Diego Mulligan is best known as Santa Fe’s longest running daily radio talk show host of 15 years, and the current host of The Journey Home, on KSFR 101.1 FM, Santa Fe Public Radio, covering the Rio Grande Valley from Taos to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Diego interviews a remarkable range of local-to-global experts on the nitty-gritty of cultural transformation on our journey home to a livable world. With youthful curiosity and edgy humor he and his world-class guests explore practical solutions aimed at sustaining person and planet, while enjoying the journey along the way.
Diego is best described as an avid explorer of new options and the innovative power of people. As an aspiring generalist, he understands whole systems and draws attention to the connections that bring us together. His gift as a cultural interpreter is to help people grasp the changes and challenges facing us, and how individuals, families, businesses and communities can navigate a course to a more positive and sustainable future.
Born in Miami, Florida in 1950, Diego Mulligan grew up in the Bahama Islands as an American expatriate. He was the first American boy to live fulltime on Grand Bahama, where he was part of a multi-cultural working class community of pioneers, resort developers, underwater divers and seafarers. Diego was seduced by the stunning diversity of Grand Bahama’s coral reefs and tropical forests, where he learned to SCUBA dive and build thatched huts and tree houses. As a youth member of the International Underwater Explores Society, he carried diving gear for such notables as Jacques Cousteau, Lloyd Bridges and Walter Cronkite. He has been committed to environmental restoration ever since.
In 1968 Diego began his first career in radio. After dropping out of college (“It seemed irrelevant and not challenging”) he gained a coveted First Class Radio-Telephone Engineering license from the Federal Communications Commission and began hosting top-rated music shows in medium and major markets from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to Miami’s Gold Coast. He was one of the first DJs to develop the Album Oriented Rock format as an alternative to Top 40 in the late 60s, and went on to develop the now-popular Modern Country Crossover format before leaving commercial radio and TV in 1973. During this period he was also an exhibition sport parachutist (Skydiver) making over 200 freefalls in a wide variety of interesting situations.
Having protested the draft during the sixties, Diego was one of the first to join the all-volunteer military in 1973. After completing U.S. military aviation college with top honors he became an FAA-licensed and fully rated Air Traffic Controller (ATC) serving at one of Europe’s busiest airports. Here he earned the nickname ‘Emergency Mulligan’, due to a coincidentally high number of pilots declaring emergencies during his shift. Though not one of them was his doing, Diego became an expert at dealing with various emergencies and crashes, such as talking down lost pilots in bad weather, and organizing search & rescue missions for downed aircraft from heavy-lift CH-47s to U-2 spy planes. After a near-death experience himself, Diego changed direction and eventually left ATC.
In 1976 entered the emerging field of Sustainable Community Development. After doing several internships, he was invited to join NGO projects in Europe and Africa, among them British-based Green Deserts (1978) where he served as communications director. He then went on to co-found the Tunisian Institute of Appropriate Technology (1980), and create the Community Economic & Ecological Development Institute (1988) and Center for Sustainable Community in Santa Fe (1990), and was co-founder of the Commons on the Alameda, the American Southwest’s first successful CoHousing Community (1992). During this 20-year period he spent 12 years working abroad where he studied vernacular architecture, traditional village design and “Appropriate Technology.” He also did extensive field-work in arid land restoration and reforestation, technology assessment and transfer with UNESCO, group governance and consensus building (Findhorn Foundation, Scotland), community economic development (Suffolk, England), and resident directed housing, environmental education, and renewable energy systems (solar thermal) – both in the nonprofit and private sectors (Santa Fe). As a consultant, he provided professional services for Aldea de Santa Fe (now completed), and Oshara Village (a 462 acre “sustainable transition town” now under construction in Santa Fe County).
He returned to commercial radio in 1993 with the Connections Radio Journal – a daily afternoon drivetime show – and shifted to public radio in 1997 as host of the popular daily show, The Journey Home which airs live at 5 PM on KSFR 101.1 FM, Santa Fe Public Radio. In 2005 he co-founded the New Village Institute, and as the executive director, he consults with nonprofit groups, public institutions and real estate developers on the practical issues of creating a sustainable culture, from green job creation to water and energy conservation.
Politically Diego is fiercely independent. After starting as campus president of Young Republicans and YAF in college, Diego composted his rose-colored Republican credentials after interviewing Ronald Reagan up close in an elevator one day. Since then he has participated with the Libertarian, Green and Democratic parties, and considers himself a progressive who embraces the best of liberal and conservative approaches to public policy, but has little interest in the ideologies of Left & Right politics.
Diego is married to Jennifer Hanan who co-produces The Journey Home. Together they run a consulting firm, Full Circle Synergy, that develops and demonstrates many of the sustainable living innovations discussed on the radio show. Diego is a skilled architectural designer and has been developing plans for the Full Circle Synergy House project, a demonstration of green building and integrated sustainable living systems, scheduled to begin construction in Spring of 2009. Diego also spends time fathering his twenty-something daughter and a teenaged son.
With invaluable support from Jennifer, Diego is living his dream to advance the field of sustainable living, while sharing the process with a growing community of radio listeners, while learning to – above all – enjoy the journey.