Edgar Perea, the beloved radio personality, has died from a pulmonary disease at 81 years old. Just like Joe Arroyo, Edgar was Barraquillero by adoption; he was actually born in Condoto, Chocó. Perea was without a doubt the best sports narrator in Colombia’s history.
The acclaimed broadcaster was a fan-favorite voice for the people throughout his five decades in the industry, during which he hosted thousands of radio broadcasts for football (soccer), baseball, boxing, cycling and basketball. His strong voice, exciting narration, and controversial commentaries recounted the golden ages of Colombian sports history. Some of his most exciting moments included the world boxing title of Antonio ‘Kid Pambelé’ Cervantes, the silver medal of Helmut Bellingrodt in the 1972 Olympic Games, the goal of Freddy Rincon at Germany in the 1990 World Cup and the winning hit of Edgar Renteria for the 1997 World Series.
Perea started his radio career in Barranquilla in 1966, leaving legacies like the invention of the phrase “Junior Tu Papá” (the most iconic expression about the sharks). In the city, he had such a strong audience during Junior matches that Romelio Martinez Stadium seemed to amplify his transmission. There were even cases where referees stopped games, pleading for someone to turn off the voice that was distracting the players, but they couldn’t because it was coming through the radios of the thousands of fans tuned into his broadcast.
Among some of his more jealous colleagues runs the rumor that when Junior played boring games outside Barranquilla, he would spike things up a bit to keep the audience excited and keep them tuned in, even if on the pitch nothing was happening.
The fact was that his style was unique; he was capable of making a whole city gather to listen to his broadcast, and his word was the only truth. But also, as it happens with such strong personalities, he had a lot of haters, but to those he always said: “this is my style, to bread, bread and to wine, wine. If it burns, you can use arnica. If it itches you, then scratch yourself. I’m not afraid of anyone, and the day that I am, I’ll buy a dog”.
One time, after an easy Junior win and during a TV show in Bogotá, he began his show while eating papaya in order to provoke his colleagues and the fans of America de Cali making a reference to the phrase “papaya puesta, papaya partida”. And with that, he mocked the rival team for the whole show talking only about how to eat that fruit.
This controversial style brought several problems to his career, the biggest of which were three license suspensions by the Ministry of Communications. Nevertheless, his fame was solid and in fact his return from the last suspension came via helicopter, landing on the field at Metropolitano Stadium amidst massive applause and a standing ovation.
His fame made possible his incursion in politics and he was a senator of Colombia from 1998 to 2002 and twice was a candidate to be mayor of Barranquilla. He was also the ambassador of the country in South Africa from 2008 to 2011.
His body will be veiled today in Bogotá and tomorrow will be delivered to Barranquilla where it will be cremated. As was his wish, his ashes will be spread around Metropolitano stadium.