Yuniel Rodríguez Chávez: “All my devotion to radio”.

“First place goes to La Condesita de Jaruco, by Yuniel Rodríguez Chávez, from Cuba, bravo, one big hug for Cuba”, these are the words pronounced by the event’s host that excited the most our prize-winner. 

Humbly and with total restraint, Rodríguez Chávez expressed his true feelings upon hearing the nomination of his program, and what’s more, when awarded the first place by Radio and Television of Aguascalientes in Mexico: “I find it quite amazing that among so many radio broadcasters of this country, this “guajirito” from Madruga, from Radio Jaruco, is being listened in Mexico, I am really excited and happy”. 

And how not to feel excited, when he had just won his first international award? He has been granted several other national awards, among which he fondly keeps the “Caracol de Radio” by UNEAC in 2014, the Grand Prize “Félix B. Caignet” awarded by UNEAC in Santiago de Cuba for “La Conga de Jaruco” radio program, and the award for best youth program, also by UNEAC, in Santa Clara with “Stereo Ciencia”. 

Upon hearing the news of Yuniel’s award through the networks, this reporter that now addresses you wanted to interview him. I must confess that I had often heard his name in the programming of “Radio Jaruco”, so I was familiar with his day-to-day work at the radio. But that was not enough for me to grant this award the coverage it deserved. I needed to get to know him better, hence one night I contacted him through Facebook and asked for the expected interview. 

How and when did you start at Radio Jaruco? 

I started in May 2007, a date that I warmly remember. It was the result of a casting call for male voices for a teenager program of the area, it was called “Mochila Abierta”. 

And he definitely convinced them, since he was asked to go on air live in the next broadcast. He takes on the voice-over as an amateur, while studying theater at the Escuela Nacional de Instructores de Arte. I have always believed that a community radio station forces and also allows to shape a more complete radio broadcaster, and this young creator confirms my believes. 

Where everything started 

Once he graduated, Rodriguez Chavez chose to go into radio and was trained as an anchorperson, scriptwriter, sound producer and journalist. Therefore, any day in Yuniel’s life is very busy. Early in the morning, he manages information, covers Radio Jaruco and Radio Mayabeque’s news programs, updates social networks and the station’s website, while not forgetting his responsibilities in programming. 

Likewise, he shared with us the fact that he had been given the possibility to participate in national workshops with Regla Bonora, and he tried to learn from her, which allowed him to gain experience in gender issues. Yuniel feels that radio has lagged a bit behind in this regard. 

“So that was one of my challenges,” he says. 

Why did you choose the documentary genre for “La Condesita de Jaruco”? 

I choose the documentary genre because I have been dabbling in it for some years already and because it is the one genre that allows me to be openly creative. It allows me to fully open my mind, to be like more cinematographic in the radio, with the sounds and so on. It does not set a time frame, it allows me to share, to recreate a little more, I think it is one of the informative genres that I will always resort to, at least once a year. 

“La Condesita de Jaruco” was then released, the radio documentary starring Daniela Gómez, a member of the “Los Condesitos de Jaruco” baseball team in the children’s category, a documentary produced with Silvia González, Alberto Caso and Anisley Arencibia Blanco, which in 2019 obtained the first prize in Marina Larrazaleta In Memoriam contest. 

I wanted the main character to share her feelings, joys, but also her concerns and sorrows. I didn’t want to omit anything, it was just as it was, everything was told in the way she sees things, and that’s how the interview flowed. 

Why devote an entire documentary to it? 

I had heard about her, I was not familiar with her story, but for the Marina Larrazaleta In Memoriam National Contest, I wanted to present a life story of a girl or a boy, who had something interesting to tell, and then I decided to go to Daniela, to know her and, to actually see Daniela on the field. She is just like another player, she even stands out among many boys in a tactical way, also how cheerful she is, her character, her dynamism, many believe that she is the captain of the team, she has even played in a higher category, she has also served as backup for other teams in Mayabeque province. Thus, I was impressed, especially when I listened to her, the way she thinks or behaves, and her performance on the field. 

Do you think you have done your bit to help Jaruco’s little baseball player achieve her dreams? 

I absolutely believe so, it was my small and modest contribution to the professional career of “La Condesita de Jaruco”, the coaches know that she is there, there are even girls interested in playing baseball in the municipality of Jaruco, and hopefully, when this pandemic is over, Daniela will lead Jaruco’s baseball team “Las Condesitas de Jaruco. 

The program highlights gender equality and advocates for girls to play baseball, not softball, but the actual baseball, to fight for what they want and for their dreams. 

The International Radio Biennial in Mexico 

This is the first time that Rodríguez Chávez participates in the Thirteenth International Radio Biennial of Mexico. He actually did not know about this event, he ran into the announcement in Prensa Latina and a radio colleague had also shared it with him. 

“With this pandemic thing I was a little discouraged and then my wife said, `Just send it, why not, it’s all online, you have nothing to lose. 

I sent three works,”, he recalls, “the program I trusted the least was La Condesita, and added that it came at a timely moment. He confesses: “It’s like the radio can also reach this kind of spaces or genre works, where the sound also tells stories like those of “La Condesita de Jaruco”. 

How does it feel to have represented Radio Jaruco and Cuban Radio in such an event? 

I feel immensely happy and satisfied, because all my sacrifice in radio is paying off, it is my first international award, but it also represents the acknowledgment to my creative ambitions, to get up early and picture in mind what I listen to, or what I want to write through sounds. This is also the way for my team to feel rewarded. 

The satisfaction of working on the radio

For this 32-year-old man, the radio represents too much. He admits that he has had the opportunity to do television, but would never compare it to radio: “Radio people know what I’m talking about. I believe that, even if at some point in life I have to do other projects, the radio will always be there, surely, other things will come, but radio will always be there”.

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