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In Latin America, the radio was of fundamental importance to the development of this new “verbal feuilleton” (Hippolyte-Ortega, 1988; Gambaro, 1996; Martín-Barbero, 1992). The radionovela (radio soap opera) initially appeared in Cuba and Argentina in the form of radioteatro (radio theater), embracing the melodramatic recipe once more.

Initially in Argentina radionovelas were called radioteatros, because the circus brought the stories to the theatrical stage. The "circo criollo" (Creole circus) was a combination of circus ring, acrobatics, and dramatic performances, which traveled the country retelling the stories of myths and legends of the Argentinean cowboys (Franco, 1985; Seibel, 1993). The gaucho theme incorporated in newspaper serials merged with the melodramatic antics of the circus and found its way into the radionovelas. Radio actors would tour the country enacting the same melodramas they once broadcast in the radio format in order for the radionovelas followers to be able to see what they had previously heard (Martín-Barbero, 1992).

Cuban radionovelas had great impact in Latin America, having Havana as the major exporter of radio programs to the entire region (Mendonza, 1996, Sinclair, 1999). The historical progression of the radionovelas in Cuba goes back to the practice of reading aloud to tobacco factory workers. Originating in European prisons and convents, this custom of reading books and serialized stories was first introduced in the middle of the nineteen-century to Cuban prisoners who worked rolling cigars and later it spread to the tobacco factories (Ortiz, 1973). The radio language incorporated the same rhythm and tones utilized by the factory lectors to emphasized the emotions of the stories, giving Cuban radionovelas a characteristic accent (Martín-Barbero, 1992). The airwaves soon began to compete with the readings, and many lectors went on to work for the radio. Eventually, in the cigar factories, the readings were substituted by the new broadcast medium (Ortiz, 1973).

To understand the reasons behind Cuban radionovelas dominance throughout the Latin American region, we need to review the structure of this country's radio broadcast system. American companies such as RCA, General Electric, and Westinghouse provided the necessary technical equipment to its neighbor. However, the United States’ influence went beyond technical support. Cuba also adopted the U.S. model of privately owned commercial radio broadcast (Schwoch, 1990). Since the1920's when the Cuban Telephone Company implemented the local radio system, listeners tuned into American radio stations. There were no training centers to form professionals knowledgeable in radio technology, programming, or advertising. There was also a lack of specialized radio literature, which made American books the most sought after resource on the subject. Audience potential was impressive, with the estimation that, in 1933, Cuba was the fourth country in the world in the number of radio sets, coming right after the U.S., Canada, and the USSR (Lopez, 1981). Therefore, Cuba built a radio broadcast system that mirrored the US’ most advanced commercial model, staffed by highly specialized technical and artistic personnel (Ortiz, 1991).



 



 


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements / Dedication - Abstract

CHAPETER 1- INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31-32-33-34-35-36-37-38-39





Acknowledgements / Dedication -

Abstract


CHAPETER 1- INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

CHAPTER III - THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

CHAPTER IV - THE STUDY

CHAPTER V - THE RESULTS

CHAPTER VI - CONCLUSION

APPENDIX - MESSAGES STUDIED

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