At One Time, She Was the Top Latina In Broadcast Television Management

By EGP Staff Report

Well known for her civic and religious activities as well as her distinguished career in communications, Diana Munatones passed away at Arcadia Methodist Hospital last Saturday, March 18. She was 66.

According to her family, she was surrounded by family and friends when she died.

Born in Greeley, Colorado on March 12,1946 to the late Reverend Jose and Lily Padilla, Munatones’ early years were spent following her father’s ministry throughout the Southwest, living in Texas and New Mexico before finally settling in Los Angeles; Diana was thirteen.

Diana Munatone

After completing college, which included studying Journalism and Public Relations East Los Angeles College and earning her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Spanish from Cal State Los Angeles in 1970, Munatones embarked on what would be a distinguished career in communication management.

In a statement announcing Munatones’ passing, family and friends recalled that Diana started out as a television production assistant, and worked her way up through the various ranks of television to become a producer, host, writer and director of many cable, local and network television programs in English and Spanish.

Her broadcast career started in 1973 at KCBS, formerly known as KNXT Channel 2, a CBS owned and operated television station as the host of “Bienvenidos,” and co-host of “It Takes All Kinds.”

In 1977 she joined KNBC TV as a reporter and associate producer and host of the “Today Show.” She was also associate producer for the Emmy Award nominated “Noticiero Estudiantil” on KLCS Channel 58 and staff teacher for Emmy Award winning English version Student News. She was also host/producer for “Summer Faire” on the local PBS station.

By 1977, as Director of Community Broadcast Relations at KNXT and Director of Special Projects for CBS Inc, Munatones was the highest-ranking Latina in television broadcast management.

Munatones also had a lifelong relationship with the Los Angeles Unified School District, first as a student and years later as LAUSD’s Director of Communications. She was hired in 1988.

While at LAUSD, she worked with KLCS-58 television developing a weekly newscast of district news both in English and Spanish. She also produced special programs for the school district, supervised Internal Communications, Public Information and created LAUSD’s Translations Unit. She retired from the District in 2009 as a site coordinator/teacher.

Munatones was married twice, the first time in 1965 to Conrad Munatones. She would keep Munatones as her professional name while married to the now deceased Robert E. Brimberry.

Diana was involved with many civic and religious groups, raising money for needy people, groups, and organizations, including the Latin American Assemblies of God churches pastured by her father (deceased) Rev. Jose Padilla, where she served as the charitable contributions director. While with the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, she personally identified and selected 25 local ethnically diverse community groups to receive the Foundation’s first $16 million in grants.

Munatones also produced many fundraising events, such as telethons for community groups and television and theater premieres such as Zoot Suit with Edward James Olmos in conjunction with CBS/KNXT.

Munatones was appointed to serve as a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Commission under President Jimmy Carter. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Centro de Ninos, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and served as an advisor on grant writing and proposal editing for individuals and institutions. She was also a member of the
Order of Eastern Star Hollywood Chapter 21 in South Pasadena and Order of the Amaranth Golden Crown Court No. 2 Masonic Center in Rosemead, CA.

She is survived by her daughters Cozette and Sharon, her son Brian and daughter-in- law Stefanie Munatones, grandson Jonas Benedikt Munatones, 5 sisters and 2 brothers, their spouses, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Details of a Celebration of Diana’s Life Memorial Service scheduled for April 18th, 2012, have not yet been released. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to Centro de Ninos, Inc. and “Hooked on Jesus” Huron Rescue Mission in Munatones’ name.

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March 22, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

4 Responses to “At One Time, She Was the Top Latina In Broadcast Television Management”

  1. Socorro Serrano on March 23rd, 2012 1:13 pm

    So sad to see that the beautiful, vivacious Diana has left us. Whenever I had to describe her to someone, I’d say “look for the stunning tall lady with the great laugh.” I knew Diana because we traveled in the same circles of public affairs, broadcasters, Latinos involved in the media. I have Diana to thank for recommending me for a positon at LAUSD in the Communications Department. Diana was gracious and generous, and her children are a testament to her values. I am so thankful to have had Diana in my life as a colleague and friend.

  2. Carolyn Sartor on April 4th, 2012 12:25 pm

    I will always remember Diana as one of my dearest friends. We began together at KNXT (now KCBS) as the lone Latina and African American women writers in the newsroom. Boy, did we have some stories…and not just the evening news. Naturally we bonded in what became a life-long friendship. Even though I moved away from Los Angeles in 1979, we stayed in touch. She visited me in Chicago a number of times and I often stayed with her when I came back to Los Angeles. We were forever trying to come up with a media project we could do, so we could work together again. I will always remember her wonderful and kind spirit, her contagious laughter and beautiful smiling face. Beautiful Cozette and Sharon, I love you as my own daughters and Brian I will always remember you as the cutie pie baby I knew. To all of you please know my heart is with you.

  3. Joe Ramirez on April 18th, 2012 9:32 am

    Diana and I were reporters at KNBC. Loved her candor and friendship.
    She was a statuesque beauty and a tough reporter who paved the way
    for more Latinas. Fondly remember her story of when she and a crew
    were stuck out in the boonies on a story. She had to relieve herself and
    did what her male counterparts did in similar situations. Denfinitely one of
    the guys.

  4. Veronica Hendrix on April 18th, 2012 3:28 pm

    Diana was amazing. She gave me my first reporter job at KLCS and I learned so much from her. She ignited skills in me I didn’t know I had. I always acknowledged her as one of the great inspirations and teachers in my life. Heaven has a new angel – the divine Diana. I will never forget her.

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