In China, radio stations were involved in the national day of mourning, which was organised as a sign of the country gaining closure from Covid 19. But in the rest of the world, the pandemic is fast and furious and has not spared infecting radio and television staff and producers.
All Chinese radio websites in black and white
April 4th, 2020 was decreed by the State Council as China’s day of national mourning. The Chinese Government gave a signal to the world as it moves to returning to normality. Radio stations took part in paying their respects to the Coronavirus victims by removing colour from their websites. Among the mourners were the state broadcaster CNR (China National Radio), Qingting, one of the biggest sites of audio streaming in the country, which interrupted transmission of all their programmes for the whole day, and Baidu, the most popular research engine in China. Flags were lowered to half-mast all over the country and at their Embassies around the world. Public entertainment was suspended. Three minutes of silence were observed at 10 am with car and train horns, ship and air raid sirens sounding in the background.
Radio and TV personalities among those infected
At first count, based on the social media, the most hit today are in Italy (up to April 4th, 2020), the first European country to be attacked by the virus. Among the infected are Enrico Gualdi and Clarissa Martinelli from Radio Bruno, Claudio Chiari and Luca Viscardi from Radio Number One, and Graziano Fanelli of Radio Studio Più. Television personalities include two presenters from Rete 4: Piero Chiambretti, the presenter of La Repubblica delle Donne and Nicola Porro who presents Quarta Repubblica.
Others, unfortunately, have not recovered. These are Raffaele Masto, a journalist for Radio Popolare, Raniero Cecchini, one of the founders of Veronica HitRadio in Pesaro, and Franco Lo Conte, who in the seventies was the founder of Cine Radio Sud in Ariano Irpino, a province of Avellino. Our thoughts go to their families.
In Spain, where the contagion swept in after Italy, Jordi Basté has tested positive. His voice has the most listeners in Catalonia with his programme El mon (the world) on air on the regional station RAC1 from 8 to 9 in the morning with 270,000 listeners tuning in. Condolences to Radio Nacional de Espana for the passing of one of the most famous faces of Iberian news, Jose Maria “Chema” Candela, a sports journalist who specialised in Atletico Madrid and had had a long career both in radio and on TV. For further information please click here.
In France, Jean-Jacques Lester, a radio host at France Bleu Loire-Atlantique, one of the French regional public radio stations based in Nantes, recovered from the virus.
Chris Cuomo, presenter for CNN, the TV station broadcasting through cable in the United States and via satellite to the rest of the world.
Although the virus arrived late on the American continent, it has already struck public figures. Among the most famous is probably Chris Cuomo, a popular presenter for CNN and brother of Andrew, the Governor of New York, who speaks about his experience here. While in Mexico the infection has hit Esteban Arce, a Televisa presenter.
Sadly, Julio Quintanilla did not win his fight against Coronavirus. Originally Salvadorian, he was a speaker on WUNR 1600AM, one of Boston, Massachusetts, oldest ethnic radio stations. He had presented the news, events and sports programme ‘Impacto Centroamericano’ for 25 years.