VOA Fact Sheet

BBG Fact Sheet

IBB Fact Sheet


Radio and TV Marti Fact Sheet

Office of Engineering and Technical Services

Publications Page

VOA Home Page

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) was established in 1990 to oversee the operations of Radio Marti and TV Marti. In keeping with the principles of the VOA Charter, both stations broadcast accurate and objective news and information on issues of interest to the people of Cuba.

Radio Marti

Radio Marti transmitted its first broadcast on May 20, 1985, from studios in Washington, D.C. The broadcast was the culmination of a three-year, bipartisan effort in Congress that resulted in passage of the Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act of 1983.

Now located in Miami, Florida, Radio Marti broadcasts seven days a week, 24 hours a day, on shortwave and medium wave (AM).

Broadcasts include news, music, and a variety of feature and news analysis programs. Audience reports based on interviews with Cubans arriving in the U.S. indicate that Radio Marti is one of the most popular radio stations in Cuba despite the Cuban government's effort to jam it.

Radio Marti has a staff of 108. Its budget for FY 2002 is $15.0 million.

Radio News

News and news-related programming make up over half of Radio Martiís daily schedule. Through balanced news coverage, Radio Marti fills the information gaps caused by over four decades of Cuban government censorship.

Recently, the News Department has expanded its newscasts and news bulletins at the top and bottom of the hour, including weekends. On Monday through Friday, a two-hour newscast airs from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., and there are one hour newscasts at 12:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. Radio Marti has also expanded the top of the hour news bulletins to seven minutes, and the ones at the bottom to five minutes. On Saturdays, Radio Marti airs a 30 minute newscast at noon, and seven minute news bulletins at the top of every hour. On Sundays at noon, Radio Marti broadcasts "El Noticiero Latinoamericano," a 30-minute week in review of Latin American news stories. News bulletins are also broadcast every hour at the top of the hour. Radio Marti has expanded its coverage across Cuba, and around the world.

Radio Marti now broadcasts the weekly radio address of the President of the United States, George W. Bush, followed by the Democratic response, every Saturday. In addition, one hour newscasts are broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays, and news bulletins every thirty minutes.

Radio Programs

In sharp contrast to the Cuban media, Radio Marti programs offer listeners an uncensored, comprehensive, and balanced perspective on current events. Features and special programs provide a wide range of information and entertainment. Radio Marti's programming includes roundtable discussions; expert commentaries on political, economic, social, religious, and human rights issues; testimonies from former political prisoners, recent immigrants, and human rights activists; and in-depth "focus" shows on current events. In addition, there are programs of interest to women, young people, and the labor sectors, as well as discussions on literature and the arts.

Television Marti

TV Marti was created by Public Law 98-111 as amended by the Television Broadcasting to Cuba Act. Its mandate: to provide balanced, uncensored news and information programming to the people of Cuba. Following nearly two and a half years of study and preparation, TV Marti began broadcasting on March 27, 1990. Also located in Miami, TV Marti broadcasts seven-days-a-week, four-and-half-hours daily, providing quality programming including news, sports, entertainment, and features on life in the U.S. and other nations. It also provides commentary and other information about events in Cuba and around the world to promote the cause of freedom in Cuba.

TV Marti has a staff of 55. The budget for FY 2002 is $9.8 million.

TV News

The television newsgathering division covers local, national, and international news events of interest to a Cuban audience. The TV Marti News Division is continually striving to enhance the relevance of the daily news program and special news programs. Daily news coverage places special emphasis on communicating United States policy towards Cuba and U.S. immigration policy toward Cuba, broadcasting all major U.S. Government policy announcements.

TV Programs

The TV Programs division produces a variety of informational programs covering a wide range of topics such as politics, economics, current events, education, health, human rights, culture, and the arts. The division also produces documentaries and special programming for TV Marti.

Transmission Facilities

Radio Marti: Marathon Key, Florida -- Facilities include a directional four-tower antenna array and two 50 kilowatt (kW) transmitters operating on 1180 kHz (medium wave) as well as a power combiner system that allows the station to transmit a more powerful 100 kW signal during daylight hours. The broadcast signal is sent by satellite from Miami to Marathon Key. Radio Marti also broadcasts on a total of four separate shortwave frequencies each hour from Greenville, North Carolina, and Delano, California.

TV Marti: TV Marti's antenna and transmitter are mounted aboard an aerostat balloon tethered 10,000 feet above Cudjoe Key, Florida, and transmit one of three available UHF-TV channels. Programming originates in studios in Miami and is transmitted to the Florida Keys by satellite. The signal is then relayed to a transmitter and a highly directional antenna mounted aboard an aerostat for broadcast to Cuba. The TV Marti system has safeguards that prevent interference with existing domestic and foreign TV stations.

Signal Strength and Jamming

The TV Marti transmission system delivers grade-A television signals to the Havana area. Massive jamming efforts by the Cuban government make it difficult to receive the signal in center city Havana. However, mobile monitoring indicates that international reception is possible in some outlying areas of the city and in other parts of the Havana province. As a result, the TV Marti signal is now shifted to include areas east and west of Havana randomly during the broadcast in an effort to lessen the effects of jamming. The United States Interests Section in Havana now plays videotapes of TV Marti broadcasts to more than 75,000 people who visit the facility yearly. Cuba does not directly jam Radio Martiís 1180 kHz AM signal but, instead, counter broadcasts on the same 1180 frequency in an attempt to drown out Radio Martiís popular programming. Cuba does, however, use electronic jamming transmitters to try to block Radio Marti shortwave broadcasts but has had limited success in all but major population centers.

Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting

The Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act of 1985 required the establishment of a nine-member, presidentially appointed Advisory Board to review the activities of Radio Marti (and later TV Marti) and to make recommendations to the President and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The IBB and BBG

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti), the Voice of America, WORLDNET Television and Film Service, and the Office of Engineering and Technical Operations form the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). The IBB was established when President Clinton signed the International Broadcasting Act of 1994. The IBB reports to a nine-member, bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Eight board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the ninth ex officio member is the Secretary of State.

The BBG supervises the operations of the three federally funded broadcast elements of the IBB, which are VOA, WORLDNET, and Radio and TV Marti. The BBG also administers congressionally appropriated grants to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Radio Free Asia (RFA), two non-profit corporations. The BBG became an independent federal entity on October 1, 1999.

Office of Cuba Broadcasting
International Broadcasting Bureau
Office of External Affairs
330 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20237
Tel: (202) 619-2538
Fax: (202) 619-1241
E-mail: pubaff@voa.gov
Internet: http://www.lbb.gov/marti

December 2001


Back to Top