers had received raises in recent years.

Albuquerque, NM – In celebration of Earth Day, the Rio Grande Nature Center is hosting events on Saturday intended to get people out into nature. Participants in the BioBlitz event will participate in a one-day concentrated effort to do a biological inventory of the plants, insects, and animals in the Rio Grande Bosque in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM – This week, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel spoke with reporter Matthew Reichbach about news from around the state.

Albuquerque, NM – School boards in Albuquerque and Santa Fe are saying that teacher layoffs and school closures may be necessary.

New Mexico U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman has co-sponsored legislation that he says could relieve some financial pressure the economic downturn has placed on school officials.

He said, "I don't think education is something that you want to fund just when the economy is strong you want to fund it all the time."

Santa Fe, NM – The Santa Fe New Mexican reports more than 150 people attended the meeting to voice their concerns. Several of the more contentious options on the table include proposals to consolidate smaller schools and to cut salaries for teachers.

Some of last night's speakers spoke out against closing smaller schools like Acequia Madre Elementary School. Others called for teachers' pay to be preserved and for the board to look for savings by cutting administrative staff salaries.

Albuquerque, NM – This week, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel spoke with Senior Reporter Megan Kamerick about business news from around the state.

Albuquerque, NM – This week, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel spoke with editor Gwyneth Doland about news from around the state.

Albuquerque, NM – Last week's announcement by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens that he will retire this year gives President Obama another opportunity to select a nominee for a lifetime position on the highest U.S. court.

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman says Obama made a good choice in his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor last year, but Bingaman says, this year the situation is different.

Albuquerque, NM – This week, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel spoke with reporter Dennis Domrzalski.

Albuquerque, NM – A new documentary film premieres in Albuquerque Friday night. It's the story of a Mohammed Khan Kharoti and his struggle to rebuild a school in his home town in Helmand Province Afghanistan.

Kharoti's Green Village Schools was created in 2001. It was destroyed in 2008 by militants, but hundreds of children still gather for classes.

The new documentary film "Stealing the Light" premiers tonight at 7:00 P.M. at the KIMO theater.

Albuquerque, NM – This week, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel spoke with reporter Matthew Reichbach.

Albuquerque, NM – The Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health yesterday announced cuts to services and facilities as a result of an over $24 million reduction in state funding. Secretary Alfredo Vigil says all programs are important but that there isn't enough money to fully fund all programs.

Albuquerque, NM – Superintendent Winston Brooks last night offered a budget proposal to the Albuquerque Public School Board that would layoff 664 district employees, require two furlough days from non-school employees, and cut non-school budgets by 6.5 percent. The Albuquerque Journal reports the proposal would cut operating budgets at schools by 1.5 percent.

Layoffs would focus specifically on double dippers, retirees who have returned to work and are earning both a pension and a salary.

Albuquerque, NM – Each week we hear from reporters at the New Mexico Business Weekly about business news from around the state. KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel spoke with reporter Dennis Domrzalski.

Albuquerque, NM – Mitzi Kraft says she got involved because of the impacts war had on her family. Her father was a pilot during World War II and flew in the bombing raids over Dresden Germany. He committed suicide 50 years ago on Good Friday.

Kraft's grandson did a tour in Iraq and is now having a hard time adjusting to civilian life and suffering from PTSD. He joined a JROTC program when he was a freshman in high school and Kraft says she never thought his participation would eventually lead to his enlistment in the military.

Albuquerque, NM – Every Thursday we hear from reporters and editors at the New Mexico Independent.

KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel spoke with senior reporter Trip Jennings about this week's top stories.

Albuquerque, NM – The Albuquerque Journal reports APS officials failed to include $20 million of employee salaries and benefits in the district's budget over the past two years.

State funding for APS was also reduced and Superintendent Winston Brooks announced last week the district will have to cut $43 million to fill these gaps. That could mean layoffs for over 700 teachers, educational assistants and administrators.

Brooks says the process that led to the miscalculation has been fixed.

Albuquerque, NM – Several University of New Mexico student organizations met today to protest budget cuts that would eliminate three community service groups and withhold funding for a new Queer Resource Center. UNM Administrators last week denied a recommendation by student leaders for a 10 dollar-a-year student fee increase to fund the groups and the center.

Albuquerque, NM – The Albuquerque Journal reports the investigation will determine if tribal, forest service, and national monument lands should receive damages from LANL to clean up the contamination.

New Mexico Environment Secretary Ron Curry says LANL must be held accountable for its activities in the state. He says the public will have an opportunity to comment.

According to the report, existing air, soil, surface water and groundwater contamination will be analyzed to see if levels justify damages under federal law.

Albuquerque, NM – New Mexico U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman says he is confident this reconciliation bill will pass, even if some Senators opposed to the health care legislation offer amendments.

BINGAMAN: "Those who are offering amendments will be doing so with full knowledge that their amendments are unlikely to prevail they may wish to make some kind of a statement... or cause their colleagues to cast an uncomfortable vote."

Tesuque, NM – At the Democratic state convention this weekend, former state Democratic party chairman Brian Colon won the top spot on the primary ballot for Lt. Governor. With over 34% of convention votes, Colon established a significant lead over Lawrence Rael, former director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, who trailed with 22%.

Santa Fe, NM – The Santa Fe City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to delay a proposed telecommunications ordinance. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Councilor Patti Bushee said the ordinance has been significantly changed and should be considered in a new public hearing.

Some opponents of the ordinance are concerned about possible health impacts from increased wireless technology and say the ordinance does not provide enough regulation of the telecommunications industry.

Albuquerque, NM – The suspect in the murders of a University of New Mexico English professor and a Bernalillo High School teacher had a history of stalking his ex-girlfriends according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Police say Ralph Montoya shot Hector Torres and Stefania Grey, who was his ex-girlfriend, on Sunday. Grey had filed for a restraining order against Montoya after an incident in January when Montoya allegedly attacked her at Torres' house.

Albuquerque, NM – Communities across the country and New Mexico are celebrating the history, culture, and contributions of African Americans during the month of February, Black history month.

KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel recently spoke with Professor Sonia Gipson-Rankin, Associate Director of the Africana Studies Program at the University of New Mexico about the meaning and purpose of Black History Month. She says it's about more than just a segment that is taught in schools.


Albuquerque, NM – In the final installment of our three-part series, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel speaks with new Mexicans about tax increase proposals making their way through the state legislature.


Albuquerque, NM – In the second part of our series, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel speaks to New Mexicans about a proposal to reinstate the food tax.


Albuquerque, NM – In the first of a three-part series, KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel speaks with New Mexicans about proposals to increase taxes in order to fill the state budget deficit.