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Ana Colaço: We spoke to the first female voice of the “Pacific Ocean”.

Ana Colaço was ten years old when Oceano Pacífico premiered in 1984. The program was directed by Marcos André and the idea was to play ballads and quiet music at the end of the night and early in the morning. A short time later, the announcer accepted another challenge and set about making “A Loja do Mestre André”. At that time, João Chaves stayed with “Oceano Pacífico”, the program he only left in 2013 – of all things to give it back to Marcos André, who picked up the format again and has stayed with it to this day.

During its 37 years of existence, it became an iconic and historic broadcast on Portuguese radio – the longest on national radio. A new phase began this year 2022, when Ana Colaço went on the air on January 2nd as the new official announcer of “Pacific Ocean”.

The show airs Sunday through Thursday from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. But it can also be heard online, in a digital broadcast 24 hours a day, for those who want to spend more time with the “Pacific Ocean”.

“At first I was dead quiet [risos], almost speechless,” Ana Colaço explains her reaction to the invitation from RFM director António Mendes. “Later, when I realized it was really serious, I accepted it with great emotion and responsibility. Because this is not only the oldest active radio program in Portugal, but also a mythical program that says a lot to many people. It’s very important for the Portuguese, for the collective memory.”

The invitation did not come out of nowhere, there was already a precedent. When other technical means began to make radio stations in the homes of speakers during the pandemic, many programs had to be retuned. At that time, Ana Colaço temporarily replaced Marcos André in the “Pacific Ocean” for a few months. “And suddenly I got this proposal almost on Christmas Eve… It was without a doubt my gift this year.”

João Chaves and Marcos André gave their blessing to Ana Colaço. “When I made the exchange, I spoke to both of them precisely about this ‘Pacific’ passage. And I always felt that they were both very pleased that I would continue Oceano. Because I always got on really well with them. They congratulated me and wished me good luck, and most importantly that it was me.”

Ana Colaço reckons it’s a huge “responsibility and honor.” “They are two men with a very strong voice, with a very strong presence, with very remarkable stories, not only on RFM but also on radio in Portugal. And suddenly the invitation comes to a female voice, 47 years old, already a bit mature.”

The goal is to use the charge of the female voice, convey extra sympathy, and maintain the forms of the show even as a distinct personality precedes it. “And it’s very odd to see the audience’s reaction in such a short amount of time and to see the audience responding so well to the difference. They, of course, talk about the continuation, because the big quiet songs are there, the goal of the program is the same, but it turns out to be different, after all, I bring stories and share them every day. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.”

Ana Colaço introduces listeners of all ages from northern and southern Portugal, but also expats in Switzerland, France or the Caribbean, who regularly follow the programs. The interaction with listeners that has always existed since the 1980s has shifted from letters and phone calls to messages on WhatsApp and Instagram. Also, he points out, the idea is to do Pacific Ocean outside of the studio when it makes sense, because there are conditions for that today. After all, Ana Colaço has always been a reporter and spent as much time outdoors as in the studio.

A life connected to the radio

Ana Colaço grew up listening to the radio – and “Oceano Pacífico” has always been one of the most present shows, among other things she is listed on TSF, like “O Postigo da Noite” by Fernando Alves. “Of course I’ve studied, slept and lived a lot to the sound of the ‘Pacific Ocean’. At the time when it was 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., I learned a lot of songs there.”

As a child, I played radio with my family. “I had my grandparents and parents at one table. We had a reel machine, a tape recorder and we also had a turntable. I did the interview, I said to my grandfather: “Today you will become an accountant.” [risos], invented professions for the different elements of the family, and they had to react according to what they found. You have always been very patient with me. It was one of my favorite games, doing those shots in the dining room.”

He adds: “I’ve always loved hearing and telling stories. And that makes the difference. As a child I liked stories, reading. And throughout my life, my entire academic process has been to be a journalist, especially in the press, which I never became. With a passion for the voice, for radio, for this wonderful thing that we can communicate with each other, I have always had a strong connection to radio and when I entered the workforce my goal immediately was radio as a journalist.”

He took the course in Social and Cultural Communication – Journalism at the Catholic University of Portugal. During his studies, at the age of 19, he had the opportunity to do a general internship in the R/Com group of Renascença, RFM and Mega FM. Then he applied for transit service for six months. At that time he worked with José Carlos Malato, Susana da Mata and Irene Luís.

He wanted to be a journalist and, of all places, made it to the editorial office of Renascença, where he stayed for 14 years. Oddly enough, many paths crossed with João Chaves back then. “I had worked the morning shift at Renascença for many years, so João and I shared the same garage because João arrived at the end of the day [risos].”

Ana Colaço was a journalist for 14 years.

14 years later he received a challenge from António Mendes to join RFM and become an entertainment reporter. We asked Ana Colaço if the idea had crossed her mind by then.

“Until António asked me the question, I have to admit that I didn’t do it. Because I felt very comfortable in the role of a journalist, even more so as a reporter. As soon as António came up with the hypothesis, my question was: why not? And later, of course, it made sense. Because when I switched to animation, I continued to be a reporter – not as a journalist, but as field and studio work. And I always had exactly the right program at the weekend so that I could go out freely at any time. It was almost my agreement with António Mendes [risos].”

For another 14 years he was the voice of a station on RFM along with other speakers. That means he was one of the voices that made jingles and said the title of a show, for example. Ana Colaço was exactly the voice in “Oceano Pacífico”. “That female voice saying ‘pacific’? That’s when I did it. There was even one listener who called me the “wave girl”. Because it said ‘Pacific Ocean’ over the sound of the waves.”

João Chaves and Marcos André were responsible for the program for many years. So we asked the new voice actress if she also sees “Pacific Ocean” as a long-term project. “That is a difficult question to answer. [risos]. I know I’m very happy right now and professionally I’ve gotten to a point where I was almost afraid to dream. It’s really a big responsibility, I’m sure I’ll do whatever it takes to live up to it, but I think I’ll be with Ocean for at least the next three years.”

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