Day 5: Onda cero International; it was a breath of fresh air for expats on the Costa Blanca

Hugh and Beverly ran Onda cero International for several years and enjoyed bringing the British community together.

After running and making their own successful English language programme, Lifestyle, on a radio station in Benissa, Hugh and Beverly Stewart were approached by the Spanish broadcasting company  Onda cero, to start-up an international radio station broadcasting to expatriates on the Costa Blanca.

It was a huge challenge for two people who originally came to Spain to retire and no previous radio experience, other than producing ‘Lifestyle’. After thinking about the challenges, they both agreed that this would be not only be an exciting challenge, but could perhaps revolutionise life for some people here on the Costa Blanca and in Marbella, where their sister station was based.

The radio station was hugely succesful and was very community based with programmes about golf, sport, theatre and culture to name only a few. Lots of people wanted to get involved and they had no end of requests for people wanting to get their programmes on air. They were making radio for the community and for many lonely expatriates Onda cero became a friend.

But three years ago the radio station stopped broadcasting. Some people on the Costa Blanca speculated that it was because there were now so many English langauge stations that they were no longer popular – this was not the case… The radio stations closure came at a time when Hugh and Beverly wanted to retire and enjoy the life they originally came out to Spain for. The Spanish company that they worked for took the decision to close down the English language version and strengthen their own Spanish stations signal.

Onda cero International paved the way for many other English language stations here today on the Costa Blanca. Radio for some here in this expatriate community is their life line and allows them to know what is going on in their community. It’s not only an information service, but a friend for the lonely and the elderly who don’t have many people to turn to.

Click below to listen to the full interview:



About samanthapidoux

Double Edward R Murrow award winner for 'Best Documentary' and 'Best Feature'. Community and freelance journalist and programme maker. Currently working at the Lincoln School of Journalism at the University of Lincoln.

Posted on August 17, 2012, in Audio and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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