Cuban Radio Stations Celebrate Birthdays in October

For all Cubans, October the 10th is the day when the independence wars began in Cuba. However, in the history of Cuban radio, this is a day when many radio stations went on the airwaves for the first time.

Radio Ariguanabo, in the new province of Artemisa, Radio Bayamo in Granma, Radio Surco in Ciego de Avila or Radio Sandino in Pinar del Rio are some of the radio stations that broadcasted for the first time that day. Two of them were founded in the pre-revolutionary period- before 1959-, and they have being schools to lots of generations of Cuban radio workers.

Dreams do come true

The dream of Caramelo de Armas and a small group of Ariguanabo locals came true on October 10, 1971 when the Ariguanabo Municipal Radio Station transmitted for the first time. The first workers at the station were volunteers until the first staff of 15 workers was made official in 1976.

“Presently, the radio stations has a varied programming that includes news, and educational, children, cultural, and recreational programs among others. Our main purpose is to contribute to values formation and to the social, political and cultural development of the audience. In the 40th anniversary of the radio station, we are committed to continue working to achieve a better quality in our programs every day,” explain Jorge Luis Lazo, director of the radio station.

Many workers of the station also gave their opinion. One of them was sound producer Maria Antonia Acosta, who explained how this radio station has helped her grow professionally: “I couldn’t be away from the broadcasting room even for a day. The respect I feel for listeners makes me strive to do my best at work.”

Announcer Magaly Perez tells us how much she appreciates this radio station: “Radio Ariguanabo has been a part of my life. I started working in this radio station as Head of Programming, then I directed the radio station and received training as an announcer, which is what I currently do.”

On October 10, 1937, Radio Bayamo, the oldest Cuban radio station on air transmitted for the first time. This radio station is located in the city of Bayamo in the eastern province of Granma, where Carlos Manuel de Cespedes started the independence war on October 10, 1868.

Leipzig Vazquez García, one of the journalists at the radio station says: “I’m proud of working in this radio station. Many professionals who have made history in Cuban radio worked here.  Undoubtedly, this is a unique opportunity to learn from their experiences.”

Another radio station that celebrates its anniversary on October 10 is Radio Surco in Ciego de Avila, which original programming was aimed at entertaining and reporting on the commercial development of the province. Today the programming of the radio provides information and educates the audiences, says in an interview to this radio Hugo Santana, founder of the Cuban Institute of Radio in this central province.

Radio Sandino, the radio station of the western province Pinar del Rio was founded 30 years ago, in October 1982. This municipal station has become one of the favourite stations of the inhabitants of Sandino and a great part of the Vuelta Abajo coastal region because it spreads the economic, politic and cultural news of the municipality, explains journalist Yolanda Garcia in an interview.

The director of Radio Sandino Jesus Gutierrez proudly recalls the more than 10 years he has been leading the station. He says that the work done so far is the result of the 60-strong staff of the radio station and a group of collaborators and voluntary correspondents.

Undoubtedly, this radio station renews its work each October nurtured by the legacy of the pioneers, who like Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, overcome uncertainty and fear at the beginning to make the right decision. The men who founded these radio station and those who work to keep them on the air today are essential to the history of Cuban radio.

Translated by: Daysi Olano

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