Radio and TV Martí

Marti logoThe Martís are a multimedia hub of news, information and analysis that provides the people of Cuba with interactive programs seven days a week through television (satellite, UHF and VHF) and shortwave and medium wave radio, as well as through flash drives, emails, DVDs, and SMS text. Combined with the online platform, martinoticias.com, they are a one-of-a-kind service that brings unbiased, objective information to all Cubans. The Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) conducts the operations of the Martís at its headquarters in Miami.

Cuba continues to have one of the most restrictive media environments in the world. The communist government that has ruled the island since 1960 controls all Cuban media, and independent journalists are routinely harassed, arrested and deprived of the most basic freedoms. Internet access is severely curtailed and private citizens risk their personal safety and potential imprisonment for cooperating with foreign media.

The Cuban government attempts to jam the Martí’s radio and TV signals, but OCB has made significant progress in circumventing and defeating the jamming. Besides the traditional means of distribution, in 2012, Radio Martí added an FM frequency, and began limited broadcasts through a privately-owned AM station that is clearly heard through most of the island. Likewise, TV Martí increased its delivery through direct to home satellite services widely available in Cuba, and efforts to deliver programming via flash drive and DVD have been successful. On the Internet front, the increased use of proxy sites, established and managed by the Martís, allow Cubans unfettered access to the Internet without fear of government censors.

In 2012, the Martís continued to expand their unparalleled coverage of Cuba alongside their most complete coverage ever of elections in the U.S. and across Latin America. By emphasizing the workings of democracy across the entire hemisphere, the Martís are facilitating a broader dialogue.

The Martís balanced reporting on events remains essential. Examples include: the rounding up of dissidents prior to the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI, the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of pro-democracy activist Oswaldo Payá, the arrest of Antonio Rodiles, and many other human rights abuses that go unreported.

Martí programming decisions are informed by regularly-scheduled focus groups with recently-arrived Cuban immigrants. Broadcasts cover a wide range of topics, news, entertainment, and sports. The Martís also partner with Major League Baseball to broadcast regular season games in addition to the All Star Game, the Play-Offs and the World Series.

TV Martí continues to expand its programming to make it more relevant and accessible to its viewers. In 2012, the Martís were honored with three Emmy Award nominations. All Martí programming is available live and on demand via martinoticias.com.

Fast Facts

  • Employees: 119
  • FY 2012 Budget: $27.9 million
  • Weekly Hours Broadcast: 330
  • Languages: Spanish

2012 Highlights

  • The Martís held an audience contest to raffle off six mopeds donated by Cuban-Americans. More than 2,600 Cubans contacted Martí by phone, email, Twitter or Facebook for a chance to win.
  • The Martís also launched Estado de SATS, the first program in the history of Radio and TV Martí to be produced entirely in Cuba. The Emmy-nominated program is the brainchild of Dr. Antonio Rodiles, a U.S. educated physicist who returned to Cuba. Rodiles was arrested for his pro-democracy efforts in November of 2012 but vowed to continue with his project after being released.“The station has been the only source of information on Hurricane Sandy even before the storm’s arrival. Meteorologist Lazaro Dominguez was accurate in his forecast. We prepared following his instructions since we received no warning from the Cuban Government.” – A caller from Santiago, Cuba
  • Martinoticias.com set a record with more than 18,000 daily visitors during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba. The average number of daily unique visitors to martinoticias.com has increased more than 1,000 percent in the past two years.
  • In the second quarter of FY 2012, the Martís were the number one federal agency in terms of retweets, according to OhMyGov, Inc. which dubbed the Martí audience as the most engaged on Twitter.
  • TV Martí debuted a new program Antena Live a half-hour newscast presented by Karen Caballero and Vanessa Ruiz. The program is a dynamic, quick-paced, rundown of the day’s most important events.
  • TV Martí also produced Hacia La Democracia (Toward Democracy), which was nominated for an Emmy Award, with the Albert Einstein Institute. Hacia La Democracia is a how-to guide for transitioning from dictatorship to democracy.
  • And the Martís established the most extensive network, to date, of freelance reporters inside Cuba yielding quick results with exposés on Cuba’s health and educational systems and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Earlier Highlights

For more information about Radio and TV Martí, click here.