Radio Victoria celebrates its 7oth anniversary

5, 20, 30, 35 ... the years go by and could be counted in centuries if we add up those of each worker, the active and the retired or, better still, those who have always worked there. But the most significant thing is not the number but the implicit symbolism, emotional and human, behind each year of work in radio.

The fact is that since 1930, when the Hertzian waves first crossed the ether in these premises, this medium has been sustained by the vital force of many people who have not lacked the commitment and knowledge to reach every home in Las Tunas.

Radio Victoria is always there! The phrase could well be used in a commercial, but it is the purest reality. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week? For 70 years this station has been transmitting the essence of its people. Between the memory of the listeners and the memories of its creators beats the soul of this home of sound that shelters and accompanies in different ways and for some years now, also in the digital space, thanks to its web portal Tiempo21.


In 1973, Laraine Ortiz crossed the threshold of Radio Victoria for the first time, and, to this day, she has not left; although she has been officially retired since 2013, she devoted to this site the sleepless nights and attentive listening of someone who is a profound connoisseur of the media.

"Radio is a school of love. I had the opportunity to train new generations of directors and also to work with Neydo Arsenio, Raúl Ugarte, Gerardo Alfonso, Oraldo Solís, Rafael Urbino...; people whom I bless so much and from whom I learned."

"My greatest reward is the love of the people and the children for the work I did and still do at the station," says the manager of Mañanitas Infantiles and El Mundo de la Fantasía, some of the emblematic fruits of her creativity."

Yusdel Rojas, a sound producer as stellar and passionate about this media as his mother, has been nourished by this wisdom since childhood. "This is my second home and I don't think I could live without radio. I have the satisfaction of having grown up here and continuing the path of my parents," he told 26 who, from the sound console, brings all his knowledge to the news and sports programs."


No other source of communication generates that effect of closeness, warmth, intimacy, trust, companionship... A century after its creation, that basic promise of radio remains unbeatable in connecting with its audience. It is also unbeatable to come across an intelligent speech on the air, with an attractive, original, unexpected dialogue, the kind that is very difficult to stop listening to.

As a child curious about the place he listened to in his little cottage in the country, Jorge Carbonell López came to the station as a child. Listening to the story in his voice is a unique moment and evidence of a man who, from the microphone, has made history.

"One of those days when I was watching the announcer's booth from outside and through the windows, they asked me to come in and, from then on, I never went out again," recalls the man who has been a member of the National Evaluation Tribunal for this specialty for more than two decades.

"Imagine if I'm 68 and I've been here since I was 10, among microphones, tape recorders... and now computers. It's been 58 years dedicated to voice-over and radio in general. I have Victoria to thank for the whole of my life," adds this voice talent whose mastery shines equally well in an informative, dramatized, or musical program.

The same goes for Luis Manuel Quesada Kindelán, a Quixote of modern times and journalism; a reference point for both established and new reporters: "Victoria has represented my whole life, I have been here for most of my life. I went through various stages up to the present with the technological development and the work capacity demonstrated by the new generations."


Sports comentator Hiram Sánchez.
Sports commentator Hiram Sánchez Cajides

Mirtha Valdoquín Bello is full of memories. A transgressive woman, she arrived at the radio station when she was only 16; she was not yet of working age and voluntarily entered into the search for a profession until she fell in love with the mostly male-dominated world of sound production, which she chose to build herself professionally, despite the rigorous nature of the activity at the time. Today, now retired and from home, she says: "I grew up in this place; it was my second home, I was there when I had to be and even when I didn't have to be. And what I know and what I am, I learned in 'Victoria'."

"I've always said: 'Live for Radio and don't live from Radio'. You will see how you will succeed." She says that she rarely visits the building on Calle Colón because he feels that nostalgia is piercing his chest and there are not enough minutes to recall so many stories among tapes, cassettes, tape recorders, consoles, computers... Frank Zamora Núñez (Pancho), one of the authoritative voices when we talk about sound production, also dates from that fertile period.

"While I was studying at secondary school I was part of a circle of interest related to this field and that motivated me to approach the radio work in 1976. It has happened to me that many times I have gone to a place and when I say my name they immediately say to me: 'I hear you mentioned on the radio'."

For many years, Pancho worked as a producer in news programs in which he left a mark of love and dedication. "This profession is my life," says the now-retired Pancho, who has not moved away from the place where he shared with other indispensable people such as Metodio Diez, Martha Salazar, Ulises Espinosa, Joel Lachataignerais Popa, Midgalia Igarza, Juan Emilio Batista and Eddy López, the first sports commentator and trainer of many of the country's professional broadcasters.

Hirám Sánchez Cajides, commentator, narrator, and passionate about national sport, shared a cabin with the latter: "These years have meant a lot in my life. My greatest lesson has been to be able to work with so many valuable colleagues and become a sports commentator, program director, soundman, announcer... because I've worked in practically all the different areas."

Along with them, Gretel Yanet Tamayo Velázquez: "My entire professional career has been here. For me, it's like a home. I owe my training as a journalist and my specialization in the field of sport to the radio. The latter has allowed me to reach many places in Cuba with my work and to accompany the Cuban sports movement in other countries.

Gretel Tamayo and Ángel Luis Batista


Aliuska Barrios Leyva is almost two decades into her two-decade tenure as director of the radio system in Las Tunas. She knows every detail of its headquarters and the municipal radio stations inside out; when you listen to her talk about the present and the past, you open the door that only someone like her can establish to learn about the past and present of the medium and its creators.

"It has been a multiple, very big challenge; 18 years of permanent learning, of learning not only about journalism but also about how to make such a diverse environment materialize in various actions that contribute to the same objective. I think we have achieved a lot, above all, to resemble the new codes of communication, because the work we are undertaking today is adjusted to the resources of multimedia."

We have heard her talk a lot about this dedication and commitment in these days of celebration for the 70th anniversary of Radio Victoria: "This is the work of all people from Las Tunas radio broadcasters, not only the current ones but also the many who have worked at the station throughout this time."

With the singularity of being the only place where you don't have to see to believe, the radio is part of the life of the people from Las Tunas, some like María Antonia Quintero, "Neno", Denny Cutiño, Estrella Leyva, Yamile Abdala, Teresa Salcedo, Richard Segura...they are always there and show themselves with a call or a visit from time to time; others express themselves from silence but the radio switched on at home is their best argument of fidelity.

"The listeners have given me the best moments and they bring me the sweetest memories", says Maura Peña Machado, presenter of "Momentos", a reference program for 32 years. And the fact is that there are many keys behind what we usually recognize as magic but which have little, or perhaps a lot, of such reality. The truth is that there is a lot of "bomb" behind all those who work in the profession. "When you feel love for what you do, you overcome any situation", revealed Cristina Carrió in an interview, a broadcaster who does not forget her two decades of work in this place.

"Commitment and love", summarized Ada Cristina Higuera Tur, one of the architects and a regular listener; all at the same time. "A lot still to do, to learn and to teach", she adds, and in her words, she sums up the feelings of so many people who have given their hearts to Radio Victoria and who, logically, cannot be mentioned in these few lines of homage.

That radio is a thing of the past? No, not at all! It adapts, transforms, and rearranges endures and today it accompanies, informs, entertains, pleases, and also does so from the digital universe in this era of convergences and mediations. In one space or another, Radio Victoria is always there; now rejuvenated by new ingredients that come with the passing of the years but seasoned by the love and dedication of so many people who vibrate to the rhythm of this sound to see.