Legendary singer Rosita Quiroga was to say, “In the beginning we were paid with cups of coffee”…in fact in radio’s nascent days, musicians performed for free; they were paid by copious amounts of food and wine which, for struggling, starving musicians, was very appreciated …it is believed that Rosita Quiroga was probably the first soloist on radio but she became equally famous with her fellow musicians for the ravioli she cooked in Radio Belgrano’s kitchens…Radio Belgrano was a failing enterprise when Jaime Yankelevich bought it from its frustrated owner Manuel Penella …but Jaime was an astute business man and he quickly imposed a new business model; he went to an all live, all night broadcasting  format where musicians were paid a salary and in return they gave an exclusive to Radio Belgrano...the station flourished and quickly became the station with the highest ratings in Argentina…it was considered a symbol of “having arrived” to be a Radio Belgrano musician; renown bandoneonist Luciano Leocata, for example, launched his career when debuted on Radio Belgrano in March of 1959… in later innovations, Jaime created the Argentine Broadcasting Chain which made viable, small low watage stations throughout Argentina which otherwise would have closed down…


Indeed through Radio Belgrano passed the greatest tango musicians in history….there is no renown musician whose career was not touched or launched by Radio Belgrano; through its popular “new talent contests” many stars were discovered….Jaime Yankelevich was born in Bulgaria in 1896 to a struggling jewish family; when he was 3 years old his parents emigrated to Buenos Aires…as a teenager, Jaime found work in a  theater as an electrician’s apprentice; he eventually opened his own electrical supply shop…at a time when radio was beginning to boom, the shop specialized in radio valves and other equipment; Jaime even learned to manufacture his own parts….in the 40s, he opposed the election of Juan Peron which created problems for him when Peron came into power…when Peron moved to nationalized all media, Jaime finally sold his chain for 1.5 millom dollars in 1947 but astutely continued to manage the station and keep most of the earnings but relinquishing to the government the right of programming…in 1952 Radio Belgrano launched the first television station which became the mythical Channel 7


    • Kermit Domingues
    • March 26th, 2013

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