20% Of Cubans Report Listening To Radio Marti, actual number likely much higher

BBG Watch

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) announced in a press release that “twenty percent of Cubans report listening to Radio Marti in the last seven days, according to an independent survey conducted in March among a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Cuban adults (18 or older) across the island.” Radio Marti signals are heavily jammed by the Cuban government.

Since Cuba has a highly repressive regime and the fear factor among the general population is still high, the actual number of listeners to Radio Marti in Cuba may be much higher. The latest survey contradicts claims by the Castro regime and its supporters in the United States who for years have been trying to convince Americans that Cubans are not listening to Radio Marti. The survey reports that 75% of Cubans responded that they have to be careful about what they say, with only 19% reporting that they feel they have the right to freedom of expression.

But even with the fear factor, 49% of those surveyed responded that they are not satisfied with the political system that exists today in Cuba because of the lack of freedom. 97% said that the normalization of relations with the United States is good for Cuba.

The survey, conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International for Univision Noticias and Fusion, did not ask Cubans if they consumed Martí content on platforms other than radio. Other platforms include satellite television, online video, flash drives, DVDs, email, SMS, and the Piramideo social network.

As part of normalization of relations with the United States, the Castro regime is demanding that the Obama Administration close down Radio and TV Marti, but there is no chance that the U.S. Congress would agree to such a move or that the Obama White House would even propose it. The Obama Administration, however, wants to privatize [de-federalize but continue to fund it with taxpayers’ dollars as a semi-private entity] the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) which now runs Radio and TV Marti as a federal rather than as a grantee or private entity within the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The administration also wants to privatize [de-federalize but continue to fund] Voice of America (VOA) broadcasting to Latin America and merge it with Radio and TV Marti. VOA and OCB employees and their union, AFGE Local 1812, are strongly opposed to this move. They see it among other things as a possible attempt by the Obama Administration to weaken media outreach to Cuba in support of normalization of relations with the Castro regime. The administration, however, may simply want to avoid taking direct responsibility for any Radio and TV Marti programs to which the Cuban government may continue to object.

“Through our call-in shows and audience engagement, we knew that we had a substantial audience in Cuba, and I am extremely happy to have this confirmed through independent research,” said Carlos García-Pérez, director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which oversees Radio and TV Marti.

The bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors has recently rehired several OCB journalists who were dismissed from their jobs at Radio and TV Marti in 2009. A U.S. court confirmed that the dismissals, presented as the reduction-in-force, were illegal.

###

BBG Press Release

20% Of Cubans Report Listening To Radio Martí

 

Radio Marti Broadcasters
Radio Marti show El Revoltillo. L-R: Ramon Morell de Oro, Gilberto Reyes and Alfredo Jacomino
 
WASHINGTON (April 9, 2015) — Twenty percent of Cubans report listening to Radio Marti in the last seven days, according to an independent survey conducted in March among a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Cuban adults (18 or older) across the island.

“We are providing objective news coverage that Cubans cannot receive anywhere else,” said Carlos García-Pérez, director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which oversees Radio and TV Martí. “Through our call-in shows and audience engagement, we knew that we had a substantial audience in Cuba, and I am extremely happy to have this confirmed through independent research.”

Despite continuous jamming efforts by the Cuban government, the Martís reach audiences in Cuba through a combination of high and low-tech approaches, such as satellite television and radio, shortwave and AM radio, online video, flash drives, DVDs, email, SMS, and the Piramideo social network. The survey, conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International for Univision Noticias and Fusion, did not ask Cubans if they consumed Martí content on platforms other than radio.

More than 61% of survey respondents said they have a cellphone, 16% have access to the Internet—most of them at Internet cafés (43%) or at work (34%), and 9% of adults (almost six in ten of those with Internet access) use social media. This is in harmony with OCB’s web analytics, which show 1,703,988 visits to martinoticias.com in the first three months of 2015, with 18,900 average daily visits, while Martí Noticias Facebook posts reach an average of 30,000 people. According to the new survey, 91% of Cuban social media users reported using Facebook.

When asked what the people of Cuba need most at this time, responses included: ”To have the right to express ourselves without being seen as troublemakers,” and “to have new generations in positions of power.” The survey reports that 75% of Cubans responded that they have to be careful about what they say, with only 19% reporting that they feel they have the right to freedom of expression.

“Our goal at Radio Martí is to provide a full spectrum of news and information programming that is not only balanced and reliable, but also relevant to the people of Cuba. We provide a forum for the Cuban people to openly express themselves through traditional methods such as phone calls, as well as through new media including Facebook, text messages and other evolving technologies,” said Oscar Rodriguez, director of Radio Martí.

Radio Martí programs to the island include Al Duro y sin Guantes, Entre Nosotros, 1800 Online, El Revoltillo, Con Voz Propia, and Las Noticias Como Son. Programs range from reporting the news to highlighting social issues in Cuba to exploring U.S. policy toward the island.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail