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Understanding Latin American
Station Identifications

by Jim Whitehead

with comments by Chris Hansen

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The following item is taken from page 14 of a 1979 edition of SPEEDX (exact issue unknown). It is placed here with permission of SPEEDX.

If you have been shying away from the exciting world of Latin American DX because you felt that an extensive knowledge of Spanish is required then this is for you. In the article which follows you will see how, with only a limited vocabulary, you can learn to recognize and understand the greatest majority of Latin American station identifications.

Most station identifications in Latin America may be classified into one of three groups, the slogan ID's, the location ID's, and the network ID's. These shall be referred to as Type I, II, and III station identifications respectively. Regardless of type, however, the words used are most likely drawn from among those in the vocabulary list below. You will note that in this list the Spanish word is given first, the pronunciation second, and its English equivalent last.

aqui (ah-key) here
cadena (ka-day-na) network
canal (kan-al) channel
de (day) of, from
departmento (de-part-men-to) department/state
desde (days-day) from
el (ell) the (masculine)
emisora (ay-mis-or-ah) station
en (ayn) in
es (aya) is
escuchando (aya-ku-chan-doh) listening
escuche (ays-ku-chay) listen
esta (ays-tah) this
la (lah) the(fem)
marcha (mar-cha) progress
mas (mahs) more
oro (or-oh) gold
poderoso (po-der-oh-so) powerful
por (pore) for/by
potente (po-ten-tay) strong
predilecta (pre-dee-lec-tah) favorite
preferida (pre-fer-ee-dah) preferred
pueblo (pway-blo) town
rumbos (rum-bohs) revels
sintonia (sin-toh-nee-ah) tuning
somos (soh-mohs) we are
su (sue) your
voz (vos) voice

Type I identifications contain 3 elements, the opening, the station name, and the station slogan. The opening is usually one or two words in length and designed to call the listener's attention. The words most often used and, therefore, the key words to listen for include "Esta es," "Ustedes escuchando," and "Aqui". Typical Type I ID's are short, one sentence type ID's like the following:

Esta es Radio Lara, su emisora musical.
Ustedes escuchando Radio Fídes de La Paz la primera en sintonia.
Aqui Radio Managa, canal nueve sesenta, super potenta.

Type II ID's are usually longer and more informative than Type I, and are characterized by the disclosure of station location. Type II ID's nearly always start with the key word desde, the Spanish word for "from." Then, the city, stateo province, or country or any combination thereof, the station name, and, perhaps, the station slogan complete the identification. The exact order may, of course, vary and, at times, be linked together with a Type I identification. The following are examples of Type II ID's:

Desde Quito transmite Radio Quito, la Voz de la capital. Desde Santo Domingo, transmite Radio Television Dominicana, excepcional de radio y television. Este es la voz de puebloe en marcha, radio Progreso desde la ciudad de Progreso, departamento de Yoro, en Honduras."

Type III identifications are the most varied and complex, reflecting the sophistication that network resources permit. The principal characteristic of these identifications is the mention of the network name. Largest of the networks and, therefore, the ones most frequently heard are TODELAR (toh-dee-lahr), CARACOL ["snail" in SS-stands for Cadena Radial Colombians. cpjh] (kar-a-kohl), RCN or Radio Cadena Nacional .... Rumbos Cadena Nacional [and Super Radio. cpjh]. Station names are often a part of Type III ID's but these can be confusing. [You said it. cpjh ] At times all network affiliates are listed. The CARACOL network is particularly apt to do this sort of thing. At other times, only the lead station (station from which the programming is originating) is mentioned, but this may not be the station to which you are listening. Type III identifications are frequently preceded and followed by chimes or some other fanfare. They may also be in the form of a jingle. Typical Type III identifications are as follows:

Somos TODELAR, somos profesionales, somos La Voz de Cali.
Atencion la Cadena Nacional de Emisoras de Radio Presidente Balmaceda.
Desde Manizales, transmite RCN, Radio Cadena Nacional, por su emisora Transmisora Caldas. RCN, la cadena de oro de America.

There are, of course. exceptions to the general categories outlines above, just as there are a plethora of variations. Don't despair, however, for the key words are often present and the Spanish language contains many cognates, words that look and sound the same in Spanish as in English. Take profesionales, radio, and excepcional, for example, which have been used above and which were not included in the vocabulary list. Yet most likely, you had no trouble understanding the identifications that contained them. Many station identification contain "modern" adjectives derived from equivalent English words and thus present little trouble for the DXer. So, why not give Latin American station identifications a whirl? You'll be surprised at how many you can understand!

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This website is maintained by Don Moore,
Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995
.

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