it left us Jose Luis Balbin Meana an excellent professional who never found borders that prevented him from advancing professionally: from Asturias to Madrid; from there to Germany and then to Paris to return to Madrid. From the Pravia magazine that he initially refounded, to the Pyresa agency; to Pueblo and from there to TVE; then Antena 3 Radio and television with Martin Ferrand; or also in the Communication cabinets of the Ministry of development at the beginning, or Prado Museum in the end. And we could still add that without organization chart borders, always going up and down from the base to the top and vice versa; from resignations to silences, imposed or elected.

Balbín’s journalistic life was intense and passionate, as he himself was; Generous without limits with friends and even with new acquaintances, as he has rarely been seen the same. Distributor of professional and reliable opportunities in advance, with loyalty to credit.

That was roughly the journalist and the character. But, as only happens in a few relevant biographies, he had in his hands the creation of an exceptional platform: the program ‘La Clave’ on Spanish Television. That colloquium that followed a film, more or less related to the title of the scheduled debate, came at a crucial moment in the life of Spain.

We were coming out of a dictatorship and we had to learn what democracy was. In Franco’s schools The concept had not been taught other than to revile it at the beginning and to justify at the end of the years that, “it is not that democracy was so bad, only that if it was tolerated in Spain, the citizens would kill each other & rdquor; .

Balbín struck down such nonsense every Friday night on the second channel of TVE. Families gathered to watch their program, learning subjects never taught here and discovering new characters, potential or new politicians, that had nothing to do with the bosses who for decades had had exclusive access to that extraordinary apparatus of power that was unique television.

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His program was watched by parents and grandparents but also by children because there were only two channels to choose from and usually only one receiver per household. For that reason, so many people of all ages now remember him, because he joined three generations before the screen announcing a new time for Spain. Respect and moderation were taught there: intelligence and contrast of opinions were exhibited. did more for parliamentarism in its weekly deliveries than years of schooling if it had been programmed like this from the successive Ministries of Education.

That is why, when in 2015, in the jury that decides the National Television Award I proposed his name, since my condition as president of the TV Academy, I did not find too much resistance; each legitimately defended candidates according to their interests, but Balbín’s proposal was finally approved unanimously. The spirit of ‘The Key’ was there many years, even decades, after it was last broadcast. Then, Balbín could hardly speak anymore but he listened to the official communication from the Minister of Culture; and later, in a very distant voice, he thanked me for defending his candidacy because his wife, Julia, put him on the phone. The Academy proposed it, true, but he just won it: ‘La Clave’ was alive and well, with deep roots in the memory and emotion of the members of the jury.


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