Founded in 1972 in Montreal
5212 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal
Here it’s like meeting a Portuguese person for the first time, or like speaking to your neighbour. They feel as if they are at home when they are listening in – Clementina Santos.
Radio Centre-Ville is the only multicultural community radio station in Montreal, currently broadcasting in seven languages. Since it began as a short-wave station in 1972, it has been an outlet for progressive immigrant voices, including the Portuguese team which has been part of this project from the beginning. The station has managed to stay on the air thanks to voluntarism of its staff and the donations it receives from the communities it serves.
Founded in 1972 by a small multiethnic group of progressive immigrants, Radio Centre-Ville (originally CINQ-FM) was the first multicultural and multilingual radio station in Montreal. One of the co-founders and the first host of the Portuguese program was Mário Resende, whose political views as a Maoist generated much discussion and polemic among both the right- and left-wing (including among supporters of the Portuguese Communist Party) sections of the community. Originally broadcasting in English, French, Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish, this short-wave radio initially only reached the immigrant working-class residents of the Cartier Saint-Louis, where many Portuguese lived. Its first location was the Cooper Building on 3981 St-Laurent Boulevard, then the site of textile factories that employed many immigrant women. The radio was an outlet to discuss local issues like housing, unemployment, labour rights, and intercultural relations, and offered important reference services. Since its founding, the Portuguese programming of Radio Centre-Ville has had a progressive editorial viewpoint and as presented itself or been seen in the as a leftist alternative to other community media outlets.
On January 27, 1975, the station became licensed under the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and increased its broadcasting capacity to 36 watts under 102,3FM, which allowed it to reach a wider audience in Montreal. Since then, other ethnic and linguistic groups have joined the radio, including Chinese, Italian, Arabic and Haitian. The station moved to its current location, on 5212 St-Laurent Boulevard in 1982. Nine years later, the CRTC increased the radio’s broadcasting power to 1300 watts, which allowed it to reach audiences in the greater area of Montreal.
The majority of Radio Centre-Ville’s staff have been volunteers, who have supported the work of the few permanent paid staff members employed by each of the different ethnolinguistic groups. Some of the long standing members of the Portuguese team are Rosalina Emidio, Arlindo Vieira, Clementina Santos, Joaquina Pires, Amílcar Gomes, Amadeu Moura, Luisa Ventura, Ricardo Costa, Rui Costa, Mário Costa, among others.
The station has also been a media “school” for Portuguese-Canadian youth, including Nicolas Fonseca, Joaquim Oliveira, Carla Oliveira, Marta Raposo, among others, who developed their broadcasting and overall communication skills there, having their shows.
Before the internet, the Portuguese newscast relied on newspapers that arrived from Portugal a few days late and the consulate-general’s Telex news service, which required a courier to travel to and from it. Besides its role as an outlet for information, referrals, and public debate in Portuguese language, Radio Centre-Ville also introduced new Portuguese music and other art forms to Montreal’s community. This was especially the case with the generation of leftist singer/songwriters who opposed the Estado Novo dictatorship, including José Afonso, José Mário Branco, Vitorino, Fausto, among others; but also new rock and pop artists that emerged in the 1980s, like Banda do Casaco and others. That said, the station has also broadcast popular folk music favoured by most working-class Portuguese immigrants, including fado, rancho folclórico, romantic, and other artists of the mercado da saudade (nostalgia market).
The Portuguese members of Radio Centre-Ville have also participated in various intercultural programming in French, including the Planète Montréal, launched in 1992. Radio Centre-Ville as won multiple awards for its multicultural programming and efforts to integrate newcomers into Montreal’s and Quebec’s society.
Hora dos Portugueses
Short description: LP Records
Place of origin: Portugal
Description: Four vinyl 7″ LP records from Cinq 102.3/FM (Radio Centre-Ville) collection, including José Afonso’s Grandola Vila Morena (Orfeu), Olivia Rodrigues ‘ Um Amor Nos Açores / Juntinho É Melhor (RS Records), Maria Rodrigues and Manuel Augusto, Restaurant Solmar Montreal, Une Nuit Au Solmar.