Caracol Radio (Cadena Radial Colombiana, "Colombian Radio Network") is one of the main radio networks in Colombia. Founded in Medellín in 1948 when La Voz de Antioquia station acquired the 50% of Emisoras Nuevo Mundo, based in Bogotá.
In 1945 Colombian Liberal Party politicians César García, Jorge Soto del Corral, Luis Uribe Piedrahita, Alberto Arango Tavera, Carlos Sanz Santamaría, José Gómez Pinzón, Alfonso López Pumarejo, and Alfonso López Michelsen created Sociedad Radiodifusión Interamericana, which would create the Emisora Nuevo Mundo in Bogotá. On 3 September 1948, La Voz de Antioquia acquired the 50% of Emisora Nuevo Mundo. Caracol would be legally founded in 1949. Coltejer, a textile company which had invested in La Voz de Antioquia and Emisoras Nuevo Mundo, would own some shares until 1959.
In the 1950s, the network expanded when Emisoras Fuentes (Cartagena de Indias), Emisoras Unidas (Barranquilla) and RCO Radiodifusora de Occidente (Cali) became affiliates. In 1952 Caracol would create a second station, Radio Reloj, which would become the first station with an all-music format, with a time mention between songs. In 1956, Caracol owned and operated four stations: La Voz de Antioquia (Compañía Colombiana de Radiodifusión, Medellín, HJDM, currently Radio Reloj Medellín), La Voz del Río Cauca (Cali, currently Caracol Cali, HJED), Emisoras Nuevo Mundo and Radio Reloj. The first three created in 1956 the so-called Triángulo de Oro ("Gold triangle"), with 50 kW each, in order to broadcast the Vuelta a Colombia. La Voz del Río Cauca could be heard as far as Argentina. In 1960, Fernando Londoño Henao, a prominent member of the Colombian Conservative Party, became its president.
Between 1958 and 1963, Caracol would acquire several stations, such as Emisora Mil 20, Emisoras Eldorado and La Voz de Colombia (Bogotá), Radio Reloj (Panama), Sociedad Informativa de Contrapunto, La Voz del Café (Pereira), Pregones del Quindío (Armenia), Radio Comercio (Bucaramanga), and Radio Visión (Medellín), and absorb small networks as Cadena Radial Andina and Sociedad Nacional de Radiodifusión. In 1967 Caracol TV was spun off from Caracol Radio. In 1970 it would acquire exclusive broadcasting rights for the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
In 1986 Caracol Radio would rent the stations of the Núcleo Radial Bienvenida. In the same year Julio Mario Santo Domingo would acquire the 50% of both Caracol Radio and Caracol TV, with 25% belonging to Alfonso López Michelsen, and the other 25% for the family of Fernando Londoño Henao. In 1990 it would acquire Radio Sutatenza, a network of educational radio stations founded in 1947 which was having financial problems. Radio Sutatenza was the only network in Colombia with transmitters over 50 kW.
On 12 August 2010 at 05:30 (10:30 UTC), a car bomb exploded outside the headquarters of the network, which did not interrupt its broadcast, despite having its building's tiles and windows shattered.FARC were held responsible for the attack.
Caracol Cadena Básica: basic network, it broadcasts news and variety programmes.
W Radio: replaced Caracol Estéreo in 2003, broadcasting news and talk, with some programmes devoted jazz, blues, samba, and American contemporary. In recent years, most of the music programmes have been dropped.
Tropicana Estéreo: since the mid-1990s replaced Bienvenida Estéreo as Caracol's tropical radioformula.
Radioacktiva: replaced balada en español station Nota Estéreo in 1989, adopting a rock-and-pop format. Since 1997 it focuses only in rock music.