Essay Sample for Everyone: Radio Broadcasting in Spain during Francos Regime

Published: 2022-05-20
Essay Sample for Everyone: Radio Broadcasting in Spain during Francos Regime
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Media
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1786 words
15 min read

The Golden Age of Broadcasting in Spain is in the forties and fifties from a pre-television country, with an illiteracy rate of 35% and decimation after the Civil War (Diaz 104). The radio was presented as the most important means of communication since 1939. First, because of its propagandistic relevance during the immediate Civil War: it was stated that "he had won battles". Also, because of his ability to reach a population away from the press because of its illiteracy, poverty, and lack of concentration even in large urban centers. Faced with these theoretical advantages, reality presented, as will be seen, no few difficulties for its extension during a period that historiography defines as "first Francoism" and that includes the years analyzed in this investigation. These previous questions make reference to a framework that facilitates explaining the objective of this investigation: an analysis of radio audiences in Spain between 1939 and 1959. Interest comes, first of all, the scant attention that his historical study has received. Almost always, works of a general nature or of scholarly local studies are centered on a given station or prior to the Franco regime, to cite some cases.

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The reason is clear: the sources are scarce. Sources are scattered and do not offer much reliability at times. However, it is necessary to offer a study of these sources, make their criticism and provide the corresponding results to have at least a starting point from which to build new research. The aspect of interest in this research comes from establishing the capacity influence of Radio National of Spain as a spokesman for the Franco regime since it held the information monopoly in all Spanish territory since the Order of 6 of October 1939(Diaz 109). Some specific and transversal historical perspectives such as History of Social Communication offer keys of interest for a greater and better understanding of a specific period, since communication constitutes, together with politics, society or the economy, one of the basic structures of a certain society. In this case, it is important to know the scope of a means of communication such as public radio, to assess the effectiveness of propaganda in sustaining a dictatorship like the Franco regime, who ruled Spain for almost forty years.

Starting from the hypothesis that there were different audiences because of the regional differences, social, political, economic, even gender, were very marked in the Spain of then, and that the pro-Franco propaganda, like the Nazi one, was very mechanistic: the same message for all without taking into account the tastes of the listeners. Different sources have been used in this approach. Of great importance have been the Statistical Yearbooks of Spain that collect the official data on the payment of the radio-audition tax. In the analysis of this information must be taken into account that not all radio owners paid the license annually (Diaz 119). This was influenced both by avoiding a further payment, and not falling under a new administrative control. The authorities knew it. However, they are very useful to solve two questions: estimate how many radio receivers existed in Spain and their evolution over time.

The Statistical Yearbooks of Spain have no continuity during the period imported: 1939 to 1960. In particular, there is no data between 1943 and 1946 (both, even) and between 1948 and 1954. But this gap has been covered with the valuable information offered by the Statistical Yearbook of UNESCO for the years 1948 and 1953 (Diaz 123). It is difficult to make evaluations of the trend. These can be offered if the concealments are assumed to be statistically constants (there were no special governmental measures to avoid this fact) and that they adjust to the general picture without striking breaks and contradictions with qualitative data and testimonial offered by other sources. On the other hand, with the statistical material on the audiences an analysis of quantitative content has been carried out to establish the evolution of the number of radio sets in Spain, the same evolution by regions, as well as the evolution of the number of licenses.

As regards broadcasting, the objectives of the Francoist administration were two in 1939: the construction of a broadcasting model that would make exploitation compatible private sector with a rigid governmental control and the popularization of radio: "that Radio, as an instrument of State, reach the last village; for this it can even endow free of receivers ". However, it was soon seen that the resources did not allow to carry out that plan, although it will be affirmed that "in no case like ours, born of war and legitimized by victory, will abandon Radio, because it would be to abandon precisely the basis of the cultural and political education of the Spanish people "(Espinet 10). The destructions of the Civil War and the almost immediate outbreak of the Second War World left the reconstruction in the hands of its very few possibilities. So that, during the 1940s and much of the 1950s, the main difficulties in listening to Radio in Spain were linked to the poverty of the country: few stations and low power, deficient electrical fluid, poor quality of emissions and, above all, the shortage of radio receivers. In addition, these devices were a double-edged sword for the regime: they facilitated the reception of official propaganda, but they could also escape their control. Since it was not possible to control the broadcasting waves, they tried to do it with those who could "navigate" through them.

According to statistics on the number of licenses to use radio devices issued during the period from 1936 to 1960, of course, the number of receivers was greater than that of licenses, economic precariousness, resistance to a control of the hacienda and other related aspects with politics. In any case, from the statistics, three phases can be established in the evolution of the Radio equipment in Spain. The first one would cover from 1939 to 1942. During the three years that followed the Civil War, there was a clear stagnation, even during the first, when the payment of licenses receded. The translation to devices per thousand inhabitants it was 11 to 12, which is explained by the post-war context and the severe shortage alluded to. In short, there were few devices which were very expensive for a poor country. For example, an official publication - National Radio - referred to the fact as a "Vicious circle" and recalled that "before erecting powerful stations or networks of broadcasters for retransmissions "should be attended to the" careless, forgotten and shaking radio listener " (Espinet 11). Of course, the general economic situation prevented the demand for receiving devices as they could not be covered nor did the policy of economic autarky facilitate things, because the purchase of radio sets abroad required an authorization from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Similarly, the manufacturing and import data of receivers show the Spanish incapacity to manufacture apparatuses at the end of the Civil War and the need to resort to importing. The consequence was the fall of the available receivers. The descent of the devices manufactured in Spain and the limitations of the autarchy led to a paradoxical situation: agreements were being attempted to buy receptors from Germany and England. These negotiations, as can be seen in the documentation studied in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they were delayed and did not lead to anything concrete. This is understood if one takes into account that the World War broke out in September 1939. These circumstances explain that the decrease was seen in 1941 - in three-quarters parts of the one corresponding to 1936- would not have been recovered in 1944. The contraction of the offer increased prices, although the scarcity of resources did not allow for absorbing devices put on the market (Diaz 124). The Radio National magazine described this situation in comic terms but manifested a patent difficulty. It was recognized that acquiring a radio was forbidden at all.

The same source describes the price of the devices as exorbitant. In addition, the payment of the annual broadcasting license was mandatory. That's not counting, according to the official magazine, with insufficient electrical fluid that caused a large number of breakdowns (Especially in valves and electronic lamps). While the second period points the advances towards a recovery of the audiences between 1943 and 1948, it is passed from the eleven apparatuses per thousand inhabitants in 1939 to twenty-five for 1948. This improvement does not perceive public opinion. In fact, it is curious that in 1945 an editorial of a publication Government will affirm: "Because of the prices that reach receptors in Spain, it seems that only the bourgeoisie has access to the honest pleasures of radio. For less than 1,500 pesetas, an almost bad receiver is bought; the medium ones exceed 2,000; the good ones reach almost cosmic figures. None of these is within reach of the pockets of the modest Spaniards. Therefore, the task of popularizing radio is imposed as a matter of urgency. We need receivers at affordable prices. No home without a radio, and in every home, the family around the radio! " (Espinet 17).

In conclusion, the modest growth rate that took place during this period indicates that a broadcasting device continued to be an affordable expense only for a relatively well-situated family. They could not think about it most of the classes popular or peasant. The warm recovery of the audiences presented a panorama little optimistic for a medium in which, paradoxically, the official propaganda deposited so much hope. It was not until 1949 that a third and last period of growth and consolidation of the number of receivers in Spain was talked about. In this process, three waves can be distinguished. The first, from 1949 to 1953, was very modest. As much as it declared itself "No home without a radio, and in every home, the family around the radio!", the same publication, in 1950, noted the Spanish delay: "apart from the laziness of certain extensive sectors of our population, we note the excessive cost of the recipients and the lack of a popular type that with small disbursement, adequate to the possibilities of the majority of the population, guarantee an efficient service "(Espinet 23). Thus, the popularization of the radio is placed, within the third wave, between 1955 and 1960, when radio receivers are universalized as "appliances of leisure ". The Institute of Public Opinion pointed out that, in 1954, electronic objects. The radio receivers had been the most gifted, followed by the radio receivers heating and lamps. Already in 1955, they were displaced to a third place, behind the pressure cookers and electric washing machines, but since 1956 it has outperformed the press daily (Juan 9). Thus, at the beginning of the sixties, the declared recipients had multiplied by four with respect to 1942. By then, and until it was surpassed by the television, radio was the main source of leisure and the main means of communication for the Spanish society.

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