Radio Marti show El Revoltillo. L-R: Ramon Morell de Oro, Gilberto Reyes and Alfredo Jacomino
Radio Marti show El Revoltillo. L-R: Ramon Morell de Oro, Gilberto Reyes and Alfredo Jacomino

20% of Cubans report listening to Radio Martí

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.