At 88, “A Voz do Brasil” draws new listeners, keeps loyal audience
The radio broadcast promotes citizenship, university professor says
Published on 24/07/2023 - 11:48 By Lucas Pordeus León - Brasília
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Radio broadcast A Voz do Brasil (“The Voice of Brazil”) is celebrating its 88th anniversary. The program is the oldest still on air in the Southern Hemisphere, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The program was created on July 22, 1935, by then-President Getúlio Vargas, and its transmission became mandatory for all stations in 1938, during the Estado Novo regime. In 2015, A Voz do Brasil was allowed to be aired from 7pm to 11pm, from Monday to Friday.
In the first decades of its existence, when radio was the main means of communication in Brazil, the program, then called Hora do Brasil (“Brazil Hour,” or “Brazil Time”), was the main source of information about the government for a large number of people, especially in rural areas. In 1962, the Legislative Branch took up a section of the program, which today also presents reports from the Judiciary branch and the Federal Court of Accounts.
Despite the advance of television and the internet, A Voz do Brasil retains its loyal audience, which includes 77-year-old retiree Raimundo Nonato de Oliveira. He says he learned about the Vietnam War, World War II, and the first man on the moon through the show.
“We learn about things like education, health care, and transportation. It’s a general overview of the country. Even today, it’s A Voz do Brazil that keeps folks in the woods, in the countryside, and in the rubber plantations informed,” he said. Nonato lives in the northern state of Acre, in the Brazilian Amazon.
The program also brings news to younger generations. “A Voz do Brazil is part of my life,” said 29-year-old journalist and quilombola Janaína Neri, who lives in the state of Bahia, in the Northeast.
She said her community did not have electricity until she was 18, so the broadcast has always been one of the chief sources of information in the quilombo.
The last survey on the program’s audience, published in 2015, reports that 32 percent of Brazilians listened to A Voz do Brasil at least once a week. The study was conducted by Ibope Inteligência, at the request of the president’s office.
Communication Professor at the University of Brasília (UnB) Fernando Oliveira Paulino pointed out that A Voz do Brasil promotes citizenship as it brings the federal capital closer to the most remote areas.
“The program has always been essential in reporting the inner activities of the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislative branches. It’s still alive today even after the latest technological changes because it lets the people know exactly how our rulers are taking action,” he noted.
A Voz do Brasil is a necessity because it brings transparency to acts of government, says EBC President Hélio Doyle, further describing the program as “heritage of Brazilian radio.” EBC has 25 minutes allocated to the Executive in the transmission.
“It’s one of the government’s tools for keeping a direct contact with the people. It’s come under criticism for some time, right? It was as if the ruler, whoever they are, should not address people directly; as if there had to be a middleman,” he argued, adding that the government needs a direct communication channel with citizens.
Translation: Fabrício Ferreira - Edition: Juliana Andrade