Posted: 21 Aug 2010 Print Send a link
Poder (Miami), 18 August 2010, Siobhan Morrissey and David Adams: Radio/TV Martí director Pedro Roig "claims that during his regime the station has been transformed into a more effective news network. The operation went from seven or eight programs a week to 12 or 15, the director says. He also oversaw the creation of a second TV studio and the transition from using an ineffective naval blimp - dubbed Fat Albert - to a turboprop plane that now transmits TV Martí to Cuba from an air- borne platform over the Straits of Florida. Roig also added a new program Musica de mi alma, where musicians, such as Grammy Award winner Albita donate their time and talent so that people on the island know that Cuban culture is alive and well in Miami. [A report by Senator John Kerry] recognized that news coverage had improved, but indicated that only 2 percent of Cubans listen to Radio Martí and 'claims that TV Martí has any stable viewership are suspect.' Roig dismisses those figures. He places the listeners of Radio Martí at roughly half the island nation. Viewers of TV Martí could be as high as 10 percent, Roig adds. He bases his numbers on interviews with recent arrivals from Cuba, which he argues is more reliable than telephone surveys, which can be skewed because Cubans are reluctant to speak openly due to fears of government phone tapping. Any decision about the network’s fate is at least a year off, explains a congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But if a move occurs, lawmakers want the organization to travel light - minus TV Martí, the aide says. Radio Martí, on the other hand, has potential. 'It could be a calming voice rather than a provocative voice, projecting the positive voice of America to the Cuban people,' he says. 'One cannot say it is a total failure.'"