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RADIO STATIONS VISITED

Radio Mundial Los Andes, 1040 AM and 6010 SW, Merida. This was an independent station until July, 1993 when it was bought out by the Mundial network. I spoke with announcers Jorge Rodriguez and Eulogio Rodriguez (no relation) who are economics and geology majors, respectively, at the Universidad de Los Andes. Except for the station manager (who was sent in by network headquarters), all the employees at this station are part time college students. Despite the part-time staff, this appears to be a professionally-run and well-equipped station.

Radio Universidad, 1160 AM, Merida. Despite its name, this is a private commercial station and is not affiliated with the university. Radio Universidad has clearly seen its better days. The building, equipment, furniture, etc is all old and at least somewhat rundown, except for a new CD-player. This is Merida's oldest station (founded 1950) and may have a certain loyalty among the older generation. During my two visits to the station, several older men stopped by the station just to chat with staff members. This is a highly informal "small town" station in its atmosphere. In contrast, it is also Merida's most worldly station. Manager Dr. Lourdes Dubuc, daughter of founder and owner Enrique Dubuc, practiced medicine for twenty years in Europe before returning to Venezuela to run her father's station in the mid-1980s. As noted in more detail below, her station carries transcription programming from several European broadcasters. Programming is very eclectic, but contains a some more serious and culturally oriented items in additional to tropical music, personal announcements, and other such things found on a lower-class small-town station. Radio Universidad also relays news from the Radio Rumbos network. I had a long discussion with Dr. Dubuc and a shorter one with two staff members. Sadly, I suspect this might be Merida's weakest station economically.

Radio 1560, 1560 AM, Merida. This tropical music station is located in on the top floor of an up-scale six story office complex near the airport terminal. It is a very modern and professional station, and busy enough to have two hard-working secretaries at the door. I had a visit with program director Oswaldo Rondon and the nearby control room technician who listened-in and added a few comments.

Radio Merida, 1490 AM, Merida. Founded just about twenty years ago, this is Merida's youngest AM station, but the facilities are rather rundown. I spoke with the owner-manager, Gustavo Arevalo. Programming is eclectic, with various types of music throughout the day. He was also proud that his is the only station in town to broadcast radio soap operas and a comedy program from Caracas. There are no news broadcasts except for what is read from newspapers. This is clearly the "low class" station in Merida.

Circuito Lider, Merida. This network runs three FM stations in Merida. I visited the main office where Espectacular FM and Lider FM are located. The third Merida station is elsewhere in the city. They also have FM stations in El Vigia and Barinas, and own Radio San Sebastian (see below) in San Cristobal. I spoke with Marilu Di Zio de Contreras, the vice president and several other staff members.

Radio Trujillo, 1280, Trujillo. Radio Trujillo is 54 years old and looks its age. This was, without any doubt, the most rundown station that I visited in Venezuela (although it would have been average by provincial Peruvian standards). I spent about an hour with announcer Jose Ramon and the technician on duty. Later I had a quick chat with the station owner who dropped by for a few minutes.

Globo FM, 89.7 MHz, Valera. Domingo Tedesco, station technical director, was my main contact at Globo FM. However, although it was a Saturday, almost the entire announcing staff of the station was there to prepare announcements for a football game broadcast the following day, so several others participated in the conversation at various times. Globo FM is a very modern station. It is part of the Globo network which has stations in eight western Venezuelan cities, including Merida, San Cristobal, Tovar, and El Vigia. All the equipment is modern. I was especially interested to see the computer- disk players for ads and station announcements. All prerecorded ads, identifications, etc are recorded on 4 Megabyte 3 1/2 inch floppies which hold up to 54 seconds of sound per disk. There are two three- disk players/recorders, one in the recording studio for production and one in the main control room for on-air use. Clean, spacious, well- organized and equipped facilities. Telephone: 071-21042.

Radio Valera, 1230 AM and 4840 SW, Valera. I had a long visit with manager Roque Torres Aguilar. Senor Torres is actually a lawyer by profession and has only been manager for a little over a year. This is his first experience in radio. I also spoke briefly with several announcers and technicians. Like Radio Trujillo, this station aims towards a lower-class audience the facilities are very old and run- down. However, owner Carlos Rumbos (no connection to the Radio Rumbos network, and I did not met him) plans to construct a new station building at the current location this year. The station was due to move to temporary quarters next door shortly after my visit.

Radio Mundial Turismo, 970 AM, Valera. I had a short visit with a rather busy control room operator on a late Saturday afternoon when no one else was there. This station has been part of the Radio Mundial chain for about a year. The equipment is a combination of old and new and appeared to be well-maintained. Fax - 312021

Ecos del Torbes, 780 AM and 4980/9640 SW, San Cristobal. This is the main station of the Ecos del Torbes group, which includes three other AMs and an FM in San Cristobal and another AM in the town of La Fria about an hour away. I spent over two hours here and spoke with a number of people in various offices, but my main contacts were Edgar Fabala of the news department and Julio Archila, a control room operator who has been at the station since just a few months after it opened in 1947. The Ecos del Torbes building is old and not well marked, considering that this is the biggest radio station in Andean Venezuela. However, inside the station is plush and modern. There is even a recording studio with a grand piano (one of four in the entire state, I was told).

Radio Tachira, 1000 AM and 4830 SW, San Cristobal. This station has been owned by the Ecos del Torbes group for about twenty years, but it is actually older than Ecos del Torbes, dating to the 1930s. It is located on the top floor of a five story building just half-a-block up the street from Ecos del Torbes. The technical offices for the entire group are located here and my main contact was Ivan Escobar. I spent several hours with Senor Escobar, including a trip to the Ecos del Torbes transmitter plant on a hill outside of town and lunch at his home. Radio Tachira is a modern, well-equipped station, but it is obvious that Ecos del Torbes gets better treatment.

Radio San Cristobal, 1060 AM, San Cristobal. The third local AM station in the Ecos del Torbes group is Radio San Cristobal, also called RSC. It is just around the corner from Ecos del Torbes in the other direction from Radio Tachira. I spent about an hour with announcer Consuelo Farfón and the technician on duty. Consuelo is a graduate of the broadcasting program at the San Cristobal campus of the Universidad de Los Andes, and the first woman announcer I have ever met at a commericial broadcaster in Latin America. (Consuelo explained that it took a lot of effort to get the job, but she has done so well that Radio San Cristobal has since hired a second woman announcer and Radio Tachira has hired one.) While Radio San Cristobal was not as well equipped as Radio Tachira, the facilities were newer.

Radio San Sebastian, 960 AM, San Cristobal. After Ecos del Torbes, this is the second-largest broadcaster in Tachira state. Besides the AM outlet, there are two co-owned FM music stations that operate from the same building (more on this below). I had a long tour and discussion with Oscar Caseres of the news department and Franklin A. Contreras of the business office. Fax: 413193.

Radio Cultural de Tachira, 1190 AM, San Cristobal. This is a non-commercial cultural station operated by the state government of Tachira. The station is located on the top floor of one of the twin towers of the impressive Centro Civico in downtown San Cristobal, immediately above the state legislature's chambers. I spoke with a group of several staff members here.

Radio Frontera, 730 AM and 4760 SW, San Antonio. Currently the only radio station in San Antonio, Radio Frontera had just moved to the top floor of the newly-constructed seven-floor Centro Civico of San Antonio a few months before my visit. While their quarters seem somewhat cramped, everything, including the technical equipment is new and modern. I had a wonderful two hour visit here. I had long talks with owner/manager Modesto Marchena and control operator Pablo Antogio Bustos, as well as shorter talks with several other station staff and a visiting friend of Senor Marchena. Senor Marchena did me the honor of interviewing me on the air. The new station address is: Av 1ro. de Mayo, Centro Civico. The telephone is 715847 and fax 712083.

Ondas Panamericanas, 1270 AM, El Vigia. Considering that this is very much a small town station, it is very well equipped and professional in appearance. I had a lengthy talk with announcer Orlando Suarez, a serious DXer.

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This article is copyright 1995 by Don Moore. It may not be printed in any publication without written permission. Permission is granted for all interested readers to share and pass on the ASCII text file of this article or to print it out for personal use. In such case, your comments on the article would be appreciated.

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Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995
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