Puerto Rican businessman and pioneer in the field of communications on the island. He was the founder of the first large media conglomerate in Puerto Rico, consisting of the newspaper El Mundo, WKAQ Radio and WKAQ, Telemundo, Channel 2. This television station was the first to operate on the island. He also established the Angel Ramos Foundation, dedicated to supporting non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico.
Angel Manuel Ramos Torres was born on October 3, 1902, in Manatí, the son of Braulia Torres Gilberty and Juan Ramón Ramos Vélez, who was a lawyer and the mayor of the town (1872). His father died when Angel was just six years old. He attended elementary school in his hometown. As an adolescent, he helped support his family by working in a candy shop owned by his uncle, Manuel Torres Gilberty.
After finishing ninth grade, he moved to San Juan and enrolled at the Santurce Central High School, where he attended classes in the morning. In the afternoons and evenings, he worked at a printing press. In 1920, at 18 years of age, he got a job correcting proofs and paginating at the newspaper El Mundo, a daily that had been founded by Romualdo Real. Angel Ramos continued his studies at night.
Over the years, he held various positions at El Mundo: reporter, translator, advertising manager, classified advertising manager, general manager, and finally, editor. In 1929, along with journalist José Coll Vidal, he acquired the newspaper and in 1944 he bought out Coll Vidal, becoming the sole owner of the daily. Until the early 1970s, El Mundo was the largest circulation daily in Puerto Rico.
In the late 1940s, Ramos founded the radio station WEMB Radio El Mundo, which broadcast classical music, and two years later he acquired WKAQ, which had been the first radio station established on the island (1922). He took WEMB off the air and transformed WKAQ into Radio El Mundo. The same year, he also bought WNEL.
After dominating the communications media with his newspaper and radio stations, Angel Ramos proposed the establishment of the first television station in Puerto Rico. In early 1954, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal agency that regulates communications in the United States and Puerto Rico, granted the required permits. On March 28, 1954, WKAQ Telemundo, Channel 2, broadcast its regular programming signal, the moment that marked the beginning of commercial television in Puerto Rico. On August 22, 1955, Telemundo began broadcasting the first television series produced on the island, Ante la ley.
Ramos presided over the Executive Committee of the Inter-American Press Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the freedom of the press throughout the Americas. He was also interested in the cultural development of Puerto Rico. He was a supporter of the Casals Festival and the opera and the visual arts. In 1959 he established the Angel Ramos Foundation to support the organizations that serve the communities of Puerto Rico.
Over the years, Angel Ramos was awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Moore Cabot Award, which was given him by Columbia University in 1950. In 1957, the Institute of Puerto Rico in New York named him Citizen of the Year.
Angel Ramos died in New York City on September 1, 1960, due to a thrombosis. After his death, his widow, Argentina Schifano (later Argentina Hills), took the reins of the El Mundo businesses and the Foundation.
Among the organizations or projects that received support from the Angel Ramos Foundation are the Visitors Center at the Arecibo Observatory, the Health Pavilion at the Bayamón Science Park, the Puerto Rico Museum of Art and the Puerto Rico´s Online Encyclopedia.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 12, 2014.
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