Colombian Radio Stations

Colombian Radio Stations
I visited Colombia in mid-1963, traveling to Cali, Medellín, Bogotá, Manizales, Bucaramanga, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta and several other areas.

La Voz del Río Cauca, HJED 820 AM Cali
Here is a view of the studios of this station in mid-1963. HJED was one of three
50,000 watt key stations of the CARACOL (CAdena RAdial COLombiana) network
based at Emisora Nuevo Mundo in Bogotá.
CARACOL is one of Latin America's largest broadcasters,
and now part of the multi-national Prisa from Spain.
More information is available in Spanish at

HJED "Radioteatro"
As one of the key stations of the CARACOL net, live broadcasts were often originated at HJED for all of Colombia. 
On the way to the HJED transmitter...
The HJED staff kindly took me to see the transmitter site, about 30 km North of Cali at Buga. This little incident delayed the arrival for a few minutes.
HJED AM Transmitter site.
HJED was the only directional AM station in Colombia in 1963. The intent was to better cover the extremes of the Cauca River Valley, long and narrow. As a result, the station was widely heard in the USA in the 60's during silent periods of WBAP/WFAA in the Dallas market... my introduction to Colombian music was constant listening to "Una Voz en el Camino," the  midnight to 5 AM truckers' show sponsored by the national truck manufacturer Colmotores.  
Westinghouse 50 kw main transmitter.
CARACOL had modern, 50 kw transmitters in Cali, Medellín and Bogotá.
A 1 kw auxiliary is to the right. 
Directional antenna array - HJED
Rather than use a phaser, HJED simply ran two equal length open lines to the towers, allowing the spacing to achieve directionality. It worked. In fact, 5 years later I would build a similar system for a station in Ecuador.  
Another view of the directional antenna array - HJED
A view from the base of one of the towers back towards the transmitter building.  Equal transmission line length was achieved by having both lines travel to the mid point between towers, where one of them doubled back to the nearer tower. 
Entrance to La Voz de Antioquia
In Medellín, CARACOL operated two stations, La Voz de Antioquia, the network affiliate, and Radio Reloj, a music station that gave the time every minute, even over records! Here is the Reloj street-view studio.  
Transmitter site of Radio Pacífico de Cali on the highway to the Cali airport.
This was the principal station of the Radio Cadena Nacional (RCN) network in Colombia's third largest city. Owned at the time by industrial giant Coltejer, RCN operated multiple stations in each of the major markets. For more on RCN see
Another of the ubiquitous "radioteatros"
As an important program origination point, La Voz de Antioquia
had a full stdio for live broadcasts. 
La Voz de Antioquia Transmitter site.
High above the valley where Medellín is situated was the
AM transmitter for the station, operating on 750 kHz with
50,000 watts non-directional.  
Tower, La Voz de Antioquia
Another Westinghouse 50 kw transmitter, this time at
La Voz de Antioquia. 
Bogotá - Emisora Nuevo Mundo
CARACOL had its national headquarters in this building.  50,000 watt Nuevo Mundo was the flagship station for the CARACOL net, and the local radio Reloj 1100 AM was also here. In the 80's, CARACOL would buy the Catholic Church's Sutatenza network and move Nuevo Mundo (Later simply CARACOL-Bogotá) to 810 with 250,000 watts. Click here for
CARACOL on the net.
Theater at Emisora Nuevo Mundo.
Much of the live programming on CARACOL was originated in this studio, including "Los Tolimenses" and many other music and comedy shows. The stage is decorated for the program sponsored by Icasa, the national refrigerator manufacturer (note the product at the far left). 
Radio Santa Fé - Bogota. 
Lobby to 1070 AM station Radio Santa Fé (named after the full name of the city, Santa Fé de Bogotá) with the studio in the background. Radio Santa Fé enjoyed great success for many years by announcing taxi calls on the air in an era before radio taxis existed. Listeners called Santa Fé and taxi drivers could hear if there was a fare nearby, often occasioning a taxi traffic jam and consequent drivers fight when more than one taxi arrived for a single passenger!
For a history of this pioneer station, click on the photo above.
Radio Santa Fé live broadcast studio.
Yet another radio theater. Santa Fé had theirs set up for local music groups as can be seen from the profusion of music stands. Live broadcasts of national music were made every evening.  This station was also an early programmer of Colombian music such as cumbia and vallenata. 
Radio Santa Fé control room
Note the ubiquitous Gates consoles of the era. These boards were found in a majority of larger, more modern stations in Latin America. 
Radio Nutibara - Medellín
The top floor of the short building housed Radio Nutibara, a local AM on 1170 AM. 
Nutibara Mobil Unit - 1963
Note the two loudspeaker horns on the roof. 
Raido Visión & Radio Claridad - Medellín
Visión was on 830 AM and Claridad on 1030, and were the affiliates of the Todelar net named after the founder and owner, Bernardo TObón DE LA Roche
Radio Sinfonía - Medellín
25,000 watt station on 910 AM.  
Radio Ritmos - Medellín
Local music station on 1290 AM, a Colombian local channel at the time. The AM dial in Colombia was divided into regional (540-1000), provincial(100-1250) and local segments (1260-1600) with higher power stations on the lower frequencies and 1 kw limits on the ones over 1260 kHz.
Ecos de la Montaña 790 AM Medellín
Todelar - Cali
Radio El Sol 900 and several other stations including radio Musical 980 were in this building. Todelar, an acronym based on the name of the owner, Jaiem TObón DE LA Roche, is one of the three major networks of the nation. More on Todelar at
Todelar - Cali
Radio theater with studios positioned above the audience.
Radio Pacífico de Cali
1020 AM facility was a part of RCN, the third and oldest of the Colombian national networks. Drive-by view of the transmitter site near the Cali airport.  
La Voz del Valle - Cali
Radio Continental - Bogotá
RCN flagship station in Bogotá. This was the only station in normally
hospitable Colombia where I was denied a tour.
Studio - Radio Melodía 730 AM Bogotá
Announcer at Radio Melodía in Bogotá
Office staff - Radio Melodía
CARACOL - Barranquilla.
Caracol had just expanded its Barranquilla operations and was building new facilities for La Voz del Litoral (The Voice of the Shoreline) on 1220 AM. They also operated Radio Reloj on 1100 AM.  
La Voz de la Costa - Barranquilla
At this modern and new station, I was interviewed by Gabriel Forero Sanmiguel, the owner and renowned local radio journalist. Mr. Forrero had just installed this, his first station and was very proud to receive a "distinguished foreign broadcaster" I was 16 and had only been a part-time board operator!

Here is an article about Mr. Forero Sanmiguel:
Gabriel Forero Sanmiguel, a distinguished colombian journalist who used to work from his home in the city of Barranquilla (Atlantico), Colombia, for many years. He created the daily news radio program "Forero Sanmiguel Informa". He also was the Co-founder of the Radio Station "La Voz de la Costa". Gabriel Forero Sanmiguel put into action a new style of radio in Barranquilla, offering the public the broadcasting of beautiful popular instrumental music from all over the world, limited advertisement and news from all parts of the world every hour in the hour. "La Voz de la Costa" delighted the public with this innovated or unique style. In his radio station and news program Gabriel Forero Sanmiguel counted with the cooperation of his wife Mrs Enohe de Forero (aka) Martica, several of his children and Ms Fanny Esther Castellar as a broadcaster, who was also his secretary. Gabriel Forero Sanmiguel is a veteran of the Radio's World in the North East Coast of Colombia who left his indelible mark in the heart of the people of Barranquilla. The Universidad Autónoma del Caribe recognized Mr Gabriel Forero San Miguel with the Vida y Obra (Life and work) award in 2007. Gabriel Forero Sanmiguel will always be in the heart of the Barranquilla's people as its own son.