“A rudimentary announcer in his improvised radio station,” as he likes to define his his beginnings in the profession which has consecrated him as a paradigm of Cuban radio announcing, Cesar goes beyond the borders of the oral expression in order to go into the details of the written word.
You are a History of Art graduate. How about radio announcing?
Imagine! I was born in Becerra, a place in which there was not even a farmhouse near the highway but a narrow street where my grandfather had a sugar cane field. I left this place when I was 10 years, and started living in a colony called Macuto 5, in the old Haiti sugar mill. Later, we moved to Caridad 3 colony, where there was no school, at that time my vocation for radio announcing emerged.
I was about 13 years old and I remember that my father enjoyed listening to the radio, above all in the afternoon with the episodes of Los tres Villalobos and Angeles de calle as well as the 6:00 pm radio news in CMQ.
Are you still nervous when speaking into a microphone?
It depends on the situation. If it is my daily work, I am not. But if I am reading and someone gives me something to read, I get very nervous.
Then, every day is a test…
In the case of announcements, it is. Nevertheless, I have to mention that I did not start in the radio as news radio announcer, but musical program announcer and I was good at it. In the 60’s I was awarded as the best musical program announcer at that time in Camagüey. I was not good at reading news; my reading level was very low. I became an announcer with only eighth grade, I had no experience.. I left the farm at 17 years old and I started my profession at 19. I t was only a two- year transition.
We have already talked about the transitions, how was the transition from announcer to writer?
I never thought about being a writer, I don’t even know if I am. My granddaughter likes the family stories and influenced by that and a lecture I presented in an event on Announcing, I decided with the support of my family to share my experiences. I started working on my memoirs and I realized everything flowed easily.
De Becerra a la Rampa. Memorias de locutor is not a book about announcing, although it refers to this profession, it is not a history book but has a great part of the Cuban context in different times. The book is a compilation of anecdotes and stories with their corresponding thematic independence, but together they constitute the story I have wanted to share.
The book consists of four chapters: El monte, where I narrate my origins; La Ciudad de los Tinajones, which includes the ten years I lived in Camagüey and my beginnings as a radio announcer; La capital de todos los cubanos, where I lived a great part of my life and El portal de las anecdotas, for sharing all kinds of stories.
“For me it is the continuation of the Cuban stories. It is written in a colloquial language in pure “Cuban expression”, as it could be told by anyone, any country peasant”
Was it complicated to go the spoken to the universe of the written word?
The experience of writing a book was as if I was talking with someone. I am not a writer; my purpose was sharing my life. I also wrote a book of poems, but that is my hobby.
From the book came the idea of digitalizing a selection. It is like a radio serial, with ten minute duration episodes. All of the episodes end with a musical number which was popular at that time.
The digital work will be about 50 chapters, I hope, which contain a musical anthology and a part of the history of this nation through my narration as the thread. Jose Luis Vidal, a member of the Radio Rebelde station, was in charge of the production of the 32 chapters, so far. This work is attracting people’s attention.
What can you tell us about your experience of writing your memories?
Great! My family is bored but I am happy and yet concerned about this. It is a good challenge for me, but I don’t’ know if the people will enjoy it. I am especially interested in the youth, the new generations in radio and television; it could contribute to their knowledge.
You are a multi-awarded radio professional and have become in a paradigm. What is the message of this book to the young people, particularly the new generations of announcers?
Life is a struggle. I am the living example that we must struggle to fulfill our goals in life and take advantage of the opportunities, but if they go by, they probably do not return.
De Becerra a La Rampa. Memorias de un locutor (Editora Politica publishing house) constitutes a journey where the experiences of a radio professional are an editorial novelty in 365 pages. In this work, which includes illustrations by the late caricaturist Tomas Rodriguez (Tommy), Cesar Arredondo leads us from his natural radio speech to the written text, to share a nice conversation that transforms the listeners into readers.
Translated by: Daysi Olano