Shortwave Center, February 1998
Radio Canção Nova
(Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil)
Pedro M. C. de Castro
Lorena – SP – Brazil
The Valley of Paraiba River is a long strip of flat lands in Brazil, just above the Tropic of Capricorn and near the Atlantic Ocean. From centuries, it has been the natural path between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Several cities were born in this zone, from small to big ones.
Three tropical and shortwave stations operate in the Valley: Radio Difusora in Taubate, Aparecida in Aparecida and Canção Nova in Cachoeira Paulista.
Cachoeira Paulista is a quiet and small village with 24,000 inhabitants, at 127 miles from Rio and 121 from Sao Paulo. Its economy is based mainly on livestock and agriculture. Besides its radio and TV station, the only noticeable organization in the city is a branch of the National Institute for Space Research, with labs for remote sensing (satellite images) and weather forecast.
The Early Days of Radio in Cachoeira Paulista
If you have an old edition of the World Radio and TV Handbook (prior to 1981), look at the Brazilian section and you will find Radio Bandeirantes of Cachoeira Paulista, 250 Watts on 1510 kHz. For thirty years, the old Radio Bandeirantes (former Radio Uranio) was only one more low-powered mediumwave station in a small city, just like many and many others in Brazil. Could someone foresee that this station would receive thousands of letters from its listeners someday?
This panorama started to change when Father Jonas Abib came to work for the Faculty of Philosophy in Lorena, close to Cachoeira Paulista. He began to join the young people for meditation, prayer and evangelization. This group, named Canção Nova, started to produce programs and hire airtime in the stations of Lorena, Cruzeiro, Cachoeira Paulista and Passa Quatro.
Some time later, the Bandeirantes Radio Network decided to sell its station in Cachoeira Paulista. After a campaign for donations, the Canção Nova Group finally purchased its own radio station on May 25th 1980.
To be precise, they bought just a little more than a radio channel. The signal barely reached the neighbour cities, 10 miles away. The studio was very old and no one could walk during live transmissions, due to the creak of the old boards in the ground. The transmitter was in a swampy area near Paraiba River and mud was a problem for everybody, except for an alligator found by the operator.
The Canção Nova studios.
Building New Facilities
The first days were hard. Few people believed that an evangelical station would be successful, and the Canção Nova Group needed to convince the community. But thanks again to donations, Radio Canção Nova started to move to its new site, a small farm in a hill near the city. The new studio was made literally by volunteer manpower and donated materials. After the studio, other buildings were made along the years: a hangar for Masses and prayer, a restaurant, a lodging house, the Audio Visual Department and the TV studios. These buildings are surrounded by big threes, and the farm is a pleasant place to go. Some weekend celebrations are attended by over 15,000 persons coming from everywhere.
Radio Canção Nova Today
Radio Canção Nova is a department of a Foundation, João Paulo II, which has 160 persons, 30 of them working in the radio station.
To increase power to 10 kW, frequency was shifted from 1510 to 1020 kHz, and shortwaves came out in 1985. Other frequencies are 4825, 6105 and 9675 kHz. All transmitters provide 10 kW, but only 5 kW are used on 6105, because this channel is shared with Radio Cultura in Foz do Iguacu, in Southwest. The 49 m antenna is fixed close to a hill, used as a barrier to avoid propagation to the South and West. The antenna for 31 m band uses 4 dipoles in a cubic array, while the 60 and 49 m band antennas consist of twin dipoles each one. There is also a project for an FM outlet, not yet on the air thanks to bureaucratic imbroglios in Brasilia.
Radio Canção Nova receives thousands of letters from its listeners, not only from Brazil, but also from Paraguay (from the Braziguayans), Madeira Island and Portugal. If you send a reception report, don’t forget to include one U.S. “greenstamp”, because it is a non-commercial station, depending on donations to survive. All programs aim evangelization and you will hear no advertisements or pop music by tuning on them. Their slogan is “We spread out love through the air” (“Nos espalhamos amor pelo ar”).
To help writing program details, the speakers and their respective programmes are: Zezinho (“Madrugada Amiga”); Ze do Campo (“Rincao do Meu Senhor”); Adriana Pereira (“Manha Viva”); Luzia Santiago (“Clube do Ouvinte”, “A Biblia no meu dia a dia” and “O Amor vencera”); Father Jonas Abib (“Estou no meio de Vos”); Alberto (“Falando de Vida”); Milton (“Ponto de Encontro”); Felipe Aquino (“No Coracao da Igreja”) and Rogerinha (“Noite em Familia”).
At left, one of Radio Canção Nova’s four transmitters.
There are also prayers to Our Lady Apare-cida, relayed from Radio Aparecida.
Radio Canção Nova also produces programs for the Rede Catolica de Radio, a national radio network, and uses a satellite to broadcast these programs elsewhere. Mr. Wellington Silva Jardim is the General Manager, Mr. Osvaldo Luis Silva is the Chief Journalist and Mrs. Adriana Pereira is the Artistic Manager.
TV Canção Nova is a more recent conquest of Fundação João Paulo II. They are now hiring 11 hours of satellite per day and there are plans for cable TV.
The address of Radio Canção Nova is Rua João Paulo II s/n, Cachoeira Paulista SP Brazil, zip code 12630-000, phone + 55 (12) 561-2400, fax + 55 (12) 561-2074, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, homepage www.fastnet.com.br/tvcn.
Despite few persons believed that a 100% evangelical and non-commercial station would survive in 1980, Radio Canção Nova survived and grew up. Thanks to the efforts and donations of the community, the station is now one of the most important instruments of the Catholic Faith in Brazil.
Sincere thanks to Journalist Silva, who provided all informations for this article and allowed the author to take photographs everywhere.
(There are more pictures here.)