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Circuito Venezolano de Radiodiffusion

By Michael Smitz

This article was originally published in the December 1987 Listeners' Notebook section FRENDX, The Journal of the North American Shortwave Association. It appears here with permission of NASWA.


Some of you may ask why the last 4 years every SW outlet of the CVR network, "circuito sin fronteras", disappeared. First Radio Universo and Radio Cristal, then Radio Lara and Radio Juventud; finally Radio Barquisimeto and the San Felipe chain-station, Radio Yaracuy. When I visited Barquisimeto, I had a very interesting chat during lunch with Rogelio Martinez, son of the net's administrator. He told this story: When the circuito was established many years ago, it was one of the most modern studio and transmitter plants in the whole of Latin America. It still is an enormous building where 100+ people work.

For many years, Venezuela has been one of the richest countries in the world. Many people from all over the world made their way to Venezuela to work in petrol industry or to set up enterprises, stores, etc. When the oil crises started at the end of the 70s this country was highly affected and its economy went thru hard times. The bol�var was devalued from two per US$ to 12 (now it's reached 30). Station owners didn't make as much profit as before and started to investigate on how they could save some expenses. The monopoly sitution the chain has in Barquisimeto allowed them to do on the 'media market' what they liked to do. Per Venez law, 100 kiloinhabitants of an area give rise to a new radio stn. Barq has apx 700 k� and thref ore 7 licensed radio stns; from which 5 belong to same family. Bol�var lost value on intl markets and as owners didn't want to reduce the�r living standards which allows them to pass a great deal of the year in Florida, they didn1t invest a single bolivar in their stations. They only tried to get as much money ouf of the stns as possible. Quasi-monopoly situation favored them. As last resource [sic] to save money, someone came up w/ idea to switch off the SW mntrs some years ago.

The tech equipment of the stns is working well; there are no crystals bust or anything else. Guards at transmitter plants do all the maintenance work and everything is in good conditions. Xmtrs simply are silent because owners want to save cost of electr�city. Responsible for that is Mrs. Ligia Villanueva, Dir of chain. R Juventud even had to switch off a shortly be for installed FM stereo xmtr which was only low power, for financial reasons. Sr Carlos Rodr�guez Maza, Dir Administrativo de Radio Yaracuy in San Pel�pe, and a vy nice chap by the way, told me he rcvd the order to switch off the SW from Mrs Villanueva, because they had found out electricity for 10 kW SW outlet costs as much as salaries for 12 stn workers. Minimum salary is 1900 bs (as of Oct 1986 = US$ 80).

When you receive ltrs from workers at the stns saying they are off the air, please take into acct that it is much easier for them to blame the poor tubes than to blame their chief who is only interested in toasting his [sic] lazy bones in Miami or wherever. At R Juventud the chaps, who are vy engaged and in love with their radio stn, try to take over the stn on a cooperative basis, offering the owner-family the same profits they can now get out of the stn, but doing all the management on their own. I believe this would be the only possibility for the stn to get back on SW and FM. As far as I know, no contract has been signed an that matter yet. I believe the history of many other Venez SW outlets is quite similar. But there are exceptions. Some stns are on SW for traditional, reasons. When the grandfather has founded the stn and has been one of the radio pioneers of the country, it is quite hard to let it all run down. There are still some stns which are run by owners as a matter of tradition, hobby entertainment, relaxation, tho it is also a good business at same time. To mention only a few in this category: Ecos del Torbes, R T�chira, LV de Carabobo.


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