Mexico: National Fonoteca celebrates World Radio Day

Ministry of Culture,
14 February 2017, Mexico

Stories about the origins and history of radio in Mexico, personal experiences and the challenges faced by public radio, were some of the topics addressed in the roundtable Stories of Radio, held in Mexico by the National Fonoteca for World Radio Day.

The Murray Schafer Room was the venue for this event in which three prominent figures of the public radio activity: Edmundo Cepeda, Vicente Morales and Yolanda Medina participated.

On 3 November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed World Radio Day on 13 February as it was on that day in 1946 that the United Nations Radio was established.

Edmundo Cepeda is a conductor, producer of Radio Educación, a Mexican radio dean, an academic and an audiobook creator. He shared with the public some details of the history of Radio Education and the challenges facing the station.

"Radio Education airs on November 30, 1924 and after a period of transmission is suspended, silenced, for many years. There is an attempt of renewal towards 1934 but it is until 1968 that it went on the air, with its share of blood, because for me it is daughter of the movement of the 68, since it began its period of transmission the 23 of November of that year ".

The producer also revealed that one of the concerns for Radio Education is to get its FM frequency without cancelling the one it has in AM.

"The project is also having national coverage and although the network gives us worldwide, it is not the same because we are again facing the technological shortcomings in our country. However that does not imply that we should throw to sleep, on the contrary, we must continue in the fight to be participatory and effective.

Vicente Morales, a specialist in the art of sound effects, considered a pioneer of radio in Mexico, said he felt sad because before the radio was creative, fun, funny, productive and educational, and now they are the opposite: alienating and very commercial.

"It is not money, sometimes, what guides us on the radio, but the interest and love for it. I like to know that my work has reached a huge number of people who enjoy my programs. Before the new technology did not exist and that made of the radio a very fun and participative means, since even the people were going to tell jokes ".

The sound artist also gave examples of some of the effects he has created throughout his career: bullets, galloping horses, beatings, fights, voices of different people, sounds of vipers and rats, kisses, fire, a procession and An assault on jewelry, making use of only his hands, beans, glasses, plastic bags, bells, a tube, glasses and coconuts.

"That was our job, unfortunately it is not done for budgets anymore because people do not want to invest in radio stations and prefer to put a record and commercials. That is fabulous for the owners of the stations, since it is business, but for us not, that is alienating. I still live the radio for many years to come."

Finally, Yolanda Medina, producer, academic and head of the Fonoteca Alejandro Gómez Arias, revealed that Radio UNAM has gone through a lot of setbacks, especially that it started with a very small transmitter and that its sonic collections were not known and were not in order.

"The station was founded in 1937, this year we will be 80. It is a live radio, with many shortcomings but a lot of presence. For me this is important because radio is the medium of communication that more people come into the world. It is and will continue to be the means of imagining par excellence.