Rádio Clube de Moçambique

Mozambique became one of the largest Portuguese colonies, after the independence of Brazil in 1822. Located in East Africa and bordering with South Africa, it has always been quite influenced by this neighbour.

The first radio station in Mozambique, called Grémio dos Radiófilos da Colónia de Moçambique, began broadcasting in March 1933 in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), but suspended broadcasting for some time in 1934 due to lack of money. The initial decision was to hire a musical quartet to fill the schedule. In 1935, the orchestra gave way to broadcasting musical concerts from a tea room in the city.

As it reached South Africa and Rhodesia (the latter now divided into Zambia and Zimbabwe), the Mozambican radio opened a selection process for announcers to speak in Portuguese and English, with the openings "Boas noites, minhas senhoras e senhores. Aqui Lourenço Marques CR7AA, estação emissora do Grémio dos Radiófilos, trabalhando na frequência de 6.137 quilociclos, onda de quarenta e oito metros e oitenta e oito centímetros” and “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is Lourenço Marques Radio”. Artists would pass through the station, radio parties were organised, children's contests were held, the private orchestra (quintet and salon orchestra) and news production resumed. The conductor Belo Marques, loaned by Emissora Nacional, to which he belonged, went to the colony to work on organising the musical groups of Rádio Clube de Moçambique. He stimulated the musical life of the city, through Momentos Musicais at the Gil Vicente Theatre, and collected African popular music, a pioneering example of collection and useful for the compositions he gathered under the name Fantasia Negra (Black Fantasy) (1939-1942). The station had significant radio drama shows. In 1938, the station had 17 European employees, illustrating the idea of a radio aimed at the white population (Portuguese and English) and not at the African one. Only in the late 1950s and especially during the 1960s did the station start broadcasting in the national languages: Ronga, Sena, Nhúngue, Shangane, Chuabo and Macua. The colonial war accelerated the process.

In 1948, the radio station was set up in a four-storey building known as Radio House, with offices on the ground floor and production services on the first and second floors, to which were added the 300-seat studio-auditorium and programme studios, with seven announcing booths. On the two highest floors, the station had a record library (70,000 records), music archive and musical instrument storage, a ballroom and management offices. At that time, the name Grémio de Radiófilos (Radiophiles' Guild) (1937) was changed to Rádio Clube de Moçambique, and it slowly spread throughout the country. Besides the broadcasting centre in Lourenço Marques, on medium and short waves, the station had regional broadcasters at Porto Amélia, Nampula, Quelimane, Dondo, Tete, Vila Cabral (now Lichinga), Inhambane and Vila Pery (now Chimoio). In addition to Portuguese (programme A), it began broadcasting programmes in English very early on, to capture publicity from South Africa. French and the country's national languages were later added. In 1934, the South African G. J. McHarry was hired as the commercial agent in South Africa. After World War II, with the reopening to the South African advertising market, the length of broadcasts in English and Afrikaans were extended.

In February 1947, the station management decided to create an English and Afrikaans language section independent of the Portuguese language section, programme B, which would adopt the name LM Radio in November 1948, with English-speaking announcers. The station would have advertising competition from Springbok Radio in 1950 of the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) group. LM Radio moved to 24-hour daily broadcasting from March 1964. In March 1958, Rádio Clube de Moçambique introduced a French-language Sunday broadcast aimed at the Belgian Congo and the French colonial territories in Africa, targeting external radio advertising markets. Programme C began in December 1962, without advertising and predominantly filled with classical music items, to reach a segment of listeners in Lourenço Marques, moving to FM in January 1963. Programme D, commercial, initially covering the capital and an area of up to 60-70 kilometres, started up in January 1968. In 1970, the station broadcast daily in stereo from 6:30pm to 11:00pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 3:00pm to 11:00pm. The station would also make direct international reports, such as the roller hockey championship in Montreux (Switzerland), given the quality of the Mozambican players in the Portuguese team.

Despite being a private institution with an associative nature, its alignment with the State led Rádio Clube de Moçambique to become an official station and a powerful instrument of political propaganda, but with enormous power to capture external revenue from radio advertising. In the north of the colony, Jorge Jardim's Emissora do Aeroclube da Beira and Rádio Clube de Moçambique established an agreement in principle in January 1956. The city of Beira had one more station from October 1954, called Rádio Pax, a Catholic broadcaster created in October 1953. At the end of the 1960s, Voz de Moçambique was created, a station with strict political control, broadcasting the ideals of colonialism at a time of expansion of the colonial or liberation war.

Original text with images, at https://radio.hypotheses.org/4042.

Autor: Rogério Santos, 2021.

#radioclubemoçambique #moçambique #biografia

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