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A life dedicated to Channel 7

He lived through the change from black and white television to color images, and today he is also witnessing the implementation of digital television; therefore, it can be said that Cayetanó Grossi is a testimony and protagonist of the audiovisual industry in Argentina from his role as Technical Head of Channel 7.

By Alejandra García Vélez

His first memory of the corridors of Channel 7, the one in which he still works today as Technical Chief, he built them when he was still a child. From the age of five, Cayetano Grossi was already exploring the facilities of what was the cradle of television in Argentina and began to know the industry that would mark his life.

Canal 7 is a state-owned television station and the first channel to broadcast in Argentina. Their story began on October 17, 51 when they made the first transmission from the Plaza de Mayo for the Day of Peronist Loyalty.

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In 1955 an aunt of Grossi would become the first announcer of the channel and since then, its future technical head would walk around the facilities knowing all the secrets of the industry. This experience that amazed him as a child would be the basis that would lead him to train and dedicate himself to television production.

But as he puts it, the process to get to where he is today was slow; He began with his high school studies that graduated him as an electronics technician, later he would train in Electromechanical Engineering at the University of Buenos Aires. To enter the world of work in 1978, just as the images on the screen began to change from black and white to color.

Teaching has also been an important factor in the life of this professional, who already in 1975, even before graduating, began to venture into this field. Education has been a passion that has accompanied him throughout his life and remains fundamental to him today.

His main experience was traveling around the country visiting the nearly 40 over-the-air channels that existed at the time, to train his staff in the challenges of implementing color television.  He has also worked at universities such as the University of Buenos Aires, the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina and the Universidad de Belgrano as a professor in the engineering faculties.

Challenges of yesterday and today

Just as more than 30 years ago he was a witness and protagonist of the evolution of television towards a new format, with the change from black and white to color, today he is also one of the main figures of the migration towards digital terrestrial television.

His interest in this subject comes from 1997 when he began to give several lectures on the subject. And he does not hesitate to affirm that the main challenge facing the industry today is precisely to update video and audio technology towards digital evolution.

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In that sense, he affirms that "given that Argentina is taking its first steps in the Japanese-Brazilian digital transmission standard, like most of South America, our task and that of the suppliers is to ensure a development according to what the community needs."

Grossi recalls that in Argentina digital television began to be talked about in 1997, when experts in the ATSC and DVB standards, which were the ones that existed at that time, visited the country and began to give talks on the subject.

Although in 1998 ATSC was adopted in the country, "very hurried" says the professional of the month; but after years without starting its implementation, in 2009 agreed within the framework of Mercosur Argentina decides to avail itself of the Brazilian-Japanese standard.

"Between 1997 and 2009 the topic of digital terrestrial television was very academic; only from the choice of the Brazilian standard does a more serious technical work begin," says Grossi. Precisely, in June 2010 the first official transmission of digital television was made using the new standard chosen, being Channel 7 the pioneer for the country in this type of format.

Beyond the challenge that today all the countries of the continent face with the arrival of DTT, Grossi emphasizes that another of the main changes that television has suffered in the time it has been working in the industry is that more and more equipment is imported and national production tends to disappear, "the train of history is being lost," says the interviewee.

He also points out that "this is a country very aware of politics, so depending on the changes that are experienced in that panorama there may be an influence on the technological evolution of the country."

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He added that "my professional goal at this stage of my life is to be able to transfer my experiences to the youngest. In my position at Channel 7 I try to teach with the staff I worked with."

The family

Although engaging in television can be strenuous, with long working hours that almost always include weekends and even holidays, the life of professionals in this industry cannot be limited to their work alone. In Grossi's case, reading both literature and newspapers is one of the activities he enjoys most outside the workplace.

He says that he likes to be informed of the current political and economic situation in the world. He also enjoys walking and generally maintaining a healthy life. With his family, consisting of his wife and three children aged 23, 21 and 7, he enjoys traveling a lot, especially since his wife is a specialist in this field.

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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