Orlando Castellanos: The word among us

A so and so who wants to live and has cheerfully lived his life because happiness having lived surrounded by love, friendship and sympathy of the people´´

He was born on December 24th, 1930; his debut in the radio was in his native province, he was only nine years, because his father had a great view of the broadcasting and commercial radio, he also bought an electricity radio plant to his son.

His beginnings as interviewer were I 1959 and without knowing he went out into the magic media. During some years he became in an expert and his interviewers’ friends.

People who met him stated Castellanos was a greedy reader, the best gift that someone would give: a book. This outstanding man dominates diverse topics, he also has a vast culture instead of having a high school diploma and a title of radio announcing at that time. Virgen Gutierrez, his wife has devoted the last ten years to summing up Castellanos’s life: ´´The Orlando that I met was not unaware to the man who met his friends, he was an open-minded person, and Castellanos was very fond of his work.

This man was always out living it up and humorous, his talent for interviewing and he pride of that. Castellanos never boasted about his background.

Ignacio Canel, Castelanos’s close friend for years and founder of radio Habana Cuba stated: My friend was happy and talkative, his interviews were very peculiar, an extremely familiar conversation, in such way the interviewers felt pretty pleased.

No matter if the person was a factory worker, an intellectual or a farmer; he achieved the best of them.

This paradigmatic radio announcer of the Cuban Radio was director of Radio Taino and Radio Habana Cuba founder. I had the pride of reading opening words of radio Habana Cuba inauguration at the Revolution Square during the parade on May 1st, 1961.

This outstanding radio announcer was the founder of Formalmente Informal, a program that gave him an international prestige because about 20 million radio listeners around the world listened to that popular program, according an opinion poll. It was the most broadcasted program of the Cuban Radio.

IN an interview made by Rodolfo Mignini, Castellanos stated: Formalmente informal was a dream, I only could make true in 1971 in Radio Habana Cuba. I presented the project that combines an old dream, something different every day; totally informal but with certain formality.

How did Castellanos link with the program?

The program had much to do with Orlando’s personality; he was very anxious, creative and hated the routine.

Castellanos was a successful journalist and about more than 5 thousand interviews to the most important personalities of literature and arts likewise the most humble and interesting characters he meet on the streets.

Personalities of considerable statures such as García Marquez, Carpentier, Dulce María Loynaz, Julio Cortázar, Nicolás Guillén, Bola de Nieve, René Portocarrero, Carilda Oliver Labra, Alicia Alonso, Roberto Fernández Retamar and others.

During his professional career his greater desire was to interview the poet Lezama Lima and cataloged it as his lost interview. His programs also were characterized by truthfulness around the world. There were many unforgettable experiences for example one a Mexican couple that love the background of the program or an old woman from Nicaragua who told him: I listen to your program every night, send a kiss to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.

Castellanos died on January 19th, 1998 in Havana City. Virgen, his wife took on Castellanos ‘spreading work, she has become in his executor.

We remember him with a great affection; his passing away was a terrible blow for radio Habana Cuba; his works and style are heritage of the universal radio.

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