On September 7, 1922, the radio was used for the opening of the International Exhibition of the Centenary of the Independence of Brazil. During that decade, it was a technological invention still undergoing experimentation, and with limited scope. In the 1930s, however, this mechanical means of communication, based on sound waves, was consolidated and spread throughout the country, to the point of characterizing an entire era, known as the Radio Era. The radio set served both to inform and to entertain, with an expansive capacity to cover the entire national territory.
It is curious that most modernists have viewed this new means of mass communication with skepticism. Interested in preserving the national heritage, they understood mass culture, at first, as threatening to folklore and popular culture.
But, over time, the orality of radio communication made it possible to resize this perception, insofar as it contributed to dynamize the spoken language in which the modernists were so interested.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the influences voiced on the radio contributed to modifying the narrative objectivity of the sports chronicle, as portrayed in the newspapers. It is the popular music broadcast by the radios that popularized new anthems of football clubs, until then marked by a strong Parnassian and Belletrist diction. Lamartine Babo and Ary Barroso, two icons of popular music, would come to play an expressive role in popularizing the language of football, favoring a festive and carnivalesque atmosphere in the stadiums, and with an even greater identification of fans with sports broadcasts, giving rise to the bases of an urban and mass popular culture in 20th century Brazil.
Ary Barroso, an eminent composer of Brazilian Popular Music, also worked as a radio broadcaster and stood out for his passion for football and the Clube de Regatas do Flamengo. Photograph: Unknown Author | Editora Aquarela do Brasil; Fundação Biblioteca Nacional.
In 1941, radio broadcaster Ary Barroso, a fervent Flamengo fan, was banned from entering the premises of the Vasco da Gama stadium, in São Januário. The announcer didn’t hesitate: he climbed on the roof of a school in the neighborhood and broadcast the match anyway. Photograph: Unknown Author | Radio Tupi Archive.
In the center, Lamartine Babo, composer of carnival marches in the mid-twentieth century, responsible for creating the popular anthems of football clubs in Rio de Janeiro, which replaced the official compositions, relegated since then to oblivion. Photograph: Unknown Author | National Archive.
Radio brand Crosley model Trirdyn 3R3, 1924. With a noble wood cabinet, it is powered by batteries and uses an external speaker. Collection: Andreas Triantafyllou.