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Evolution of the industry in the eyes of a professional


Yesid Guerra, technical director at Caracol Televisión, is recognized as one of the most important professionals in Colombia in this field thanks to his years of experience, and to the fact that he has witnessed and architected the main technological changes in this industry.

by Alejandra García Vélez

Papayas and sideburns were used by the neighbors to pay him when he began working as a radio and television technician to repair these equipment, today he is one of the most recognized figures in Colombia in the field of television production. He is Yesid Guerra, technical director at Caracol Television.

His birthplace was the city of Barranquilla where he was born on October 30, 1950, there he began his journey when he graduated as a Technical Bachelor in Radio and Television at the Industrial Technical Institute of the Atlantic in 1971 and later, he would receive an Electronic Engineer at the University of Antioquia.

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But, beyond his studies, his interest in knowing all the secrets of electronic devices arose since childhood: "My parents had a store in which there was a vitrola, its mechanism of receiving the coin, selecting and depositing the disc for reproduction seemed fascinating to me and every time the technician went to repair it I spent all my time by his side observing how he did it, from there I think my interest in electronics came from," he explains.

He also remembers another time that in his youth prompted him to follow this path. During those years, Guerra escaped from school to go swimming in the Magdalena River or its lagoons which caused him the loss of the school year, his father then decided to talk to a friend of his who had an electronic equipment repair shop to receive him as an assistant, without paying him. "I consider my father's decision the foundation of my professional development. There, loading the tool case with the technician, it was where I learned to repair televisions, sound equipment, and radios."

During his professional career he has gone through different organizations; recently graduated he was linked as a professor at the Autonomous University of the West in Cali, in 1981 the SENA of the city of Cali decided to leave the slides, Super 8 and 14 mm that until then they had used in their audiovisuals and decided to enter the era of video building the National Audiovisual Production Center, there Guerra entered as a Support Engineer.

He also worked at Cable Visión de Cali, Telepacifico, Noticiero QAP, TV 13 Ltda, RCN Televisión, Telecaribe and Caracol Televisión, where since April 1, 2002 he has served as technical director.

An evolving industry

The technological challenges to maintain competitiveness in the market are great, says Guerra; on the one hand, because the permanence in the middle of a certain technology is very short, also because of the high costs that must be paid to import said technology and finally because it is necessary to be completely sure that the selected equipment will solve the changing flows of the production and distribution processes.

Due to the above, explains the professional of the month, decisions of a technical nature are regularly taken to an Engineering Committee made up of the chief engineers of each area where the pros and cons of each technology are discussed.

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He also spoke of the process that this is living with the CNTV (National Television Commission) in the face of the arrival of DTT; "through some work tables, in which we participate with other companies in the medium, we seek to make a regulation that allows the best development of the industry especially with the arrival of DTT, God willing that we achieve it since this will allow a television with better technical quality, with more and better content".

Another major challenge, Guerra highlights, is the distribution of content across multiple platforms. " Broadcast is not going to disappear, even in the medium term, but the high and growing rates of access to television by other means are undeniable. I see with great satisfaction the internationalization of many companies in the medium and their diversification towards the development of multiplatform content".

His career is a testament to the evolution of television in Colombia, as he has witnessed events that have changed the course of the industry in the country. When he started his work television was still in black and white, so he lived that transition to color and even during that time he dictated laboratories in workshops and institutes of television and electronics.

Later, with the formation of the regional channels, he participated in the assembly of the headquarters and transmission network of Telepacífico, a channel that is transmitted in the Colombian Pacific region; later, he led the assembly of the QAP newscast. He also joined RCN Television, when the channel was just beginning, to participate as chief news engineer and finally came to Caracol Television to take the reins of the technical direction and "participate directly in all the design and assembly of this great infrastructure".

The challenge today is DTT with the DVB-T standard, although Guerra affirms in this regard that "we would like as a private channel to take the step towards DVB-T2, which is the natural evolution of the approved standard, a decision that will have to be taken in the coming days, it is clear that this is still in the hands of the CNTV and that the longer we delay in making that decision, the greater the socioeconomic effect".

Finally, beyond the technical requirements of his work, Guerra emphasizes that "I believe in respect and equality of people. In the permanent training of the staff, their work and family well-being, because all this results in a very strong teamwork, in a conservation of talent and in better service to third parties and our corporation, in the development of contents and the provision of production services of the best quality ".

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And he concluded by saying that "I believe that a fundamental objective of all companies in the medium should be to develop creativity and innovation in their talent and successfully transfer that to their portfolio of products and services."

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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