The closure of “troublesome” broadcasters continues, with the usual suspension orders sent by Conatel (National Telecommunications Commission), which has been very active in recent months. The script is the same: the broadcaster isordered to close down for failing to comply with legal procedures, says Leonardo Pérez, national secretary of the National College of Journalists in the state of Zulia, and because they have usurped space occupied by other stations that broadcast legally. But, in reality, the objections seem to be made for no apparent reason. The climate of intimidation is such that some radio stations close as soon as they receive a phone call from Conatel. There are now a hundred of them. Here is a chronicle of the last two months.
On 6 September 2022, the first eleven stations between Maracaibo and San Francisco were shut down. About a hundred people are left without work, estimates by the National Press Workers’ Union (SNTP). Two days later (Thursday 8 September), two more stations have to leave the airwaves. Here is a summary of the deactivated stations: 88.3 Candela FM 88.5 Sensacional Estereo “La FM de las estressas” 91.3 Zulia Mía “La señal de los zulianos!” 92.9 Kp Radio “La gigante del Zulia!! 94.3 Refugio FM 97.3 Palabra FM 98.1 High Class “Somos la #1 en gaitas” 98.3 Destino FM 103.3 Radiolandia 102.7 Suave FM 107.7 Río Stereo (Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini)
The Venezuelan regime of President Nicolás Maduro hardly makes headlines when it shuts down inconvenient stations. The Web documents deactivations on an almost monthly basis, but in July 2022 Conatel (Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones) officials worked overtime shutting down as many as six stations in Cojedes state. The raid always occurs on Fridays: July 1, 15 and 29, 2022. First to pay the price was Candela 92.9 FM in San Carlos, where officials (apparently entered without a warrant to check the regularity of the license, along with two prosecutors, intelligence officers and national police) seized the transmitter and mixer, leaving ten people out of work. Same script on July 15, when members of the Bolivarian National Guard, shut down Moda 105.1 FM, NEX 100FM and Hits 92.5 FM, all from San Carlos (another 30 workers on the street). The last to receive a visit from Conatel officials were Luna 95.5 FM (Mango Redondo) and Impacto 91.7 FM (San Carlos). A total of sixty workers on the street. Twelve stations were closed in 2022.
President Nicolás Maduro Moros continues to get tough on non-aligned radio stations. Two important stations in San Juan de Los Morros, fifty kilometres southwest of Caracas in the state of Guárico, are the latest to suffer. RadioÉxitos had been on the air on 90.5 MHz for 20 years (it was part of the Unión Radio Éxitos circuit), while Calle FM, on 98.5, had exceeded 40 years of activity (the channel was taken over by Play Top Radio). Both radio stations were stripped of their licences by Conatel (National Telecommunications Commission). Also, both radio stations were critical of regional and national government policies, but Anderson Tovar, opposition political leader in the state of Guárico, called the closure illegal.