Martino Di Benedetto, toda una vida hecha alrededor de la radio y la televisión tucumanas

El locutor recordó sus inicios en la plaza Yrigoyen, de donde pasó a radio Splendid y luego a Canal 10 con “La hora italiana”

A mediados de 1948 se había remodelado la plaza Yrigoyen, ubicada frente a Tribunales. El coqueto paseo atraía a los vecinos de los alrededores con sus flamantes jardines floridos. Uno de los comerciantes decidió musicalizar con tango las noches de la plaza para atraer más visitantes. Contrató a un joven locutor para presentar ese ciclo. La voz era la de Martino Di Benedetto, descendiente de una familia de inmigrantes italianos que se había afincado en Tucumán. Con 22 años a cuestas, Di Benedetto era celador en el Colegio Nacional -de día-, y oficiaba de locutor en la plaza frente a Tribunales -de noche-.

Tres años estuvo con ese ciclo hasta que el 1 de noviembre de 1948 se abrió una nueva puerta. Ese día se inauguró Radio Splendid, en el mismo edificio donde funcionaba LV12 Radio Independencia, en la calle Rivadavia 120 (ahora Virgen de La Merced).

En aquel tiempo, el jefe de celadores del Colegio Nacional era David Raúl Ménder, que después se convirtió en un histórico de Justicia Federal de Tucumán. Ménder impulsó y acompañó a Di Benedetto a una prueba en la nueva radio Splendid. El jefe artístico de la emisora era Pascual Strassa, que estaba tomando las pruebas a los aspirantes. Al final, Di Benedetto consultó cómo había resultado su prueba. “Cómo la m… -respondió Strassa-, como todos los demás”. Sin embargo, Strassa se apiadó del “Tano”, porque los otros habían tenido un curso de capacitación de seis meses antes de tomar la prueba; entonces resolvió darle otra oportunidad. Así entró Di Benedetto a Radio Splendid.

En esa emisora comenzó con su programa “La hora italiana”, que en aquel tiempo se transmitía solo los miércoles y viernes de 22 a 23. Hoy en día, con 91 años cumplidos, Di Benedetto recuerda aquellos tiempos con una mezcla de nostalgia y felicidad. “Yo hacía la parte artística”, dice Di Benedetto. “Al segundo programa llegó a la radio el empresario Oscar Grammatico, que era dueño de ‘La Esmeralda’, un local de joyería y relojería, y quería auspiciar el programa”, detalla con una sonrisa. Entonces el dueño de la radio, Oberdan Zarlenga, le ofreció un contrato exclusivo por dos años, precisa.

Dice que tuvo tanto éxito con el programa radial que, al poco tiempo lo nombraron director artístico de Radio Splendid, emisora en la que llegó a trabajar durante 31 años.

“La hora italiana” llegó por primera vez a la televisión en Canal 10, el 1 de diciembre de 1970. “Me programaron para un domingo a las 11, después de la misa -recuerda Di Benedetto-; en ese tiempo, Lucila Padrón era la directora de Canal 10 y ella me puso un horario complicado, porque no quería que tuviera éxito. Con unos afiches que teníamos a mano logramos armar un set para grabar el programa”.

El programa comenzó bien en audiencia y llegó a estar en el aire durante 24 años, una vez por semana, durante 30 minutos los sábados a la tarde desde 1970 hasta 1993.

“La Sociedad Dante Alighieri traía personalidades de Italia a la UNT y ellos pasaban por el programa de televisión”, comenta.

Después llegó la etapa del canal de cable. En 1993 inició el ciclo en CCC con una hora semanal. “Esto quiere decir que es uno de los programas más viejos de Tucumán”, resalta con orgullo.

Viajes a Europa

Al principio era muy difícil conseguir el material para poner al aire, tanto en la radio como en la televisión. Cuando estaba en Radio Splendid tenía discos para un mes de programa, pero el dueño de la radio había firmado contrato por dos años; e. Entonces se vio obligado a viajar a Italia.

“En esos primeros viajes, el barco tardaba 18 días en llegar -rememora-; salía de Buenos Aires, y pasaba por los puertos de Montevideo (Uruguay), Santos, Río, Natal (Brasil), Barcelona (España), hasta llegar a Nápoles y Génova (Italia)”.

Otra de las hazañas que Di Benedetto guarda en sus recuerdos fue el haber realizado la primera transmisión vía satélite para radio en Tucumán. “En 1969, la radio LV7 quería transmitir la final de la Copa Intercontinental y yo conseguí un auspiciante para poder hacerlo. Fuimos por ocho días con el equipo de relatores y comentaristas, pero al final nos quedamos más de 40 días. Cuando volví, mi esposa, Edith Puerto, me quería matar”, recuerda sonriente el hombre que fue uno de los pioneros en los medios de comunicación de Tucumán.

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