Posted by: calloftheandes | August 5, 2011

Longtime Reporter, Professor at Radio Ministry in Quito Dies at 64

by Ralph Kurtenbach and Hannah Larsen-Sorterup

Germán Carvajal

Germán Carvajal’s passion for radio burned so strongly that he once declared, “My life is for and through the radio.” The outreach in Quito, Ecuador, on which he lavished this passion was Radio Station HCJB, his employer for 25 years.

Carvajal came to refer to his co-workers as family, sharing joys and sorrows, tears and laughter. “My life with HCJB has been wonderful,” he wrote, adding that it included all the elements of a documentary or perhaps a radio drama. He felt that those at HCJB Global were like a large family that supported him through tragedies that occurred later in his life.

Carvajal began with the radio station in 1970, working nights and weekends. “In 1972 the station increased live reports from different areas of the city,” Carvajal wrote, listing the government palace and the congressional chamber as just two places where he reported. There were many more, and Carvajal added, “This kind of work provided me with valuable training, and so we later began doing live segments from other areas of Ecuador.”

In 1973 he developed a program of Ecuadorian music. He later recalled that “in 1977 I was on the streets in search of news. I covered an area of Quito that offered important sources of information. I reported the news as it happened.”

With the 1984 inauguration of HCJB Global’s Christian Center of Communications (CCC), he became one of the school’s professors. It was an apt fit for Carvajal, originally from southern Ecuador’s Loja province. The area is lauded nationwide for its residents’ properly spoken Spanish.

Carvajal later headed the news team and produced such radio magazine programs as La Hora Quince (3 p.m.), Concierto en Guitarra (Guitar concert) and Protejamos Nuestro Ambiente (Let’s protect our environment).

Married to Rocío and with three sons, Carvajal nonetheless spent countless hours traveling—too many, in fact, he later realized. With fellow newsmen and colleague at the CCC, Edwin Chamorro, he taught radio seminars throughout Ecuador. These activities provided Carvajal an outlet for his radio passion.

Chamorro remembered Carvajal as one who would endure personal insult but consistently stood up for HCJB at the slightest hint of criticism. “He simply loved HCJB,” he said.

An inventor of such words as boca de chauchera (mouth-like a coin purse) and pitimucha (mouth you form for a small kiss), Carvajal taught locution as well as radio production. He freely bestowed nicknames on friends, and his sense of humor was renowned, Chamorro added. With wit edging to lament, Carvajal looked at his own life and once joked that “if God would have blessed me with owning a circus, with my luck the midgets would have started to grow!”

Indeed, Carvajal suffered serious misfortunes. His ties to the station were at once proven and tested in 1995 when his young son, Renato, died of cancer at the age of 14. Carvajal was grateful for his station co-workers’ support. However, he wrote that “I decided in a given moment at the wake service that I would quit at the station to give more time at home.” He made plans to retire from HCJB Global at the end of the year.

Not long afterwards, tragedy struck again. On Dec. 31 Carvajal voiced newscasts and closed his last workday with an on-air goodbye to the station’s listeners. That night the couple’s oldest son, Xavier Ignacio, was struck by a vehicle while celebrating New Year’s Eve on the street with friends. Arriving at Hospital Vozandes-Quito, Xavier was already dead. He had turned 20 just a day earlier.

Recounting his emotional suffering, Carvajal wrote of “pain, tears, anger, the helplessness of not being able to do anything and questions without answers.” Eventually he and Rocío adopted a young boy, raising him with their one remaining son.

Even as sadness and pain mounted, Carvajal persisted in faith in God, according to Chamorro. During retirement, he voiced Spanish language versions of Jack Fontaine’s Bible teachings La Hora del Discipulado (Discipleship Hour) and narrated Desencadenados, the Spanish-language version of the long running radio drama, Unshackled.

Asked about a distinguishing characteristic of Carvajal, Chamorro responded that “Germán was ready to serve.”

Carvajal died on Monday, July 18, after spending two months in a Quito hospital, much of it under intensive care. He had continued as a CCC professor until 2010 even as diabetes dimmed his eyesight. He also suffered from high blood pressure.

Germán Asdrubal Carvajal Torres was born in Cariamanga, Ecuador, on April 16, 1947. After attending local schools, he went on to graduate in information sciences from the Universidad Central del Ecuador in Quito. He then worked in various Quito radio stations before joining the staff of Radio Station HCJB.

The mission staff conducted a memorial service at the station’s campus on Wednesday, July 20. Carvajal is survived by his wife, Rocío, and two sons, Leonardo and Sergio.


  1. […] Reporters for the religious station also told listeners in May 1981 of the deaths in a plane crash of Ecuadorian president Jaime Roldós, along with his wife and others. Via the airwaves, HCJB listeners were warned over the years of threats of volcanic eruptions and informed of devastation by earthquakes and other natural disasters. […]

  2. […] then working with a campus ministry, joined the HCJB news team two years later in 1987. A graduate of the social communication program at Central University in […]

  3. I was a student of journalism when I had the honor to meet Mr. Carvajal. His voice for me was magical, as it was his sense of humor. I did not know of his personal tragic loses and just heard of his passing, reading a radio blog.
    My condolences to his family and friends. I am sure German is in heaven, reading to the angels with his marvelous and unique deep voice.
    Rest in peace Maestro!

  4. Don German was a great teacher, a friend, an encourager, a father figure… He will be truly missed by his family and all of us, who were blessed to know him and were inspired by his love for Radio!

    • Christian,
      Thanks for your kind comment. Truly a joy to hear from one of the young people now in ministry who was mentored at the Christian Center of Communications by Germán Carvajal. -rvk

  5. Again, yet another saint called home. I sincerely hope we have 5 young people waiting to take his place. I will once again “beat the drum” for HCJB to do everything it can to recruit the next generation in every area and place it serves. The mnistey must go on and young people must hear the call to answer the call and our colleges are the place for the call to be made. Blessings on this saints family.

    • Thanks very much Greg. Thanks for your concerns for Rocio and the Carvajals’ sons. They can use your prayer during these challenging days. -Ralph

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