Jose Maria Garcia It was, for decades, the great reference of Spanish sports radio. With him a way of doing journalism was born, with a forceful style and without mincing words, and a competitive band on the airwaves, the one at midnight, in which he fought a bloody battle with his toughest rival, ‘El larguero’ by Jose Ramon de la Morena. At 79 years old, the man who made famous expressions such as “Ojo al dato”, “chupópteros” and “abrazafarolas” settles accounts with his past in ‘Supergarcia’, the three-episode docuseries about his career that Movistar Plus+ will premiere next Monday, May 29.
It is not the first time that he has been offered to do a docuseries about his life. What condition did she put on?
They just didn’t censor me. Those who know me already know that if that is not fulfilled I would not have done it.
You say that you had all the conditions for not having done anything in the world of radio. Because?
My voice was not at all radiophonic. When I started in the 1960s, Santiago Bernabéu, who was president of Madrid and with whom I didn’t get along very well, he told me that he had an effeminate voice.
Well, it marked a style precisely because it differed from the others.
I tried to be different by not living pending the whims of the leaders and being able to do journalism as I understood it. I worked at TVE, where there are professionals who have been there for 20 or 30 years because they came out with a golden pen to say: good news, we are hunting world champions. Instead, they threw me out every 15 days.
Did you say what you didn’t like to hear?
So much so that they punished me like at school, every 15 days at home. Until I got tired and told Adolfo Suárez that school was over and I was leaving.
“Extraordinary Showman”. Inaki Gabilondo
“They hated it, but they feared it.” @perezreverte
“God. And I wanted to be him.” @cristina_pardo
“Addictive”. Pedro Simon
“The greatest villain in history.” @juanmacastano
🎙️ #supergarcia 🎙️
— Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarPlus) May 22, 2023
He was the rambunctious kid in the class.
The class troublemaker is much more venial. They gave him much more importance because, as he explained things that they didn’t like, they said that he was incorrigible and ungovernable. There I began to show that those who rule are not always right. What’s more, they almost never have it.
How does your body look when they talk about you in the docuseries and you hear: “He was a dictator”; “He managed fear, threats”; “He did shit to get interviews”?
Well, I think it is rigorously false. If imposing a law on teamwork and performance was to be a dictator, then yes it would be.
Why is he so given to not saying goodbye when he leaves a program?
I didn’t say goodbye because if I did I would cause a lot of damage to someone who for years had been good to me, who had protected and defended me when they asked for my head every morning, every afternoon and every night: Eugenio Fontán. Saying that I was leaving because a censorship was imposed on me by the then Minister of Culture Pío Cabanillas did a damage to what had been my company that seemed unfair to me.
“On TVE they threw me out every 15 days”
José Ramón de la Morena has not wanted to speak in his docuseries. Does he understand?
It’s your problem, but absolutely nothing happens. I would have participated, but everyone has their opinion. In the same way that he called me after the mess (when he left the radio) to ask me if we could eat and I gladly accepted because we had both been wrong, I respect that he does not want to participate. What I know is that he is behaving with me like a gentleman. At COPE recently, he said that he was the best reporter he had ever met. He also did a program with children of journalists and when he asked his son who he would have dinner with, he said my name.
Do you then regret that fierce fight that they staged on the airwaves?
I regret that we got involved in an absurd war. When he called me, it seemed to me that we should teach young journalists a lesson that what he and I had done was not right. But he himself has suffered in the flesh from him to Cadena SER. He called me to tell me that they had made him an offer from Onda Cero and that he didn’t know what to do.
Come on, he asked for advice.
Yes. I told him that it would be good for him to experiment with something else, that he was going to discover many methods that he was not going to like at home. On the radio, the listener does not look for a particular station, but for a communicator. It has happened with Iñaki Gabilondo, with Luis del Olmo, with Encarna Sánchez, with Carlos Herrera, with me… It is not normal that he changed from SER to Onda Cero and more than a million listeners who put him on the first pass to 300,000. And then look how long it lasted.
🎙️ Official trailer of #supergarcia 🎙️
After 40 years in the profession, García left the radio without saying goodbye.
20 years later, he returns to a radio studio to tell his story.
He never kept quiet about what he thought.
And it won’t now.
— Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarPlus) May 11, 2023
Would you act very differently today in your career?
Totally different. I don’t regret how hard and how honest I’ve been. But maybe now that I have just enough left for the last ‘newscast’ I think I should have been a little more generous. Because we cannot take money, glory or honor to the other world, simply having been good and having helped those who have needed it, which in this case is what I am trying to do.
What do you think of current sports journalism?
They have invented the day laborers of praise, writing in the first person as if they were from the same team: “we are going to win”, “we have to win”… In Spanish football there is a president who has broken up several families of journalists, those who have been kicked out of sites for not agreeing with them. And I ask myself: what is more serious, buying a referee or a journalist?
He did not say the name of the president.
I’m not saying it because I know of one, but I think there are more.
Didn’t they scold you at home for the aubergines you got into?
Every day. My wife came to withdraw the greeting. She let me go: You’re crazy, but what atrocities you say! The only one who supported me in private and in public was Antonio Asensio, who was my protective shield.
“I should have put those who wrote the ‘Kings of the Night’ lies in jail”
Has the radio given you much trouble?
Many, but also satisfaction. Not just radio, but life. I have been the most difficult journalist in this country. In the personal chapter they have called me with all the insults: Butanito, Tiralíneas, who had an effeminate voice… I have fought all my life against windmills, I have had a hellish battle against the monopoly empire…
You didn’t bite your tongue either.
I have done sports criticism. We don’t realize that journalists have the power to convince people, but not to execute people. I have spent years saying ‘Pablo, Pablito, Pablete’ (in reference to Pablo Porta, president of the Spanish Football Federation between 1975 and 1984) and they told me that, since he lived in front of a school, he could not go out street at recess time because the children mounted a Christ with that phrase. But he was still president. And a minister comes out, makes a botched decree, and throws him out. So the power is held by the politician, not the journalist.
They say that you have pulled the strings so that there would not be a second season ofand ‘Kings of the night’, the Movistar series Plus+ that was inspired by his war with ‘El larguero’.
What power do I have in Movistar so that there are no ‘Kings of the night’? Although there I have been generous. He should have put those who wrote those lies in jail! It was an absolute hoax.
Have you considered returning to the airwaves?
No. Now I am enjoying my granddaughters. I have three: a five-year-old and two twins. They make me absolutely happy. They used to call me ‘crazy grandpa’. Now they call me ‘Lolo’.