On September 29th, 1963 Tele Aruba N.V. proudly began to operate as the first Aruban National television company. Because the Dutch Antilles Government at that time did not plan to open a television station, it took great effort and sacrifice to build Tele Aruba N.V. and its concept.
The Dutch Antilles Government planned to open a relay-transmitter through Tele-Curacao, the television station in Curacao, so the community of Aruba can also watch Tele-Curacao. Tele-Curacao began its operation during the month of July in 1960 through the central government of the Dutch Antilles.
During this time, the BARTELL GROUP, managed by Gerald Barter decided together with the government of the Dutch Antilles that “pay television” was not possible in Curacao, hence they received permission to work with commercials to raise funds.
The Dutch Antilles Government and Bartell group founded NATEC, which is the acronym for Netherlands Antilles Television & Electronic Company.
The concept of Tele Aruba started by a desire of the community of Aruba for having their own local public television station, during the decade of the 40s thru the 60s the only television stations that could be received over the air on Aruba on television sets, where the major television networks from Venezuela.
It all started during the Dutch colonization period, the island of Aruba as a part of the Dutch Kingdom was ruled by the jurisdiction of the Government of Netherlands Antilles located at the city of Willemstad on the island of Curacao, and during this period the Government of Netherlands Antilles had no plans to establish a local television station for Aruba.
The Netherlands Antilles Government planned instead to establish a relay-television transmitter on Aruba through Tele-Curacao, located on the island of Curacao, in order that the community of Aruba can also watch Tele-Curacao.
During this time, Bartell Group a division of Mac Fadden Publications, managed by American media broadcasters Gerald and David Bartell decided together with the Government of Netherlands Antilles that “pay television” was not possible in Curacao, hence they received permission to sell advertisements and sponsored air-time.
The Government of Netherlands Antilles and Bartell Group founded NATEC, which is the acronym for Netherlands Antilles Television & Electronic Company.
Tele-Curacao began its operations on July 31st, 1960 under the management of the Central Government of Netherlands Antilles. As plans continued on for building a relay television station for Aruba, the community of Aruba kept firmly on its desire to have its own local public television station and not a relay television station. The wish of the community of Aruba was granted and Tele Aruba was established and began its operations on September 23rd, 1963, with a minimum of 15 employees.
The first building from which Tele-Aruba started operating, was smaller than the building of a well-known AM religious radio station on the island “Radio Victoria” that was operated by U.S. Evangelical Missionaries, it took great effort and dedication to building Tele-Aruba and its concept as a local public television station.
As the days were approaching for Tele Aruba’s grand opening, the employees experienced a time of great anxiety and deadlines, one of those critical moments was that the well-known lighting supplier “Philips” performed a lighting test in the studio with TL (fluorescent) lights, however, the type of video camera available at that time “Plumbicon” based on a “cathode ray” tube video-camera was not sensitive enough to display the proper video image for broadcast.
As a result, Tele Aruba was required to supply studios with spotlights to have the right amount of lighting for the cameras. In addition, two days before the official opening, the studio floor had to be completely reconstructed to assure smooth pavement for the cameras to move efficiently.
Tele Aruba’s staff included both native Aruban employees and employees from Tele Curacao with support of NATEC and Bartell Group, which later on both stations merged under the ownership of ATM “Antiliaanse Televisie Maatschappij” (Antilles Television Enterprise) On September 29th, 1963 at 7:00 pm. Tele Aruba officially went on the air as the first television station established on Aruba, the launching of the station was a major success where local artists and personalities performed and all the people involved with Tele Aruba gave proud speeches.
However, during the launching of Tele Aruba on that same night, there were faced technical troubles with the over the air broadcast. Tele Aruba at that time was broadcasting on channel 12 VHF and was experiencing interference from a relay transmitter of a television station from Venezuela broadcasting from the city of Coro, state of Falcón (Estado Falcón) that was also broadcasting on Channel 12.
Tele Aruba did not have enough available broadcast power to broadcast efficiently for the local community of Aruba on Channel 12, at that time there were only 500 Watts available of broadcast power. On many locations of Aruba reception of Tele Aruba on television sets was being distorted with a strong interference from a relay TV Station of Venezuela that was also broadcasting on Channel 12.
Tele Aruba had to come up with a solution. It was then decided that Tele Aruba would not increase its broadcast power, but rather request permission to broadcast on a different and clear channel. The request was done to broadcast on Channel 13 VHF and has been granted, up to this day Channel 13 with its call sign P4 A13 is the official channel of Tele Aruba. Many broadcast techniques Tele Aruba had employed over the years, to mention a few: Film projector type based on 16-millimeter films, slides, flip cards, studio camera, and an announcing booth.
Commercials were done mostly ‘live on camera’, in order to not bore the viewer the announcer changed clothes for every live commercial. The announcer needed to memorize all their scripts and could not change the content of the text.
The technical director in the control room had a copy of the script assigned to the announcer. If the announcer were to change the text it would not match with the duration of the soundtrack of the commercial. Per night the announcer would present 5 “live” commercials. The cameraman in the studio became experts in changing shots despite the fact that there was only one camera.
The viewers at home did hardly noticed if not any, this is due to the expertise of the cameraman, along with advice from Dutch broadcast engineers and ultimately thanks to the technical features of the Multi-Plexer camera used in the control room, it all went well. The multiplexer camera was based on a mirroring technique, which allowed the camera to become multi-functional.
The MultiPlexer camera was connected to several sources: “Fernsehen” film projectors, slide drums, station identification card, and a live announcement booth. All these sources allowed the cameramen to change the shots, therefore creating a different impression for the viewer.
Tele Aruba presented a variety of locally produced programs as well different syndicated shows that came from South America and the United States, among the shows were included soap operas and movies.
As a local commercial television station, Tele Aruba sold advertisements and sponsored air-time, in the past commercials consisted of slides, pictures, film, or live on camera. After that when videotape technology became available, Tele Aruba did migrate to the videotape format of U-MATIC SP ¾ inch.
This gave the concept of making commercials a new dimension (pre-recording a commercial, editing a commercial) also during this time color television was introduced and this was an outstanding value for producing commercials in color on videotape.
When Tele Aruba started to develop plans to switch over to color broadcast it had to be decided on a compatible one as its Venezuelan competitors would make use of.
It was confirmed that Venezuela would use the same color broadcast structure as the U.S. that is the NTSC (National Television Systems Committee) and based on this broadcast structure Tele Aruba started on the 12th of July, 1973 broadcasting in color after several tests and researches were conducted. In the meantime, the major television networks from Venezuela were still broadcasting in black and white up the end of the ’70s.
During 1983 Tele Aruba acquired its first mobile production truck from Shook Mobile Technology, the mobile production truck had all the facilities that productions can be done on remote locations, later on, microwave broadcast technology was also incorporated that enabled live broadcasting of events around the island.
When Aruba acquired its Apart Status (Status Aparte) in the Dutch Kingdom as of January 1st, 1986, the island was no longer part of the Netherlands Antilles and during this same period Tele Aruba was incorporated and was no longer part of “Antilliaanse Televisie Maatschappij” (Antilles Television Enterprise) ATM, Tele Curacao remained under the ownership of ATM.
Tele Aruba became as of January 1st, 1986 a fully local supported public television station and has experienced, over the upcoming years many positive developments, more programming has been added as well the broadcast time has been gradually increased from 6 hours up to 14 hours daily on the air, during 1993 the station experienced a major technical upgrade and expansion of its broadcast facilities, broadcast power over the air has been increased from 500 Watts to 1000 Watts (1Kw), during the same year of 1993 Tele Aruba became available on the newly established Cable Television (CATV) service on Channels 13 and 23.
Over the years a variety of broadcast techniques have been employed at Tele Aruba, among those were: videotape systems based on BETACAM SP/DV-CAM SP, as well as digital non-linear editing computer-based systems. On September 14th, 2004 SETAR (which is the acronym for Servicio di Telecomunicacion di Aruba), the national telecommunications provider of Aruba purchased Tele Aruba based on all the potential it has to offer as a television broadcast enterprise.
In a short time after the Government of Aruba as the former major shareholder of Tele Aruba sold the television station to SETAR, the station did undergo an extensive period of re-organization, remodeling of the building, acquisition of modern broadcast video production equipment as well programming has been increased to 24 hours a day.
On March 11th, 2005 Telearuba restarted officially its operations under the ownership of SETAR. Today Telearuba enjoys a newly modernized logo of the iconic “Watapana” tree, renovated building, modern digital broadcast facilities, and a dynamic team. Telearuba has been operating for many years on Channel 13 VHF over the air, as well on Channels 13 and 23 on Cable Television along with living streaming, in keeping up with innovation during November 2010 Telearuba Channel 313 HD was launched as the first local High Definition channel of Aruba.
Telearuba as the leading television station on the island, provides the best of variety programming to its audience, from locally-produced programs such as in-depth live coverage of cultural events and entertainment, comprehensive and relevant news, live talk shows, children’s programming, sports coverage, and exciting game shows. Telearuba is available on a variety of broadcast platforms 24 hours a day 7 days a week, Telearuba continuously explores new possibilities to offer a richer mix of content to our viewers.