In a departure, Radio Martí opened its microphones to the Cuban public to join its newly formatted program “With Your Own Voice.”
The change is part of what its programmers describe as a fresh approach to news and information that encourages audience participation.
“We want our audience to know that they are valued contributors to our programming and the exchange of ideas and information is central to our broadcasts,” said Radio and TV Martí Director Carlos García-Pérez. He said listeners and viewers take a risk when calling in “given that it’s illegal to listen or watch them inside Cuba.”
García-Pérez is new to the position; the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees U.S. government-funded broadcasters targeting an overseas audience, appointed the attorney to the job in September after the August resignation of Pedro Roig.
Though Roig gave no reason for leaving the job after seven years, the Miami Herald reported at the time that Radio and TV Martí combined had spent an estimated $500 million since Martí’s 1990 inception, broadcasting news and entertainment to Cuba but “dogged by complaints of meager audiences, biased politics and journalism and cronyism.”
Radio and TV Martí use a mix of media and frequencies, including cross-border shortwave, AM and direct-to-home satellite, to target Cuban audiences. Havana jams signals of Radio and TV Martí, but some of the radio programming manages to reach its audience, the Miami Herald has reported. Programs also are available online.
The federally-funded Office of Cuba Broadcasting, established by the BBG, oversees Radio and TV Martí.