António Rego

The biography of the priest and journalist born in the Azores indicates that he worked at Rádio Renascença (Lisbon) from 1968 to 1975. When he arrived, the station was fragile in terms of transmitters. The medium waves had limited power and the FM network was just starting up. Religious broadcasts consisted of morning prayer and a meditation, in addition to the transmission of the Sunday Eucharist and the Rosary.

António Rego immediately undertook the organisation of social discussion programmes, with a view to everyday reality. One was the weekly programme Verdade e Vida, prepared by a team of young people and where they discussed their problems. The lectures themselves - a prevalent feature of radio up until then - were fruitless, so it was worth listening to the opinion of the listeners. With a group of young people, usually ten, he would get together and talk with a tape recorder turned on, on subjects such as the media, exams, popular saints, the beach, getting boys and girls together, women's day. There were about six to ten hours of conversation, followed by the editing of what was interesting to keep, and the illustration through a song, poem or note, for which Alberto Campinho was responsible. The programme was presented by António Rego and Dora Maria, with the collaboration of Joaquim Pedro, Maria José Baião, Maria Margarida, Isa Maria and José Manuel Nunes, who were, after all, the big names of the station in that period. The editing was done by the technicians Mário Soares and José Videira (Nova Antena, 18 July 1969).

At the end of 1969, the programme was banned by the Estado Novo censorship: something had been said about education and the political power did not like it. According to António Rego: "We played a kind of game with the censors, without much drama and always having a great appreciation for freedom of expression. We felt surrounded in many ways. Even with some revolt at not being able to express ourselves fully, as was the case with the themes of social justice, the social encyclicals and others" (p. 80 of the book below). That was followed by the programmes Esquema XIII, which went from weekly to daily, Diálogo com os que Sofrem, Palavra do Dia and ceremonies. In the meantime, he took over as studio regent, the equivalent of the current programmes’ director. He was manager of tensions and debates at the end of the authoritarian regime. In the period 1974-1975, during a struggle between the management board and a group of professionals who had occupied the studios in Lisbon, he was a bridge between the two, in the attempts of conciliation.

In television, he started collaborating with RTP in 1968 for the broadcasting of masses. Also of note in his career is the work in the cooperative Logomédia, audiovisual production centre, the writing of chronicles in Diário de Notícias, the programme 70×7 (1979), in TVI (1993) as information director, the National Secretariat for Media and the Ecclesia agency.

I note an article of opinion he wrote at the time of the award of the national FM frequency in 1985, to constitute the second channel, RFM, and the political issue (the parliament wanted to revert the award of the frequency). António Rego advocated that the frequency should be awarded to Rádio Renascença, considering that the Catholic Church did not receive any money from the station but, on the contrary, had an "enormous waste of energies and resources". Over the years, he had been on a constant national petition to guarantee the resources to make radio a modern medium. And he considered that "a radio frequency that is granted is not a pirate cassette that is lent out for a fortnight. It implies an investment in broadcasters, equipment, production and realisation".

(Part of the text was initially published on 19 June 2014, on the Cultural Industries blog, based on the book by António Rego, in an interview with Paulo Rocha, 2014, A Ilha e o Verbo. Lisbon: Paulinas, 286 pages).

Rogério Santos, 2014/2020

Original text with images, at

Author: Rogério Santos, 2022

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