Alfonso Arús: “Sálvame deserved an ending that did more justice to his spirit but without Jorge Javier it was complicated”

Alfonso Arús (Barcelona, ​​May 22, 1961) predicts that Sonsoles Onega will win the afternoon game, reprimands Paul Vasily for not listening and comes to the rescue of Save me for his unfair end. Arús entered Spanish communication through the window: at the beginning of the eighties he slipped into a press conference of his idolized Julio Iglesias, He asked the Iberian myth good questions and a director of Radio Juventud noticed the young pen.

Result? Arús signed up for the extinct public station to work from Monday to Friday and that same manager, who had a pirate station in Sitges, incorporated it into the weekend programming.

And there two miracles happened: on the one hand, Arús coincided with another communication genius, Jorge Salvador (Martian Chronicles, El Hormiguero), and on the other, a director of Antena 3 Radio approached Sitges with his car and fell in love with the tandem.

Soon, Arús and Salvador were going to Barcelona to do the midday section of Antena 3 de Radio in Barcelona. His programs on the station he led Jose Maria Garcia They were a success, but a clash with a manager forced them to leave the house and rent hours on a local radio station to narrate Barça on weekends in a humorous tone.

That was where ‘Força Barça’ was born, which was the preamble to other Arús hits: the morning ‘Arus with milk’ or the television ‘The house through the window’. None of them can be compared with the great hit of the communicator at the beginning of the nineties: ‘Top Videos’.

Arús left this millionaire format to bet on authorship with formats such as ‘Attack’ y ‘El Chou’. Later, and after falling out with Antonio Asensio, the showman made the television adaptation of ‘Força Barça’ on TV3, for which he would also write a later magazine, ‘Ja hi som’.

Arús would later take his radio programs from Prisa to Cadena 100, he would collect on a small local Catalan TV, first City TV later renamed as 8TV, and in between he presented ‘Tan agustito’ on TVE and directed ‘El rondo’.

In 2018, with TVE, Mediaset and Atresmedia following in his footsteps, he signed for the latter to get up early on La Sexta. And from the 5% that he ripped off, he now goes from 15% and has become the king of the mornings after dethroning Ana Rosa Quintana many days in the last season.

With Arús we talked about all this.

What novelties will the new season of ‘Aruser@s’ start with?

I am not in favor of big changes at the beginning of the course. The evolution of ‘Aruser@s’ occurs naturally during the season. This year the contents will be similar but the distribution will be different. The audience has gotten used to our speed and this season we will put up a gear.

As of September you will have a new rival on Telecinco, ‘La mirada crítica’, which joins other informative breakfasts such as ‘La hora de La 1’ or the first section of ‘Espejo público’. I understand that one of the keys to your success is to present yourself as an alternative to politics between nine and eleven in the morning.

The fact that a government has not been formed and having to go through one or two investiture sessions, or even go to elections again, obviously does not benefit us. But we will try, again, to be the alternative. The in-depth political information is carried by ‘Al red hot’. But I still believe that there is life (and public) outside of politics, from 7 to 11am.

A few weeks ago Ana Rosa Quintana said that you don’t compete in her ‘League’. Did her words bother you?

Not me personally. I never talk about audiences. In only 1,075 La Sexta programs did we give global share data for the five seasons, and it was indicated by the channel. It still seems very self-centered to me. Having said this, what Ana Rosa said did not bother me because I do not attach any importance to it. I know the data I have and, for me, it is enough.

But your team and your public must be defended if the opinion is inaccurate. And for this reason I answered a question in a humorous way, without acrimony. Of course: it is absurd to talk about several leagues. The league is the same for everyone. It’s just that some media have budgets from Real Madrid and Barça, and others are more modest.

Do you think that the ninguneo of AR, or as you call it “queen emeritus”, is in line with other contempt in the sector towards ‘Aruser@s’, who is not being reflected in the media as the king of the morning (or at least of the first stretch)?

I proclaim myself every morning “The buffalo of the mornings”. So you can see how important it is to me to be “king” or not. It’s a very old title. But it doesn’t seem fair to say that we are “something else” or that we are not “current events”.

We give more news than the competition every morning, with immediacy and rigor. Another thing is that we do not delve into them and then go to entertainment. What’s more: I notice how many programs reproduce our videos and comments throughout the day, and they are getting closer and closer to our style. Some critics have already reflected it that way and I’m glad.

For four decades you have signed author radio and television formats and it is true that apparently you do not have awards or critical acclaim. Do you think the industry owes a debt to your particular universe?

I am not very prize. I don’t expect them, nor do I look for them. The fact that ‘Aruser@s’, being an innovative and leading format, does not have the prize in the form of awards does not worry me in the least. But I know that the team would be excited. And they deserve it. There aren’t so many original self-produced formats that succeed.

Regarding recognition, for me the most important is that of the audience. It may seem like a cliché, but I assure you that it is so. Only the public makes it possible for this “universe” you mention to continue for four decades. The prizes, no.

In the eighties you bet on biting and black humor. Over time you have opted to lower your opinion, at least on controversial issues. Is it a symptom of the times, due to the dictatorship of political correctness, or is it simply navigating what some call ‘growing up’?

When he presented ‘Arús con leche’ in the 80s, he also analyzed current events humorously every morning and imitated Felipe González, Barrionuevo, the King, Franco, the Pope, Jordi Pujol, Di Stéfano, Núñez etc. I had a great time. And I never had to rectify, qualify or justify what I put into the mouths of these characters.

Today there is so much tension in politics, religion, football, etc., which makes the panorama very different. I guess the networks amplify this state of absurd excitement. I intend to continue having a good time and because of this my humor has evolved. But I think that I do get wet in many aspects and that my audience knows exactly what I think.

What is it like opening for a media ‘miura’ like Antonio García Ferreras?

Very easy. Antonio supervises the contents of ‘Al rojo vivo’ that we “cebamos” in Aruser@s through the interventions of Paula del Fraile and Elizabeth López, and leaves absolute freedom of action and opinion in the program. The informative line of the chain is reflected in the connections with the newsroom. My dream is to give Antonio the highest possible share at 11am.

What balance do you make of these five years at Atresmedia?

Very positive. I have always felt supported, understood, valued and respected. In the good times and in the not so good. I can not ask for more.

Some time ago you assured that Antena 3 lacked direct in the afternoons and now they have opted for Sonsoles Ónega. How do you value your space and what forecast do you make of the pitched battle that is presented for this month of September?

It is obvious that linear television has to go direct. He has no other. I like ‘Y ahora Sonsoles’ and ‘Más vale tarde’. I empathize with the way they treat current events. Until now there was a clear alternative to the news that they treat, and it was ‘Save me’.

With his disappearance and the arrival of Ana Rosa, I’m afraid that the afternoon programs will have a hard time differentiating themselves, because the news is what it is, and there aren’t so many topics either. It will be a matter of style. The one who inherits the best share and is behind a program that generates more audience will have an advantage. For this reason I think Sonsoles has an advantage.

How did you live the end of ‘Save me’?

For me, Jorge Javier Vázquez was missing. ‘Save me’ deserved an ending that did more justice to his true spirit. And without JJ it was very complicated. I liked ‘Sálvame’ much more than ‘Here’s a tomato’, but the latter’s ending struck me more.

With its cancellation, I imagine that what Mediaset wants is for two of its great values, Ana Rosa and Jorge Javier, to contribute more points to the global share of the day, in bands of greater consumption. If it went well, AR would contribute more in the afternoon than in the morning, and Jorge Javier more in the access than in the afternoon. But I think it’s going to take a while for people to forget “Save Me.”

For a long time you negotiated with Paolo Vasile, who wanted to incorporate you into Mediaset. How was the manager in close contact?

He was cordial with me. He treated me like I was his employee, when I wasn’t, but he was nice. Despite his sympathy, he is a “boss” with whom I would not like to deal. I wouldn’t be interested in talking to him about television at all. Mainly because he doesn’t listen.

He is not interested in what you think you can contribute. His preconceived ideas are immovable and, sometimes, not very justified. Javier Bardají, among many other virtues, has the ability to listen. And that capacity allows you to get much more performance out of the communicators.

With your project you have jumped to prime time on Antena 3 and on Saturday afternoons on La Sexta. It is true that you have now advanced the program by half an hour. But, would you dare to explore a new strip of Atresmedia in the near future?

I would love, as Wyoming, Josep Pedrerol or Iñaki López have already done, to appear in Atresplayer Premium. I am very satisfied with the schedule that I have in La Sexta: it is the one that I wanted for a long time. But exploring other pay-TV formats is a challenge that I hope to meet one day.

Lastly, what do you feel when you learn of the bankruptcy of the Catalan channel 8TV, for which you worked for 16 years?

Sadness. Although it was somewhat predictable. If the Godó Group, with all its potential and advertising infrastructure (from La Vanguardia, Mundo Deportivo, RAC1, etc.) could not achieve viability for the television channel, it was very difficult for the new shareholders to achieve it. The costs of a television channel are very high for the little advertising investment that is available.