Jose Luis Balbin


July 1, 2022

José Luis Balbín Meana (Pravia, Asturias, August 19, 1940 - Tres Cantos, Madrid, June 22, 2022) was a Spanish journalist. In his long professional career, he leaves an indelible mark through his program La Clave, an essential reference point for Spanish television in the years of the democratic transition.[1]


Although he began law studies in 1959, a year later he entered the Official School of Journalism in Madrid, graduating in 1963. After doing internships at the newspaper La Nueva España in Oviedo, he first worked at Pyresa, where he wrote chronicles, film reviews and interviews. Later he joined the newspaper Pueblo and was a delegate for Radio Nacional de España and Televisión Española in Paris.[2] Years later he collaborated with magazines such as the weekly Interviú.[3] Its moment of greatest popularity coincided with the broadcast of the debate program La clave, in its first stage between 1976 and 1985, on La 2 de Televisión Española.[4] Considered the first debate program that addressed issues and positions that represented a openness to the democratic system in Spain during the Transition after the end of the Francisco Franco Dictatorship,[5] some of the programs addressed issues such as the new political parties, the situation of religion in Spain, the country's economic system, the party democracy or the future of the country.[6] Inspired by the program Les dossiers de l'écran ("The Screen Files"), created in France by Armand Jammot in 1967, The Key included the broadcast of a film that illustrated the topic to be addressed and, after its broadcast, a colloquium of guests who held opposing opinions on it was held.[7] Throughout its 408 broadcasts, prominent figures from the world of politics were invited, the hundred science and culture[8] in general such as Antonio García-Trevijano, Gonzalo Fernández de la Mora, Alfonso Guerra, Blas Piñar, Julio Anguita, Miguel Herrero and Rodríguez de Miñón, Santiago Carrillo, Ramón Tamames, José María Mohedano, Federica Montseny , Lidia Falcón, Jordi Pujol, Olof Palme, Neil Armstrong, Gustavo Bueno, Santiago Amón, Antonio Escohotado, Fernando Sánchez Dragó, Severo Ochoa, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Julián Lago, Ian Gibson, Manuel Martín Ferrand and Felipe Mellizo.[9]​ After the appointment of José María Calviño as general director of RTVE, Balbín became director of the Information Services of Spanish Television between 1982 and 1983. However, he was dismissed a few months later.[10] After a series of pressures from the government socialist chaired by Felipe González,[11] the program La Clave was closed[12] and Balbín gradually drifted towards positions clearly at odds with the government of those years.[13] After leaving Televisión Española, he focused his professional activity in the world of radio, where he directed the nightly slot Hora Cero, on Antena 3 Radio.[14] Political analysis program, winner of the 1991 Ondas Award,[15] He had among his list of collaborators Víctor Márquez Reviriego, Bieito Rubido, Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio, Luis Ángel de la Viuda, Antonio López, Federico Jiménez Losantos, Luis Herrero, Luis Foix, José Luis Orosa, Pablo Sebastián and Manuel Martín Ferrand.[16 ]​ After the start of private television broadcasts in Spain in June 1990, Balbín returned to television with a second stage of the debate space La Clave, on Antena 3 Televisión.[17] The program remained on the air until 1993. In 1994 , on the same chain, conducted an interview space entitled La senda.[18] In 1994, after the closure of Antena 3 Radio, he moved to the COPE network, joining as a collaborator of the talk show La lantern, directed by Luis Herrero and for years he remained a collaborator of the chain, first in the already m