Brazilian Radio Stations Score Big

RIO DE JANEIRO— After 64 years, the 2014 FIFA World Cup returned to a land where football is held close to the hearts of many.

A country with the largest number of world titles, Brazil lived up to its tradition on the broadcasting terrain by guaranteeing thorough radio broadcasts of the games. In total, there were 21 Brazilian stations from north to south, east to west airing the matches.

And for a hefty US$680,000 dollars (nearly R$1.5 million real or €499,600) in transmission fees — about three times the amount paid during the last World Cup held in South Africa in 2010, these lucky stations acquired permission to broadcast from rights owner GloboSat (Rede Globo).

Radio World spoke with three of the 21 stations — Rádio Gaúcha, Rádio Band News and Rádio Tupi — about how they handled the event. And while each broadcaster might have his or her favorite team, what was important on this playing field was that all stations were ready to give their all for this huge event, no matter the winner.

In Porto Alegre, Rádio Gaúcha — the main radio station in the region — began preparing for the event in 2011. The station decided it would have at least one professional staff member in each of the 12 host cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Recife and Salvador.

Rafael Cechin, Rádio Gaúcha’s
Sports Coordinator
Rádio Gaúcha implemented a series of measures necessary for successful coverage. “The Confederations Cup, in 2013, served as a kind of lab for what we wanted this year. As with all projects developed within Rádio Gaúcha, we gathered our entire budget for this commercial project,” said Rafael Cechin, Rádio Gaúcha sports coordinator.

Since the station was in all the 2014 World Cup venues, it was able to broadcast all the 64 games and corresponding information. The station also had a strong presence at the International Broadcast Centre in Rio de Janeiro. It had reserved its space, which served as a studio and newsroom for the team of six staff members who stayed in Rio during the games, together with FIFA and Host Broadcast Services.

The station had 31 accredited staff members, of which 20 were traveling during the Cup. “The newsroom in Porto Alegre had an additional 15 staff members who were directly involved with the coverage. And all our employees, including the areas of journalism, administrative, transportation, technical and commercial departments, were mobilized for the World Cup in Brazil,” said Cechin.

Rádio Gaúcha had studios with digital circuits and equipment in all the World Cup venues. Wherever the Brazilian team went, the station’s staff members travelled along with them. There was always a back-up plan. The IBC in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre also made special preparations. Each reporter for Rádio Gaúcha had a mobile circuit thanks to Tieline and Comrex equipment.

Rádio Tupi, a well-known station in Rio de Janeiro, had nearly 150 staff members involved in covering the World Cup, including technicians, journalists, sports announcers and producers. The investment required a few million Brazilian real. “If we take into account the purchase of broadcast rights, equipment purchases, airplane tickets, accommodations and ‘per diem’ costs, that amount surpasses R3 million real [about US$1,360,000 or €1,000,000],” said Thiago Carneiro, technical manager at Rádio Tupi.

The station used IP codecs for audio transport, or V.35 or ISDN lines, depending on the feasibility and needs for each broadcast. Forty games were broadcast live. For this, the station invested heavily in Wheatstone AoIP technology for internal audio transport. “We were able to work on multiple games simultaneously without losing physical resources, thus making the operation incredibly simple,” said Carneiro.

Described by designer Christopher Lee as “the most perfect stadium in
South America,” the Estádio das Dunas in Natal, in the Brazilian state of
Rio Grande do Norte, was built to host a number of World Cup matches.
The Grupo Bandeirantes stations form the “Rede Verde-Amarela” (Green-Yellow Network), which is composed of BandNews FM, Rádio Bandeirantes, Bradesco Esportes FM, Band FM, Nativa FM and its affiliates. There are more than 130 stations spanning the country. The entire network participated in the coverage of the matches, while five main announcers along with another 35 commentators and reporters presented the broadcasts.

For the network, broadcasting the World Cup in Brazil was a high-cost endeavor, especially considering the expense of the broadcasting rights. “The acquisition of broadcasting rights made up at least 50 percent of the cost of total coverage operation,” said Rádio BandNews Managing Editor Sheila Magalhães.

To broadcast 56 live games, with flashes of the other eight games taking place at the same time as the games from the last round of groups, the station used an ISDN + IP line in the stadiums, and it used Tieline equipment with 3G technology for live broadcasts.

The three stations interviewed for this article were unanimous when asked about their biggest challenge. For those who thought that because the World Cup was in Brazil it would make broadcasts easier, they were seriously mistaken, they commented.

The Rede Verde-Amarela aimed to offer the most extensive coverage for radio listeners with reporters spread across the country. Rádio Tupi strived to inform and guide its audience with the best possible quality. Rádio Gaúcha took advantage of the first half of the year to have numerous preparatory staff meetings.

Thanks to hard work and early preparation, the 21 stations clearly met their broadcasting goals in offering a unique World Cup experience to its audience.

Érika Carvalhosa contributes to Radio World from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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