Radio stations: AM transmission | FM transmission

Notes on the History of Radio Transmission in the Dominican Republic

The history of radio in the Dominican Republic began during the first US military occupation between 1916 and 1924 when radio and telegraphic systems were installed for strategic reasons.

In 1926, Dominican radio amateurs broke into the field. Engineer, Frank Hatton Guerrero, president of the Radio Club of Santo Domingo built a small, low wattage AM (amplitude modulation) radio to create what would be the first broadcasting signal in the country and which later adopted the initials HIRC (Hispaniola Radio Club). Due to technical problems this radio station had an ephemeral existence.

On April 8, 1928 HIX began to broadcast as the official radio station of the Dominican Republic with the assistance of then President, Horacio Vásquez and his wife Trina de Moya. This was the first day the Dominican national anthem was ever played on the radio. The radio had a 250 watt transmitter, developed by Manuel Emilio Nanita, who, in 1924, was appointed Director of Radio and Telephone Communications once the US troops had left the country. Nanita played an important role in strengthening and broadening the country’s telecommunications system.

With HIX’s operations up and running, the Dominican Republic became one of the first countries in Latin America to have international radio broadcasts.
In 1928, the radio station CRS, founded by Pedro Escobosa, Mario Vallejo,  Andrómeda Pérez and Luis Alberti, began to air from Santiago de los Caballeros. Between that year and 1940, other stations began to appear. Talking on radio during this time was seen as pure entertainment and very few people believed in the future of the radio industry.
In the beginning, radio was nourished by notable intellectuals and artists as the station owners tried to recruit the participation of people of culture. The radio stations functioning during that period are the following:

  • HIJK, in 1927, property of Tuto Báez.

  • HI4D, The Voice of Quisqueya, in 1931, José Santamaría’s.  The announcer, Carlos Vallejo of la Concha introduced for the first time The Ases Negrito Chapuseaux and Francisco Simó Damirón, who were the first singers to carry the sounds of merengue to foreign shores. This was also the first radio station in the country where, in 1935, an announcers strike occurred.  The only two announcers behind the microphone at the time, Carlos Vallejo de la Concha and Enrique Santamaría, halted the transmissions.

  • HIT, «The Hit of the Air,» in 1931, owned by Antonio Sanabia Rojas.

  • HIL, «The Voice of the Tropics,» in 1932, owned by Joaquín Custals. This station was initially installed in the city of San Francisco de Macorís, in 1931, by Luís Raúl Betances.

  • HILS, in 1932, from Puerto Plata, founded by Generoso Sarnelly. Several months later it was moved to Santiago de los Caballeros. The station was then turned over to Trujillo’s lackeys who later moved it to San Cristobal.

  • HIN, «The Voice of the Dominican Party,” began on August 16, 1935. This station had the benefit of a powerful, 750 watt transmitter. The station was dedicated to spreading propaganda about the activities of the Dominican Party. Later HIN was turned into a commercial radio station. During these years, HIN and HI5K, owned by Emilio Garden, joined together to form the United Broadcasters under the direction of Pedro Julio Santana. The United Broadcasters were the first to transmit live interviews directly from the street.

  • HIN was one the first stations to run dramatic radio serials. HIN also produced the first radio commercials using a tape recorder built by the technician Juan Salazar who pieced the equipment together from various sources.
  • HI9B, on April 21, 1936, the «Broadcasting of Hotel Mercedes,» founded by Morito Sánchez. The stationed broadcast, in 1050 KHz AM, from the Roof Garden of the Hotel Mercedes,  on Calle March 30th, corner of Máximo Gómez. Later, it was renamed «The Voice of Hispaniola.»
  • The Voice of Commerce, in 1936, from Santiago de los Caballeros, founded by Moisés Franco. The first news broadcast of Santiago was done here by announcer and journalist Rafael C. Senior.
  • In 1937, HIG, from 950 KHz., in Santo Domingo, built and directed by Andrés Cordero Puello (Pupo) y Radio Cibao (980 KHz) in Santiago de los Caballeros.
  • HI5G, in La Vega, and HIH in San Pedro de Macorís, in 1937.  On April 18th 1938 the first official radio announcers exam was given in Santo Domingo by the Dominican government with the intention of standardizing the country’s national radio broadcasts.
  • HI9T, in Puerto Plata, on March 14 1941, called «Broadcasting Tropical.»
  • The Voice of Yuna HI1U, founded in Bonao by Colonel José Arismendi Trujillo Molina, began transmissions in 1943. Some time later, it became the most innovative broadcast in the country and one of the best in the Americas. Starting in 1944, it became the first radio station to hire international artistic and cultural figures. The Voice of Yuna remained in Bonao until May 17, 1946.  The following day, it emerged with a new RCA 10,000 Watt transmitter in medium wave length and with an additional 7 Watt short wave radio from the Dominican capital, then referred to as Trujillo City.  On March 29, 1947 the construction of Palace Radio-Television got underway and is still operating today. On January 1, 1949 the name was changed to “The Dominican Voice” then later called “Dominican Radio-TV.”  Currently, it is called the State Corporation for Radio and Television (CERTV).
  • On February 21, 1943 in San Cristobal HI1R hit the airwaves with a 6,425 KHz frequency on the 46.69-meter band width.
  • In 1944, from the hills of the Colon Theater of Santiago de los Caballeros, HI8Z had its debut, «Radio Santiago,» founded by Felipe Moscoso.
  • In 1945, also in Santiago, the station HISA was inaugurated “The Voice of Reelection,» founded by Expedi Pou and located in the Yaque Restaurant on 30th of March Street. Bullo Stefani initiated a program called “Today’s Sports” on this station. Later, after the overthrow of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in 1961, the station became known as «Radio Cibao.»

Since this time, Dominican radio had been in the vanguard of radio technology. During the 1950s, some private stations emerged and hired people previously purged by the regime. In the early 1960s, with the physical disappearance of Trujillo, the winds of freedom were blowing in the Dominican Republic. Other private radio stations were taking to the airwaves.

Competition increased, further encouraging technological development of the radio stations. Cartridge tape players, a milestone in modern radio (prototypes from 1958-59), were installed in radio stations at the beginning of the 60s, putting the DR on the same level as the most important radio stations of the world.

On May 3, 1967 the independent operation of the Frequency Modulation (FM) band went into full swing in the Dominican Republic where, since 1952 and up until this time, the only radio signal used to link radio studios with their transmitters was the AM band.  Radio HIGO, at 97.5 MHz was the first FM station with its own programming which featured light instrumental music. Currently, it still exists with the name “Station 97.7” and continues with a similar on-air format.  

Before the end of the decade, on May 30, 1969, the country enjoyed the luxury of installing its first FM stereophonic radio station: HIJB-FM (95.7MHz), which, along with Radio HIGO, continued for the next several years to broadcast independent transmissions on their airwaves. In 1978 other stations began to seek independent FM frequency transmissions with entirely musical formats. This year saw the creation of Radio Universal AM and FM; HILX (102.1 MHz); Radio Cima (100.5 MHz); Radio Listín FM (99.5 MHz).

But the real “boom” occurred right at the end of the 1970s. The year, 1978 was a definitive year for FM radio in the country. This became clear when Radio Universal, using the most sophisticated radio technology to date as well as the innovative format of uninterrupted popular music (24/7), reached the same level as the most important radio stations of the United States.
Later, with the incorporation of the FM dial, Dominican radio continued its technological development offering listeners sophisticated national coverage from a huge variety of programs and formats.
The first third of the 1980s witnessed the beginning of totally automatic radio. Radio Central and other such stations like Radio Comercio and Z-101 and Hits 92 were among the first.

On June 14, 1986, the digital age came to Dominican radio when 91 FM and Classical Radio 97.5 began, for the first time, to use compact discs. By 1988, these discs totally replaced vinyl records in the regular transmissions of these stations.

In June 1987, 91 FM and Classical Radio 97.5 began to use SDR (Digital Radio System), software designed and developed by its personnel team for general administration and for commercials. This was also the year of the computerization of Dominican radio. Another advance for Dominican radio that occurred in the 1990s was the installation of digital systems to process sound, CD recorders, 360 Systems, DAT (Digital Audio Tape) and MiniDisc. All these were developed and used for program reproduction, commercials and on-air promotional announcements.

The above was extracted from the document A Short History of Radio in the Dominican Republic, published by
Visit History of Dominican Television


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