Tag Archives: Miami Herald

Puerto Rico: This radio station stayed on the air even though it lost its roof

(Source: The Miami Herald)

Normally, Rubén Sánchez would not interrupt a live interview with as prominent a newsmaker as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

But Wednesday was anything but normal.

Less than an hour after Hurricane Maria plowed into Puerto Rico, Rosselló was updating Spanish-language radio listeners by phone on the Category 4 storm’s destructive path when host Sánchez suddenly interrupted.

The studios of Univision’s WKAQ-AM (580) had become “vulnerable,” Sánchez said, his voice tinged with tension. He and his broadcast colleagues would have to abandon the premises — and fast.

“Stay safe,” Rosselló said, urging them to seek shelter in an internal hallway.

Finding refuge — and a safe place to keep broadcasting — turned out to be complicated. The station and a handful of others became vital listening posts for Puerto Ricans starved of information Wednesday as their electricity went dark and their cellphones silent. Several news outlets continuously reported online, but relatively few people on the island could click.

[…]“A few of the offices exploded,” he said, describing how Maria shattered street-facing office windows and forced itself into the building, in the Guaynabo neighborhood west of San Juan. “It even changed the smell of the environment, and the temperature in WKAQ.”

The on-air staffers scrambled, making their way into the studios of a sister station, WKAQ-FM (104.7), known as KQ-105. But even that proved insufficient. Moments later, News Director Jaime Cosme grabbed the microphone to say they were devising a makeshift studio deeper in the building — a structure that, until Wednesday morning, the station had considered a “bunker.”

Sánchez likened the scene to a grenade blast. “It was a bunker,” Sánchez said. “We could see the sky because the roof blew off.”[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Miami Herald…

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Radio República: shortwave broadcasting 24/7 on a budget

In this Miami Herald Op Ed piece, Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat, the national secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate, defends his organization and their clandestine station, Radio Republica. It’s worth noting that in an effort to use their limited funds effectively, and to get their message into Cuba, they use shortwave radio as their medium of choice:

(Source: Miami Herald)

Radio República, the Directorate’s 24-hour, seven-day-a-week shortwave radio station, has provided a voice to Cuba’s resistance from the smallest provincial towns to the largest Havana neighborhoods. Its format has been strategically designed to enhance the natural self-defense mechanism of nonviolent struggle generated by Cuban society. Costing between $1.5 million to $2 million a year, Radio República’s budget accounts for over 50 percent of the Directorate’s annual funds from federal grants. These costs are far below the annual budgets of both public and commercial shortwave radio stations.

Likewise, it is undeniable that Directorio has made a vital contribution to the changing attitudes of the international community towards the Castro regime. The Cuban pro-democracy leadership has moved from international neglect to international recognition, winning prestigious awards like the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize and nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in the process.

[…]The truth is that the testimony of hundreds of civic resistance leaders throughout the island shows that Radio República has become an essential tool for social organization.

Read the full Op Ed article on the Miami Herald website.

Though they carry a different message, the choice in shortwave radio is the same for Charles Caudill and WCB.

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