Monday, 21 August 2017

Radio Hoohah

It's hard getting an FM radio licence here in Andalucía. You need the written permission of the appropriate department in the Junta de Andalucía or you will end up with a huge fine. Huge. I was working for La COPE in Mojácar for a while. La COPE - the radio in the tower at the Parque Comercial - was part of a large radio presence owned, thanks to an edict from Franco, by Spain's bishops. You become a bishop, you get to share control of the COPE, you become an archbishop, well, you are on to other and no doubt greater responsibilities.
The Junta de Andalucía doesn't like the COPE. It's reporting is obviously rather right-wing, and the Junta's politics are firmly to the left.
So, the Junta sent a letter while I was at the radio. Your station is to be closed down as you have no licence and your 'dial' - your frequency - is to be given to La SER (a left-wing station, owned by the El País people). There wasn't a SER in Mojácar at the time, but some fellows were easily enough rounded up and the broadcasts quickly began.
Shortly after that, they moved to Vera.
So, the COPE was closed (a fine of 600,000€ was mentioned by the smoked-salmon socialists of Seville). In fact, although the COPE is one of the top three commercial stations in Spain, there are no COPE FMs in the whole of Andalucía.
Around the same time, another Mojácar radio, Radio Cool, was also closed by decree following a compliant from a competitor, and a smaller if still considerable fine was levied against that radio as well.
Mojácar's only radio today is Spectrum, which has a peculiar (indeed, unique) licence from the Ministry of the Interior in Madrid.
Mojácar has a licence for a 'municipal radio', but the mayoress doesn't want anything in Spanish on the local airwaves, as, well, they might say the wrong thing in a moment of madness...
Another radio which was causing problems for the Junta, no licence and the wrong politics, was Radio La Marinera, broadcast out of Puerto Rey by a retired pop singer called Andrés Caparrós.  After another huge fine and other threats, Andrés started broadcasting on the Internet and through the social media (which the Junta can't control), but he has now thrown in the towel, it says here, after a number of years of his radio broadcast. Not many people listen to satellite radio, beyond a few die-hard Radio 4 listeners connected to their digiboxes.
Internet or satellite radio may be the way forward, but governments can't control the content and, for this reason, European cars are not fitted with satellite radio. Imagine that.

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