Viva América

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Viva América was an American musical radio program which was broadcast live over the CBS radio network and to South America over the La Cadena de las Americas (Network of the Américas) during the 1940s (1942 -1949). All broadcasts of this program were supervised under the strict government supervision of the United States Department of State and the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA) as part of the United States Cultural Exchange Programs initiative authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (via Voice of America) during World War II through the Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations (OCCCRBAR).[1][2][3][4][5][6]

This imaginative program represented a unique collaboration between government and private industry during the turbulent World War II era in an effort to foster cultural exchanges throughout the Americas. It featured live performances of the CBS Pan American Orchestra under the musical direction of the noted conductor Alfredo Antonini.[7][8] It was conceived in an effort to foster benevolent diplomatic relations throughout the Americas during World War II by showcasing the talents of a wide variety of respected professional musicians. In this regard, it proved to be highly successful and functioned under the direct supervision of the Department of State as a cultural exchange program (as opposed to a propaganda program). Included among the renowned soloists from both North and South America were: Juan Arvizu (the Mexican "Tenor with the Silken Voice");[9] Nestor Chayres (Mexican tenor - aka "El Gitano De México");[10][11] Eva Garza (Mexican songstress);[12] Terig Tucci (Argentine composer/arranger)[13] and John Serry, Sr. (an American concert accordionist and featured soloist).[14]

Broadcasts of this program were personally supervised by Edmund A. Chester, Vice President at the CBS network and Director of Latin-American Relations and Short Wave Broadcasting (1940 - 1948).[15][16][17][18] Mr. Chester could often be found visiting the control room at the CBS broadcast studios in New York City in order to enjoy his series of live concerts and to exchange insights with his staff of musicians and recording artists. At the governmental level, they were closely monitored by the Office of Inter-American Affairs through the Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations (OCCCRBAR) under the direction of Nelson Rockefeller and the Department of State.

The onset of the post World War II era precipitated the onset of the Cold War and the initiation of new governmental oversight of the broadcast industry. As a consequence of these developments, exclusive control for the La Cadena de las Americas was essentially transferred to the Department of State from Voice of America in 1948.[19] As the focal point for American foreign policy shifted away from South America toward Europe broadcasts of this program were terminated (circa 1949) and the broadcasting links provided to South America by the Columbia Broadcast System CBS were eliminated..

Several historic master disk transcriptions of this program were recorded during live broadcasts and preserved on 78 RPM vinyl disks for Voice of America. They were archived by the Department of State until the 1970s and have since passed into private collections.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://radiogoldindex.com/cgi-local/p2.cgi?ProgramName=Viva+America
  2. ^ The New York Times, January 8, 1941, pg. 8
  3. ^ The New York Times, January 1, 1942, pg. 27
  4. ^ The New York Times, May 10, 1942, pg. SM10
  5. ^ The New York Times, February 28, 1943, pg. X9
  6. ^ The New York Times, January 18, 1942, pg. 27
  7. ^ The New York Times, June 9, 1946, pg. 49
  8. ^ The New York Times, November 5, 1983, pg. 34
  9. ^ The New York Times, May 5, 1941, pg. 32
  10. ^ http://www.bassanonline.com/1946-Nestor-Chayres-photo,i180061834647,c108730.html
  11. ^ The New York Times April 23, 1944, pg X5
  12. ^ The New York Times, January 23, 1944, pg. X9
  13. ^ The New York Times, January 18, 1942, pg. 27
  14. ^ A Pictorial History of Radio, Settel Irving Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, New York, 1960 & 1967, Pg. 146, Library of Congress #67-23789
  15. ^ The New York Times, May 10, 1942, pg. sm10
  16. ^ The New York Times, October 16, 1973, pg. 46
  17. ^ Time, June 1, 1942
  18. ^ Time, March 2, 1942
  19. ^ The New York Times, July 2, 1948, pg. 1