"We came here for six weeks and we've been here for six years and more than 1,500 programs," says Noelia Alcántara, director of the program co-produced by CMMedia and Indaloymedia television, without a doubt one of the flagships of regional television that counts every afternoon and transmits stories of "help and life" and that this October 30th celebrates its sixth season of existence. This is how its presenters also define it, Ramón García, the most popular face of the chain, and the Hellinera Gloria Santoro, who joined the space from 2019, and who form a tandem "that today we are seen as a marriage", Santoro assures in the act of presentation of this ephemerides.
The format of 'In company' is the same as that of 'The afternoon, here and now' on Canal Sur, where it has been presented for more than thirteen years by Juan y Medio, who proposed to Ramón García to do a replica of the program in Castilla- The Stain.
García acknowledges that at first he had his doubts about whether he would be able to sit down with anonymous people, ask questions and find out about their lives, and if this fit into the Castilian society of La Mancha. "But we were lucky that in this land what we wanted to do was understood right away: help people, something that cost more in Andalusia," he says.
For Ramón García, a veteran of the most diverse television, New Year's Eve bells included, the balance of this experience is clear: «this is the program that has changed my life and has made me a better person. You do not know what it is to really help and touch that help and the people you are addressing. It is even a therapeutic program. I do 50,000 kilometers a year and therefore I already have 300,000 to come here to the studio, but I would do 20,000 million kilometers. No format or television program offers this to a professional, and thanks also to a whole team that is involved in such a way that I have never seen it before. That's why coming to work here is a daily gift." Hence, when asked if he would like to do a heart program, he clearly answers "nothing".
The presenter is moved when narrating the thousands of stories lived on the set of 'In company', of the personal problems solved, of the single people who have ended up forming a couple thanks to the encounter on TV and even of the children born to some of them. «It is the living history of Spain and Castilla-La Mancha, because people tell us how they lived here many years ago; They are encyclopedias. That's why I say that this is a tiny corner of TV where life happens in all its facets. It is a live program from public television, helping the people of this region, and that is a source of pride, because what it costs is returned to them.
He also highlights that in these times of so much competition from television channels and platforms "when you talk about a program for what is told in it, that is success, because that is very difficult."
"'En Compañía' is much more than a television program because it fills the hearts and lives of thousands and thousands of people every afternoon," says Ramón García, who also highlights that his life has also changed profoundly on a personal level. «I came married, now I am divorced and I am orphaned of father and mother. All that has happened to me doing this program, that is why I say that it is a little corner where life passes, but also ours, because we are a family ».
After passing through regional radio, Gloria Santoro joined "a ship that had already set sail" in 2019, and did so in the entertainment part that is the start of the program. However, she highlights the fact that «she can lead the program when Ramón is not there has been a dream come true. I'm from hell and I know the region, but I couldn't imagine that we could be so important in the lives of many people, including young people. I tell myself that if I am in a public environment and public service is done, we fulfill that objective because we help, we entertain and it is a program for the whole family. So hopefully it will be many more years."
Although the audience is diverse, for Gloria Santoro it is very remarkable “to be able to enter nursing homes, and that is not easy. There are thousands of people there who have nowhere to see themselves, but we are their mirror with the testimonies. It is a pride that the children and the residents themselves or the caregivers tell you that you are our main program and we keep your schedule because it is as if it were one more of the activities, that it is sacred to sit down as a family to watch the program. It is a pride to know that in such a vulnerable moment of life we keep them so much company ».
All this experience of personal experiences has already shaped for the presenters and the team of the program a certain stereotype of the way of being of the Castilian from La Mancha. Thus, Ramón García defines them as "tough people because they live in a land that is tough, but to that is added nobility, because once you enter their life it is forever, and not just anyone has that." Even Gloria Santoro points out that after so many programs «we are even able to outline the provinces and distinguish who comes from the part of Ciudad Real, from the south of Albacete or from the Alcarria, which have nothing to do with it. But there are also many who emigrated and retain those traits.
As in all areas, the pandemic made the operation of the program extremely difficult, having to resort to a "crisis office" to continue with the space, searching among the programs that had been made and taking out the best cases and also others in which they were not they had been successful. "We suffered because we had to start with video calls", which he defined as "terrible" because they couldn't bring people to the set since they had to "take care of them".
Gloria Santoro highlights that the participants in the program did "a master's degree" when using these new technologies and "showed their desire to do things and get ahead."
On this, Noelia Alcántara focused on the fact that, not being on the set, the guests had to appear "without makeup, without shine, without combing", something difficult in the case of people who wanted to "like" and seek company.
Ramón García highlights the fact that 'In company' has already crossed borders and people come from Madrid, Extremadura, northern Andalusia, Murcia, Valencia or Castilla y León and Euskadi, which has undoubtedly influenced the good audience figures for this television show.
Thus, two Tuesdays ago it was the most watched program on all regional television in that slot along with that of Juan y Medio, “and only with anonymous people that nobody knows and they tell their lives. In addition, in recent days we have broken records in the region above all national channels. In this land you see a lot of Antena 3, well in recent days we beat that chain and the rest ».