Early this morning, César Miguel Rondón’s radio show returned to the airwaves for the first time this year with a surprising announcement during his daily editorial “La Noticia del Dia” (the quoted part begins at 03:43):

All the members of the (production) team have thought about it and discussed it. We’ve decided that from now on we’ll put the emphasis not so much on the opinions of political leaders or the analysts specialized on opining about this or that.

From now on, instead, we’re going to put the emphasis on you. On that citizen, on the Venezolano or Venezolana who despite all the hardships, is still here. Still here, and all in, or as we colloquially say around here, echandole una gandola por delante, so that children can go to school every morning, so they can go with their little uniforms as clean as possible. So that there’s something to come back to at night. So that hope is not lost.

There’s a country that despite that miserable leadership that has brought us onto this path, still wakes up every day to try to do something with their lives, with their families and therefore, with this country that has been left to us.

César Miguel is a National Institution, the metaphorical kind, smart, hyperinformed father of the nation’s political junkies (plus — full disclosure — literal father to others). Any change to his show is automatically big news. As he described it, the format change aims to include more citizen voices, to connect more with everyday Venezuelans and to share their stories, and less from politicians and talking heads. All inside the realm of journalism.

I reached out over the phone to Luis Carlos Diaz, who is one of the producers of the show (as well as husband to Her Nakyness), explained the reasoning behind the switch. For LC, it’s a case of burnout: just fatigue with both the current political agenda and — reading between the lines — a bit of boredom with the usual suspects.

The program was basically designed to set the informed citizen’s agenda, a format developed by C.M. Rondon himself over the last 27 years. Starting last year, we incorporated special reports that require lots time and resources to produce and now we want to incorporate more citizens’ perspectives, given the declining number of political figures and opinion experts that we can find to interview.

Luis Carlos described it as a “rediscovery” designed to respond to possible listener fatigue over the lack of progress at the national political stage. By focusing more on the voices of everyday people, they hope to go deeper into their stories and roles in the larger social spectrum.

It’s hard not to be a little concerned at first as you hear the editorial, much as you want to give César Miguel and his team the benefit of the doubt.

Then again, if he wasn’t tired of the political scene, César Miguel would be the only Venezuelan  — and out of touch is one thing he’s never been. The political scene isn’t just exhausting, it’s exhausted — just look at the images from today’s protest march and see if you agree with him.

I’m assured the show’s meticulously independent editorial line will not change. Even if César Miguel Rondón has had his share of controversies with the communicational hegemony before, that’s not what’s behind this. And that matters, at a time when our newspapers are still under the sword of Newsprint-geddon and foreign correspondents are kicked out of the country without explanation.

Venezuela needs César Miguel as much as ever. More than ever, arguably. What we don’t need is pointless radio. And after all these years, he’s sure not about to start doing that.

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Gustavo: don´t worry. The whole idea is just to make a sharper radio show, never pointless. And thanks for your concern. cmr.

  2. If there ever was a time for new voices to be heard it is now, the MUD is now in “sunken cost fallacy” territory at best, they’re just wearing people out and deepening our helplesnes with every march. That damn car is going nowhere.

    Was there ever a scenario where the CNE would let people in their offices and just accept that they are not willing yo have any more elections? And after that just saying “oh we have all the power and money, we put a lawmaker in jail just to prove our point, they have enough evidence to put us un jail till the sun implodes, but maybe we’ll roll the dice and see what happens with these election thing they speak of”?

    I have no idea on what to do, but if we keep listening to these guys that’s all we can hope for until inevitably they take all freedom of speech rights and then we won’t have to bother with pointless marches and pointless letters.

    I’m sure a new space for people to escape the PSUV and MUD gag is what we need, hope this one is it, at least partially.

  3. Knowing his love for honesty, ethics and liberty I’m sure he’ll keep those ideas permanently in his show. Keeping us informed and exposing with his editorials this dark government!

  4. I have mixed feelings about this, I will wait and see, but I think tha given what is happening in the world these days, if there is something we will need, is more investigative and accountability journalism. Is not safe to do it from within the country? I understand that, and because of it less people are doing it, but isn’t that what power wants us to do? Better to do it from Miami, in any case.

  5. You play with the cards you have , they may be great cards or rotten cards but you play as smart as you can with what has been given to you , in time people improve their game as they learn more of their opponents weaknesses and strengths …what you never do is throw out the cards and abandon the game !!

    That’s the cowards way out ………none of the plaintive ‘Oh the world is unjust , I want a perfect world or I get off’ or´’ Oh Ma Im leaving school , I get bad grades because the teacher doesn’t like me ´ , no such thing !! You fight it out stiff lipped and giving it all you ve got !!

    Once before the oppo rank and file ( not the leaders who instead let themselves be led ) indignant at the crooked conduct of the electoral bodies , decided that they would show the world that the elections were unfair by not participating in it ….the result : handing Chavez in a silver plate the keys to the total control of all the institutions ………,and now we complain of our dire situation .!!..

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