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Radio Bagua, Peru


The following item is taken from Relampago DX by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. (Por las Rutas del Peru 21). It is placed here with permission.

Bagua, which lies in the Valley of Rio Maranon at an altitude of 522 m. above sea level, is located at 05-38-21 L.S. and 78-31-53 L.W., and claims that it is the most westerly jungle town of Peru. It has a humid tropical climate, with a temperature between 25 and 32 degrees C. (i.e. 77-90 degrees F.), a humidity of 70-80%, and an annual rain precipitation of 1,000-1,500 mm.

Bagua was officially founded on February 5, 1861 when the Department of Amazonas was divided into two provinces, Chachapoyas and Luya. Initially Bagua was in the Province of Luya. Nine years later it was made part of the Province of Bongara, the third oldest province in the Department of Amazonas, when Bongara was established on December 26, 1870. Subsequently, on September 1, 1941, Bongara was divided into two provinces, one of which was the Province of Bagua. The city of Bagua was made the capital of the province of the same name. The Province of Bagua currently consists of six districts: La Peca, Bagua Chica, Aramango, Copallin, El Parco and Imaza. The name "Bagua" is derived from the Spanish word "bagual," which means "violent." The name was given to the town of Bagua because the settlement is situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Rio Maranon and the Rio Utcubamba, and these rivers often violently flood this region in the wet season.

When I first visited Bagua in October 1985 it was a sleepy town of some 9,000 inhabitants, but it is currently a progressive and economically active city with a growing population of over 30,000. Bagua is not particularly interesting to foreign travelers, but it is important as the gateway leading to the eastern highland jungle. Plaza de Armas, the main square, which was reconstructed in recent years, is very spacious and attractive. There is a modern municipal office, a health center, a police station and a cathedral under reconstruction around the main square. Avenida Heroes del Cenepa (which was formerly called Avenida Principal) is the main avenue of Bagua, with many stores, restaurants, hotels and four radio stations. People who wish to leave Bagua and go to other parts of northern Peru have several options. There are two companies which operate several buses heading directly to the coastal city of Chiclayo. The Comite provides the shared boxcar service for people wishing to go to Jaen, Aramango or Bagua Grande. There is no direct method of transportation enabling travelers either to go further inland into the Department of Amazonas (to the south) or to the Department of San Martin (to the east). For this reason, such persons should first take either shared taxis or shared boxcars to Bagua Grande, the capital of the Province of Utcubamba, on the Marginal Highway, then take another means of transportation to Pedro Ruiz, a small village from which other means of transportation can be taken either to the east or to the south.

During my first stay in Bagua, R. Bagua was the only radio station in the town. I again visited Bagua in late September 1998. As 13 years had passed since I made the first visit to this town, I was eager to discover whether there were any additional local broadcasters in the region. I found by monitoring my radio receiver that three FM stations and two MW stations were on the air. According to the frequency list of the Ministry of Transports and Communications issued in September 1998, five stations on FM, four stations on MW and one station on shortwave are licensed. However, during my stay there the following registered stations were not observed: OBW9S, CPN Radio FM (97.7); OCW9M, R. Nacional del Peru (101.5); OBX9G, R. Comercial Cosmos, La Peca (980); and OAX9N, Radiodifusora Nor Oriental (1290).


Radio Bagua was the pioneer broadcasting station on shortwave, as it was the first station to transmit from the town of Bagua. Radio Bagua made its first appearance on shortwave in January 1983. Although the shortwave outlet, OAX9U, was officially assigned to 3310 in the 90 m. tropical band, it was actually observed on the measured frequency of 3309.8. Radio Bagua had never been easily audible in Japan because of the strong interference from Jilin Renmin Guangbo Diantain (Changchun, People's Republic of China) on 3310.0. Nevertheless, it was occasionally heard by persistent DXers who could pick up its signal when the Chinese powerhouse was absent and propagation favored northern Peru. There was also interference caused by the distinguished Bolivian station, CP114, R. San Miguel, on 3310.3, which currently operates on the variable frequency of 4925. While R. Bagua was active on shortwave, its morning transmission began at 1045 with the early morning show, "El Despertar de Mi Pueblo," which provided practical information for peasants and a greeting service, as well as the usual regional folklore music. Radio Bagua originally broadcast on shortwave for a relatively brief period. The station was observed until December 1985, when its shortwave transmission was suspended due to a technical problem, after having been on the air for about three years.

On September 28, 1998, I visited the studio and office of R. Bagua, located at Avenida Heroes del Cenepa No.794-796 in downtown Bagua. This was my second visit to the station. As I had not been able to get an interview with the owner during my visit in 1985, I tried once more to obtain detailed information about R. Bagua. Fortunately, the station owner, Julio Cardozo Ganoza, was present at the station. However, he was a candidate for mayor of Bagua and was quite busy with his election campaign.

Nevertheless, he gave me a friendly welcome and some interesting information about the station.

Radio Bagua was in a modern two-story building. On the first floor there was a reception area fully decorated with the election campaign poster. On the second floor there was a modern control room equipped with a "Nippon Amerika" brand mixing console (4 channel), two microphones, two "Technics" brand stereo cassette decks, a "Technics" brand turntable, and a "Scala" brand audio processor. On the same floor there were several rooms:an announcer's studio, two production rooms, a small record library, and an empty office. The second floor also contained an FM transmitter which was not in operation at that time.

"Radio Bagua Empresa Individual de Responsabilidad Limitada," the first commercial broadcasting enterprise in Bagua, was initially established by Gilberto Paredes Torres on January 1, 1981. Its purpose was to further develop the regional telecommunications field and thereby benefit the people by giving them access to a local radio station. On December 18, 1981, R. Bagua was licensed to conduct experimental transmissions for a one-year period with the following call letters, frequencies and powers: OAX9T, 1220 MW, with 3 kw, and OAX9U, 3310, with 1 kw. In the beginning, the station transmitted only on MW. The MW outlet covered the Valley of Rio Utcubamba in daytime, but did not cover the northern part of the Province of Bagua. Bagua is geographically fenced in by very high mountains to the east and north. There are many isolated settlements in the jungle which lie beyond these mountains, and R. Bagua's MW signal could not reach them because of the mountains. Therefore, later in January 1983, the shortwave outlet started its operation on the 90 mb in order to provide a large coverage in the northern and eastern regions of Peru, including several departments, such as San Martin, Loreto, Amazonas, Piura, La Libertad, Lambayeque and Cajamarca. At that time, R. Bagua broadcast on 1220 uninterruptedly at 1045-2400, and simulcast on 3310 at two separate time slots: 1045-1500 and 1900-2400. After having made a number of experimental transmissions, R. Bagua finally received an official broadcasting license for a ten-year period, under Ministerial Resolution No. 0029-84-COMS. This license was received on March 5, 1984. Afterward, the station ownership was transferred from Gilberto Paredes Torres to Julio Cardozo Ganoza.

Radio Bagua began another broadcasting service on FM, and the station facilities were installed at Avenida Iquitos No. 1529 in downtown Jaen. The station was authorized to broadcast on the frequency of 98.1 FM with call letters OCZ2Y, under Ministerial Resolution No. 0047-88-TC/TEL, dated July 5, 1988. The FM outlet broadcast independent music programming originally produced in Jaen, but several years later it ceased operating due to financial difficulties which were caused by an increase in the number of local stations and also by the rise of the metropolitan FM stations via the satellite relay system. Afterward, the FM transmitting facilities were transferred to Bagua, where they still had no competitors in the FM field. As of September 1998, the FM outlet had no permission to broadcast in Bagua, and was waiting for another license and call letters. As mentioned in the monitoring list of Bagua, R. 1160 FM is operating the satellite relay service, and also has its regional office in Bagua. So R. Bagua may face more difficulties from competition even on its home turf.

As of September 1998, R. Bagua operated only on MW at 1000-0200 (Monday through Friday) and 1000-1900 on Sunday, no transmission on Saturday, with a staff of eight people. The broadcast provides news bulletins, commentaries, music shows, light entertainment and social service, with the following program schedule: 1000-1100, "Amanecer Campesino;" 1100-1300, "Adelante Estudiante;" 1300-1400, "Clarin Informativo;" 1400-1700, "Variedades Musicales;" 1700-1800, "Asi Canta Mi Peru;" 1800-1900, "Informativo de Mediodia;" 1900-2000, "R.B. Recuerdos;" 2000-2300, "Variedades Musicales;" 2300-2400, "Boleros y Recuerdos;" and 0000-0200, "Sentimientos." The station owner said that R. Bagua will hopefully return to operation on FM and shortwave if the financial situation improves. I think that the possibility of resuming the shortwave broadcast is very small. My opinion is based on the following reasons: I did not see the shortwave transmitter at the transmitting site, but only the MW transmitter (the owner said that the shortwave transmitter is being repaired, but it has been under repair for so long that I suspect that there are problems with the transmitter which cannot be fixed and that the transmitter will never be repaired); the shortwave broadcasting operation does not make as much income it did in the past; and, according to the official list of registered broadcasting stations issued by the Ministry of Transports and Communications in October 1998, the license previously issued to R. Bagua for the shortwave frequency was already canceled.

While R. Bagua was broadcasting on shortwave, QSL letters were occasionally issued for reception reports, with an attractive pennant. At the present time the station broadcasts only on MW. However, the station owner would be grateful to receive follow-up letters, along with copies of original reports, and is willing to verify them with QSL letters.

Full ID text: "OAX9T, 1220 kHz onda media, OAX9U, 3310 kHz onda corta, R. Bagua, banda internacional de 90 metros. Sintonicenos en dos frecuenicas. Potencia y calidad de una radio superior."

Slogan texts:

"Radio Bagua, potencia y calidad."

"Radio Bagua, la estacion que domina."

"Gracias Peru, gracias nororiente por hacer de R. Bagua, la primerisima."

"Radio Bagua con alcance inlimitado."

"Radio Bagua, en la cima de la popularidad." "Radio Bagua, la emisora facil de sintonia." "RB, la senal de avanzada."

"Hola, que frecuencia escuhas? FM, perdon es decir AM, elige bien R. Bagua, la frecuencia fina de la AM."

Opening announcement: "OAX9T, 1220 kHz, onda media, OAX9U, 3310 kHz, onda corta, banda de 90 metros, transmite R. Bagua, desde la ciudad de Bagua, Amazonas, Peru. Radio oyentes del aire, elevamos nuestras plegarias al todopoderoso para que al inicar un dia mas del ano presente, os colme de bendiciones. Que la paz y la felicidad reinen todos los hogares del mundo, hoy, manana, siempre."

Closing announcement: "Desde la ciudad de Bagua, perla del nororiente, hermosa irradiante como una diosa a orillas del Rio Utcubamba, R. Bagua, dos frecuencias: 1220 y 3310 primera y segunda banda, estacion radial de alcance internacional, tuvo el grato placer de presentar las 17 horas de programacion profesional correspondiente a la fecha de hoy. Manana, desde las 5 horas, estaremos nuevamente con ustedes compartiendo lo mejor de nuestra creacion, R. 85. Por su amable sintonia, mil gracias, les deseamos un feliz descanzo."

Technical Information: OAX9T, 1220 kHz, is equipped with a "Petrick" brand transmitter, TRX-3000 model (3 kw) and a 1/4 omnidirectional vertical antenna (60 m. above ground). OAX9U, 3310 kHz, was formerly equipped with a "Petrick" brand transmitter, TRX-1000 model (1 kw) and a 1/2 wave dipole antenna (12 m. above ground). OCZ2Y, 98.1 MHz FM, is equipped with a "TELAVO Telecomunicacoes" brand stereo transmitter, RDFM-OA model (250 watts) and a 2-element directional antenna (25 m. above ground).

Transmitter site: Cerro Brujopata Chuloquillo, Bagua, Provincia de Bagua, Departamento de Amazonas, Peru.

Studio: Avenida Heroes del Cenepa No. 794-706, Bagua, Provincia de Bagua, Departamento de Amazonas, Peru.


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