Remembering Fidel Castro The Broadcaster

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Remembering Fidel Castro The Broadcaster

Postby jon » Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:52 pm

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro died yesterday. Like the late Chairman Mao of China, he was a broadcaster in two big ways: he frequently broadcast long and loud speeches on the Radio, and he started a lot of high powered and widely heard radio stations, not just on Shortwave, but also on the standard AM broadcast band.

While WWL in New Orleans and the VOA in the Florida Keys ran strong Spanish language signals into Cuba every night, Cuban radio stations could be heard over wide areas of the U.S.

Though hardly something that the average Vancouver radio listener would notice, Cuban stations even made their way there before the U.S. 1-A Clear Channels added a second station to most frequencies in the mid-1960s. When Castro took power in 1959, he did not feel compelled to honour the treaty that led to the Big Frequency Shuffle of March 1941, despite the fact that it was known as The Havana Treaty. He put high powered stations on many of those 1-A Clear Channels. Though certainly not with the kind of power that Mao used for his stations that could be heard early Monday mornings in Vancouver. Mao was rumoured to have hired the same engineers who put WLW's 500,000 watt transmitter on the air in the 1930s.

Like them or hate them, both Castro and Mao really used the power of Radio for their own purposes.
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