Monday, November 28, 2016

One more Fidel Castro story

Back in 2010, I interviewed Orion Samuelson from WGN Radio. He told this interesting story about Cuba, and Fidel Castro, and how he had an impact on Chicago radio...

"We had an interesting moment during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. President Kennedy wanted to send a message to the Cuban people that our dispute was not with them, but with their government. He came to several of the big 50,000 watt clear channel radios stations, including WGN, and asked us to deliver a message at midnight every night in their native tongue. And we did. And they could hear us all the way in Cuba. But, the Cubans took action to block us. Within six months they started a 200,000 watt station on the same frequency, and that really blasted us out of the air at nighttime. In the south all you could hear on 720 was Cuban radio. It took us twelve to fourteen years of intensive negotiating through the Swiss Embassy (because we didn’t have direct relations with Cuba) to finally reclaim the frequency in that direction. When I met Mr. Castro in 2000, I was really tempted to bring it up, but I didn’t."

Castro died this weekend at the age of 90.