[Senate Prints 111-46]
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111th Congress                                                  S. Prt.
                            COMMITTEE PRINT                     
 2d Session                                                      111-46


                      TO ENSURE THE SURVIVABILITY
                         OF RADIO AND TV MARTI


                                A REPORT

                                 TO THE


                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                     One Hundred Eleventh Congress

                             Second Session

                             APRIL 29, 2010


56-157                    WASHINGTON : 2010
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                 COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS        

             JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts, Chairman        
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut     RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin       BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BARBARA BOXER, California            JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey          JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania   JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
JIM WEBB, Virginia                   ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire        JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
              Frank G. Lowenstein, Staff Director        
        Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director        


                            C O N T E N T S

Letter of Transmittal............................................     v

Executive Summary................................................     1

1. Introduction..................................................     3

2. Background....................................................     3

3. Opposition in Congress Persists...............................     4

4. Problems Began Almost Immediately After Creation..............     5

    Adhering to Journalistic Standards...........................     5

    Audience Size................................................     7

    Cuban Government Jamming.....................................    10

5. OCB Management Also Dealing with Other Problems...............    11

6. Recommendations...............................................    12

How Radio and TV Marti Broadcast.................................    14

Appendix: Broadcasting Board of Governors Organizational Chart...    15


                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL


                              United States Senate,
                            Committee on Foreign Relations,
                                    Washington, DC, April 19, 2010.
    Dear colleague: This report by the committee majority staff 
is part of our ongoing examination into the efficacy of Radio 
and TV Marti. Radio Marti was created in 1983 to support the 
Cuban people in their quest for ``accurate, unbiased, and 
consistently reliable'' news and entertainment; TV Marti 
followed in 1990. Unfortunately, listeners and viewers never 
received the kind of high quality programming that was 
originally intended. Problems with adherence to traditional 
journalistic standards, miniscule audience size, Cuban 
Government jamming, and allegations of cronyism have dogged the 
program since its creation. As a result, Congress has reduced 
TV Marti's funding and has strongly encouraged Radio Marti to 
ensure that its broadcasts adhere to journalistic standards 
practiced by the Voice of America. Indeed, this report goes 
further, and recommends that the Office of Cuba Broadcasting be 
incorporated into the Voice of America.
    This report is based on extensive staff interviews with 
Radio and TV Marti officials, as well as officials of the 
International Broadcasting Bureau and the Broadcasting Board of 
Governors. It also relies on comprehensive investigative 
reports published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
                                             John F. Kerry,


                           RADIO AND TV MARTI


                           Executive Summary

    Radio and TV Marti, the U.S. Government's broadcasters to 
Cuba, continue to fail in their efforts to influence Cuban 
society, politics, and policy. 

    Radio Marti was created in 1983 as a U.S. program to 
support the right of the Cuban people to seek, receive, and 
impart information and ideas; to further the open communication 
of information and ideas to Cuba; to serve as a consistently 
reliable and authoritative source of news to Cuba; and to 
provide news and commentary about events inside Cuba. TV Marti, 
created in 1990, sought to expand those goals with television 
programming related to Cuba. Both outlets are located in Miami.
    Radio and TV Marti have failed to make any discernable 
inroads into Cuban society or to influence the Cuban 
Government. This failure has led to recent congressional action 
to reduce funding for TV Marti. In the FY 2010 Consolidated 
Appropriations Bill, the Senate approved a measure to strip TV 
Marti of approximately $4 million in funding, in addition to a 
reduction requested by the President, and it ordered the Office 
of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), the entity that runs Radio and TV 
Marti, to spend not more than $5.5 million for items other than 
salaries and benefits, a move that would effectively end 
funding for the airplane that TV Marti uses for much of its 
broadcasting. This is not the first congressional attempt to 
strip Radio and TV Marti of funding. Previous attempts have 
been for reasons that have remained consistent over time. They 

          The most commonly heard complaint is that OCB has 
        failed to adhere to generally accepted journalistic 
        standards. Both internal and external investigations 
        have criticized OCB for broadcasting unsubstantiated 
        reports from Cuba as legitimate news stories, for using 
        offensive and incendiary language in news broadcasts, 
        and for a lack of timeliness in news reporting.

          While there are no nationally representative data, 
        most available research indicates that Radio and TV 
        Marti's audiences are miniscule. U.S. Government-
        sponsored research groups indicate that Radio Marti has 
        a listenership of less than 2 percent of Cubans, and 
        claims that TV Marti has any stable viewership are 
        suspect. Most observers attribute these low levels to 
        pervasive Cuban Government jamming of Radio and TV 
        Marti broadcasts. But interviews with recently arrived 
        Cuban immigrants show that among those who were 
        familiar with the broadcasts, only a small minority 
        thought they were ``objective."

          The Cuban Government employs an extensive jamming 
        system against Radio Marti transmissions on both 
        shortwave and medium wave. OCB officials concede that 
        the jamming is largely successful, with only areas 
        outside metropolitan Havana able to receive Radio 
        Marti's signal. TV Marti's ``over the air'' broadcasts 
        are similarly jammed.

          OCB also must deal with competition from domestic 
        Cuban radio and television stations. In recent surveys, 
        more than 90 percent of Cuban respondents said they 
        listened to Cuban radio stations and watched Cuban 
        television stations. OCB officials concede that the 
        quality of Cuban programming has improved recently, 
        with local television carrying U.S. programs like 
        ``Grey's Anatomy,'' ``Friends,'' and ``The Sopranos.'' 
        Cuban TV also carries CNN en Espanol, which many Cubans 
        watch for world news.

          Finally, allegations of cronyism and malfeasance 
        continue to haunt OCB. Critics maintain that many 
        senior-level OCB officials were granted their positions 
        because of their personal connections within OCB, 
        rather than because of specific qualifications for the 
        job. For example, the director of the Voice of 
        America's Latin American service is a nephew of the OCB 
        director and is himself a former OCB official. 
        Furthermore, in 2007, the former director of 
        programming for TV Marti pleaded guilty to receiving 
        nearly $112,000 in kickbacks from a vendor contracted 
        by OCB. These allegations of nepotism and corruption 
        have harmed morale and led to questions about 
        management's transparency.

    There are several things that OCB can do to improve 
programming, operations, and morale. OCB's parent organization 
already has mandated closer cooperation between OCB and the 
Voice of America. This cooperation brings OCB and VOA 
broadcasters together to coproduce news programs and a regular 
half-hour radio show called ``A Fondo,'' or ``In Depth,'' which 
provides news and analysis. Unfortunately, however, the moves 
have been from VOA to OCB, rather than vice versa.
    OCB's parent organization should consider moving OCB to 
Washington and subordinating it into the Voice of America. This 
could help ensure that programming is up to VOA standards. In 
the meantime, OCB should ``return to basics'' to clean up its 
operation. It must attract quality talent from outside Miami, 
implement quality editorial standards, and attract quality 
management. Hiring and training must be overhauled to ensure a 
de-politicized and professional workforce.
    OCB should focus on quality programming, which will cause 
interested Cubans to seek out available broadcasts, whether 
over the air, or, if their access to technology permits, via 
satellite and the internet.
    OCB's parent organization should enhance guidance, 
training, and oversight for analysts performing OCB program 
reviews, and provide regular, ongoing, and comprehensive 
training to OCB staff regarding journalistic standards.
    To address chronic management issues, it is important to 
have processes in place to enable the efficient and effective 
operation of OCB. Finally, to improve morale within the 
organization, OCB management should take steps to address 
persistent concerns with its communication and interaction with 
OCB staff.

                            1. Introduction

    The U.S. Government began broadcasting Radio Marti to Cuba 
in 1985 and added television broadcasts with TV Marti in 1990. 
The goals of Radio and TV Marti are, according to the 
International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB),\1\ to 1) support the 
right of the Cuban people to seek, receive, and impart 
information and ideas through any media and regardless of 
frontiers; 2) to be effective in furthering the open 
communication of information and ideas through the use of radio 
and television broadcasting to Cuba; 3) to serve as a 
consistently reliable and authoritative source of accurate, 
objective, and comprehensive news; and 4) to provide news, 
commentary, and other information about events in Cuba and 
elsewhere to promote the cause of freedom in Cuba.
    \1\ The International Broadcasting Bureau oversees VOA and OCB and 
provides transmission services, administration, and marketing for all 
broadcasters that fall under the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Board 
of Governors. These include Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio 
Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio Marti, TV Marti, Radio Sawa, and 
Alhurra Television. See the Appendix for an organizational chart of the 
IBB structure.

                             2. Background

    In 1983, Congress passed the Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act 
to provide the people of Cuba, through Radio Marti, with 
information they ordinarily would not receive due to the 
censorship practices of the Cuban Government. Subsequently, in 
1990, TV Marti began television broadcasts to Cuba.
    Until October 1999, U.S. Government-funded international 
broadcasting programs had been a primary function of the United 
States Information Agency (USIA). When USIA was abolished and 
its public diplomacy functions were merged with the Department 
of State at the beginning of FY 2000, the Broadcasting Board of 
Governors (BBG) became an independent agency to oversee such 
entities as the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio 
Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba 
Broadcasting (OCB), which manages Radio and TV Marti. OCB is 
headquartered in Miami. Legislation in the 104th Congress 
required the relocation of OCB from Washington to south Florida 
so that Radio and TV Marti could be more easily immersed in 
Miami's Cuban community. The move began in 1996 and was 
completed in 1998.
    In October 2003, President George W. Bush established the 
Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba (CAFC) to identify 
measures to accelerate an end to the Castro government and to 
support U.S. programs that could assist in an ensuing 
transition. This commission published two interagency policy 
frameworks which identified measures to 1) empower Cuban civil 
society; 2) break the Cuban Government's ``information 
blockade''; 3) deny resources to the Cuban Government; 4) 
``illuminate the reality of Castro's Cuba''; 5) encourage 
international efforts to support Cuban civil society; and 6) 
undermine the regime's ``succession strategy.'' In addition, 
State Department and OCB officials indicated that Radio and TV 
Marti could be important platforms for providing information to 
Cubans during any future government transition.
    OCB's stated mission is to broadcast to Cuba the sorts of 
Spanish-language programming available in an open society. In 
2004, Radio Marti changed its programming from entertainment 
and news to an all-news format, and currently broadcasts news 
and information programming 6 days a week, 24 hours per day, 
and for 18 hours on Sunday. Radio Marti's daily programming 
consists of 70 percent live news broadcasts and 30 percent 
recorded programming. TV Marti broadcasts 2 live newscasts, 
sports and entertainment, and special programming 24 hours per 
    In October 2006, OCB launched AeroMarti to expand 
availability of TV Marti broadcasts in Cuba. AeroMarti consists 
of two Gulfstream propeller airplanes that OCB leases to 
broadcast television signals to Cuba from U.S. airspace off the 
coast of Florida. In December 2006, IBB leased airtime on TV 
Azteca, a commercial television station in Miami that is 
carried on the DirecTV satellite system, which is available to 
Cubans with a satellite card, although this is illegal in Cuba.
    Due in large part to the launch of AeroMarti, much of OCB's 
FY 2008 $15.158 million budget for transmission costs is spent 
on TV Marti. In FY 2008, OCB spent over $6 million on 
AeroMarti, which included about $5 million for fuel, operation, 
and maintenance of the airplanes and about $1 million to equip 
one airplane with the ability to broadcast on VHF channel 13.

                   3. Opposition in Congress Persists

    Radio and TV Marti have received negligible support from 
among the Cuban people and have had almost no impact on Cuban 
Government behavior and policy. As a result, Congress has made 
several attempts over the years to cut funding for the 
programs, especially for TV Marti. In addition to the programs' 
ineffectiveness, in December 2006, press reports alleged 
significant problems in OCB's operations, with claims of 
cronyism, patronage, and bias in its coverage, issues that 
attracted further attention in Congress.
    Concerns about TV Marti continue to run so deep that in 
July 2009 the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a 
provision by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) in the FY 2010 State, 
Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill to 
further tighten funding for TV Marti. In its final version, the 
amendment cut approximately $4 million in funding in addition 
to the reduced appropriation requested by the President, and it 
ordered OCB to spend not more than $5.5 million for items other 
than salaries and benefits. The intent was to end funding for 
AeroMarti. OCB officials maintain that the budget reduction 
will be devastating to both TV Marti and Radio Marti because 
many OCB employees are ``dual-hatted'' and would have to be let 
go in the absence of adequate funding for AeroMarti.
    OCB officials maintain that total FY 2010 costs for TV 
Marti are $12,025,910. They complain that they already must 
eliminate 35 positions and $4.2 million as mandated in the FY 
2010 budget request; a further $4 million cut, as called for by 
the Dorgan Amendment, would require deep cuts beyond TV Marti. 
OCB officials argue that even if all of TV Marti's 32 remaining 
employees are eliminated, this would achieve an additional 
savings of only about $1.3 million.

          4. Problems Began Almost Immediately After Creation

    From their inception, Radio and TV Marti have had several 
difficult problems, including a lax adherence to generally 
accepted journalistic standards, reports of small audience 
size, and Cuban Government jamming of broadcast signals.
Adhering to Journalistic Standards
    OCB's failure over many years to adhere to generally 
accepted journalistic standards remains its most significant 
problem, and the grounds for most criticism leveled against it. 
These failures have been documented in the press, in a January 
2009 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and 
in IBB's own internal evaluations.
    The 2009 GAO report--the most recent of several--criticized 
OCB for failing to maintain appropriate journalistic standards. 
In response, IBB and OCB took several steps to improve 
operations and to help ensure that U.S. broadcasting to Cuba 
adheres to domestic and international broadcasting laws, 
agreements, and standards. It is too soon to assess whether 
these moves will have a significant impact over time. OCB has 
attempted a succession of such initiatives over the past 20 
years with mixed results.
    The Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act and the TV Broadcasting 
to Cuba Act require Radio and TV Marti to adhere to VOA 
journalistic standards to ensure that their programming is 
accurate, balanced, and objective. While IBB officials report 
that the quality of OCB programming has ``improved slightly'' 
in recent years, IBB's internal, as well as external, reviews 
identified continuing problems with OCB broadcasters' adherence 
to journalistic standards, particularly in the area of balance 
and objectivity. IBB program analysts' reviews from 2003 
through 2008 repeatedly cite specific problems with the 
broadcasts, such as the presentation of individual views as 
news, editorializing, and the use of inappropriate guests whose 
viewpoints represented a narrow segment of opinion. IBB reviews 
of Radio and TV Marti's content identified other problems, 
including placement of unsubstantiated reports coming from Cuba 
with news stories that had been verified by at least two 
reputable sources; the use of offensive and incendiary language 
in broadcasts, which is explicitly prohibited by OCB's 
editorial guidelines; and a lack of timeliness in news and 
current affairs reporting.
    External reviews of Radio and TV Marti's broadcast content 
also identified problems regarding balance and objectivity. For 
example, the results of IBB monitoring panels from 2003 through 
2007 showed that the majority (9 of 13) of expert control 
listeners and viewers expressed concerns about the broadcasts' 
balance and objectivity. In addition, an OCB-commissioned 
survey of recent Cuban arrivals in 2007 showed that only 38 
percent felt that TV Marti programming was ``objective,'' and 
only 29 percent of respondents believed that Radio Marti's news 
was ``objective.''
    To help improve adherence to journalistic standards, in 
2007, the director of OCB issued a memorandum to managers 
requiring them to certify that they have provided employees and 
contractors with a copy of both OCB's editorial guidelines and 
the VOA Charter. In interviews with committee staff, OCB 
management did not identify any follow-up. If this 
``certification'' has occurred, evidence that it has improved 
performance still is unavailable.
    OCB says it has taken recent steps to improve training for 
its employees. OCB selected a staff person to serve as a 
training coordinator and established a designated space for 
training classes. However, BBG's Manual of Administration 
establishes additional responsibilities for providing training 
that OCB has not yet fulfilled. For example, while the manual 
requires managers to review employees' training needs annually, 
OCB officials reported that they have made no recent efforts to 
do so, citing budget limitations. In FY 2009, however, OCB 
received funding for training in journalistic standards.
    OCB also has failed to implement some IBB program review 
recommendations. For example, IBB action plans from 2003 
through 2008 recommended that OCB: 1) separate news from 
opinion in broadcasts; 2) ensure balanced and comprehensive 
selection of viewpoints; 3) avoid sweeping generalizations and 
editorializing; 4) use guests who are informed on program 
topics; and 5) separate unsubstantiated reports from Cuba from 
    Rather than move OCB under VOA, the two organizations have 
implemented a modest co-location plan, whereby VOA Latin 
America broadcasters have begun working from a dedicated studio 
in OCB. This arrangement enables--but does not require--them to 
work with and advise OCB broadcasters, and has created an optic 
of main VOA dependence on, and implicit subordination to, a 
surrogate radio with serious quality control issues. It is 
unclear at this stage what the overall mission of the co-
located group will be, who will work for whom, and what 
authority, if any, VOA will have over Radio and TV Marti 
broadcasts. So far, OCB and VOA have begun co-producing a half-
hour program called ``A Fondo,'' or ``In Depth,'' which 
provides news and analysis on the Western hemisphere. 
Unfortunately, however, the fact that OCB will remain in Miami 
undercuts efforts to broaden the organization's political scope 
outside southern Florida and to ensure that programming is up 
to worldwide VOA standards.
    IBB's efforts to oversee OCB take three main forms, but all 
have been largely unsuccessful. First, OCB participates in a 
daily editorial meeting at the manager level with VOA and IBB 
staff to discuss what news stories each entity will be covering 
that day. According to IBB's deputy director, participation in 
such meetings is supposed to help coordinate entities' coverage 
of stories and ensure that each entity is covering all relevant 
news events. Second, as previously noted, IBB performs annual 
program reviews of Radio and TV Marti. IBB's deputy director 
said that the program review process is intended to provide 
quality control by objectively evaluating OCB's broadcasting 
services once a year and recommending improvements in their 
broadcasting. But this is only once a year, and it has little 
effect on Radio and TV Marti's day-to-day programming. Third, 
IBB participates in and oversees OCB's handling of strategic 
issues, such as using an aircraft to broadcast TV Marti's 
Audience Size
    Radio and TV Marti have struggled with reports of small 
audience size since their creation. While there are no 
nationally representative data, and some surveys indicate a 
larger potential audience, most available research suggests 
that Radio and TV Marti's audience is small, due in large part 
to signal jamming by the Cuban Government.
    To measure audience size, IBB periodically commissions 
international telephone surveys, conducted primarily from Costa 
Rica. IBB also empanels focus groups in Miami made up of recent 
Cuban arrivals to the United States to solicit their feedback 
on the content and production quality of OCB programming and to 
obtain information about their radio and television use, 
preferences, and experiences in Cuba. These panels appear to be 
duplicative, in that OCB also contracts with a local Miami 
market research firm that conducts monitoring panels once a 
month and conducts surveys twice a year to solicit recent Cuban 
arrivals' feedback on the quality of TV Marti programming and 
to obtain information about their media habits and perceptions 
of programming. Many Cuba watchers doubt the reliability of 
recent arrivals from Cuba, fearing that they tell interviewers 
what they want to hear. In addition, many recent arrivals 
report having watched TV Marti, only to clarify that they saw 
it in the U.S. Interests Section in Havana while awaiting a 
    Fewer than 2 percent of respondents to telephone surveys 
since 2003 reported tuning in to Radio or TV Marti during the 
past week, but some observers claim the telephone interview 
methodology is flawed. In a recent interview, the pollster said 
that telephone interviewers almost immediately were confronted 
with hostile respondents, who thought that the interviewers 
were working on behalf of the Cuban Government and were trying 
to trick them into admitting that they listened to Radio and TV 
Marti, which would incriminate citizens as government 
opponents. Many respondents answered the pollsters' questions 
by saying that, of course they did not listen to Radio Marti or 
watch TV Marti, and to tell Cuban authorities that their 
utilities were in need of repair, there was not enough food 
available in the marketplace, or that the local hospital lacked 
    Despite the problems associated with telephone surveys 
conducted from outside Cuba, they still are among the only 
cost-effective methods of estimating audience size for Radio 
and TV Marti.\2\ The surveys indicate that fewer than 2 percent 
of respondents in 2003, 2005, and 2006 said they listened to 
Radio Marti during the previous week. In 2008, fewer than 1 
percent of respondents said they listened to Radio Marti during 
the previous week.
    \2\ It is possible to place signal strength meters on U.S. Coast 
Guard ships circling Cuba in international waters to determine if the 
signal is getting through, but this would cost more than $100,000--
money that is not included in OCB's budget, according to IBB and OCB 
    Additional IBB audience research indicates that TV Marti's 
audience size also is minute. All of IBB's telephone surveys 
since 2003 show that fewer than 1 percent of respondents said 
they watched TV Marti during the previous week. Notably, 
results from the 2006 and 2008 telephone surveys show no 
increase in reported TV Marti viewership following the launch 
of AeroMarti and DirecTV broadcasting in 2006.
    OCB officials maintain that other information suggests that 
Radio and TV Marti may have a larger audience in Cuba. For 
example, a 2007 survey that OCB commissioned to obtain 
information on programming preferences and media habits also 
contained data on Radio and TV Marti's audience size. This 
nonrandom survey of 382 Cubans who had recently arrived in the 
United States found that 45 percent of respondents reported 
listening to Radio Marti and that 21 percent reported watching 
TV Marti within the last six months before leaving Cuba. 
However, these results may not represent the actual size of 
Radio and TV Marti's audience because 1) according to BBG 
officials, higher viewing and listening rates are expected 
among recent arrivals, and 2) the demographic characteristics 
of the respondents to this survey did not reflect the broader 
Cuban population.
    Anecdotal reports confirm that Radio Marti broadcasts have 
reached significant audiences over the years in response to 
specific events. OCB claimed that Radio Marti's coverage of 
Hurricane Ike, which struck Cuba in September 2008, was widely 
heard there, with callers from all over the island providing 
updated information on the situation to OCB. And in interviews 
with the Associated Press, more than two dozen Cuban immigrants 
to Florida contended that Radio Marti could be heard throughout 
Cuba in the days following the hurricane.
    In June 2009, OCB commissioned Spanish Radio Productions 
(SRP) of Coral Gables, FL to carry out a study among recently 
arrived Cuban immigrants to determine their radio listening and 
television viewing habits during their last six months in 
Cuba.\3\ SRP found that among 390 people interviewed, when 
asked what ``foreign radio stations'' they listened to, 32 
percent volunteered that they had listened to Radio Marti. 
Slightly more than half of those added that they stopped 
listening to Radio Marti because Cuban Government jamming made 
reception difficult. When asked what ``foreign television 
stations'' they had watched during their last six months in 
Cuba, 4 percent said they had watched TV Marti. Of those who 
reported viewing TV Marti, 75 percent had seen it on VHF 
Channel 13, 41.7 percent said they had seen it on DVD or video 
cassette, and 8.3 percent said they had seen it via DirecTV. 
These survey figures, if true, are deceptive. Extrapolated to 
the whole Cuban population, 3 percent have seen TV Marti on 
Channel 13, 1.7 percent have seen it on DVD or video, and only 
0.3 percent on DirecTV.
    \3\ Survey Conducted for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting Among 
Recently Arrived Cubans: Preliminary Report, Requisition Number IQ 
1088-09-IQ 005, Solicitation Number QS-BBG50-R-09-0001, June 12, 2009.
    The problems with this survey are twofold. First, the 
methodology is not a scientific, random sample, but a group of 
recently arrived immigrants, who likely are, by definition, 
anti-regime. Second, there is no accounting for where these 
immigrants listened to Radio Marti or viewed TV Marti. For 
example, both are offered in the U.S. Interests Section, where 
the immigrants had to go to acquire visas for their travel to 
the United States.
    Higher listenership and viewership numbers are plausible, 
as evidenced by Lockheed Martin, a TV Marti contractor, and by 
the Cuban Government itself, both of which have offered 
evidence that TV Marti is potentially available across wide 
swaths of the country as a ``Grade A'' broadcast signal.
    At OCB's request, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Advanced 
Development Programs developed analytical models of the 
AeroMarti UHF Channel 20 and VHF Channel 13 broadcast systems, 
Cuban local TV transmitters operating on Channels 20 and 13, 
and Cuban jamming transmitters based in Havana.\4\ These 
computer models were employed in an advanced broadcast 
simulation environment and used to develop an engineering 
assessment of the effectiveness of the AeroMarti airborne 
broadcast system. Broadcast performance was evaluated both in 
an environment of co-channel interference from neighboring 
Cuban TV stations and when Havana-based jamming is active.
    \4\  Modeling of the AeroMarti UHF Channel 20 and VHF Channel 13 
broadcast system performance was developed using Analytical Graphics, 
Inc.'s Satellite Tool Kit analytic software package, which enables the 
user to model the dynamic link performance of a communications system, 
as well as the intervisibility among objects in a 3-D geometric model. 
The STK/Communication module was used to model the desired (TV Marti) 
and undesired (jamming and noise) signal levels at the receiver and the 
effects of atmospheric propagation on signal strengths.
    According to Lockheed Martin's model, TV Marti's Channel 20 
broadcast signal potentially extends over 21.1 percent of the 
main island of Cuba (outside Havana) during jamming while 
broadcasting along the Matanzas flight profile.\5\ The 
AeroMarti Channel 13 broadcast model indicates potential 
coverage over 22.7 percent of the island from the same flight 
profile, an increase of 322 sq km from the UHF model's 
    \5\ The Matanzas flight profile is the practice of pointing the 
aircraft's broadcast antenna toward the city of Matanzas, Cuba. OCB 
technicians say that this allows broader potential viewership coverage, 
and less jamming interference, than would directing the signal at 
    \6\ AeroMarti Broadcast Effectiveness Analysis, Contract Number 
BBG45-P-08-0008, Data Item Number A002, Document Number PMF-01382, 27 
August 2008, by Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin 
Aeronautics Company.
    Lockheed Martin's simulations suggest high TV Marti signal 
levels are greater than jamming noise and noise from co-channel 
broadcasts. That is, in the simulations, viewers could see TV 
Marti broadcast signals even with jamming. Clear broadcast 
reception is projected over wide areas during these events with 
significant signal coverage over a portion of the Cuban 
mainland along the northern coastal regions and outside of 
Havana. The studies do not explain, however, why all eyewitness 
accounts and polls show much lower TV Marti viewership.
    In June 2007, the Cuban Government claimed a similar 
theoretical signal strength (i.e., when not jamming) when it 
filed a formal complaint with the International 
Telecommunications Union.\7\ In its complaint, the Cuban 
Government specified the on-ground measured signal strength of 
the AeroMarti broadcast to be within the range of 64dBm-74dBm. 
This measured performance by the Cuban Government corroborates 
test measurements performed by Lockheed Martin on the AeroMarti 
aircraft in 2006 and 2007, prior to formal acceptance of the 
airborne broadcast systems by OCB. It is also consistent with 
the ``FCC Grade A'' signal strength specified in the Lockheed 
Martin model and in its contract with OCB.
    \7\ Complaint filed with the FCC and the ITU on June 25, 2007 by 
the Cuban ``Agencia de Control y Supervision-MIC.''
Cuban Government Jamming
    IBB and OCB have studied the extent and impact of jamming, 
but they still lack data on the number, type, and overall 
effectiveness of the jammers. Nonetheless, IBB, OCB, and 
Lockheed Martin feel confident with their conclusions on Cuba's 
jamming practices.
    The Cuban Government jams Radio Marti's shortwave signals 
and interferes with Radio Marti's AM signals by counter-
broadcasting at a higher power level on the same frequency. OCB 
tries to overcome jamming of its shortwave signals by 
alternating among 10 different frequencies throughout the 
day.\8\ To overcome Cuban Government counter-broadcasting of 
its AM broadcasts, OCB increases signal power during daylight 
hours. According to OCB, the Cuban Government's counter-
broadcasting is largely effective in and around Havana and 
several other large cities, but probably has little impact 
outside those areas.
    \8\ We are unable to determine how the frequency changes affect 
listeners' ability to tune in.
    OCB reports that jamming affects all Radio Marti shortwave 
transmissions at all hours. It is more intense around Havana, 
but shortwave reception in eastern parts of Cuba is often 
strong. There are significant areas of the island, outside 
Havana, where medium wave jamming is not a significant obstacle 
to listening.
    Lockheed Martin believes, based on identification of high 
points, that Cuba's fixed jammers are located on the four 
tallest buildings in Havana. They are likely atop the FOCSA 
Building (400 feet), the Bacardi Building (150 feet), 
Revolution Tower (350 feet), and Capitolio (300 feet). OCB also 
claims that mobile jammers are mounted on trucks and boats and 
in airplanes so that they can be moved around the island as 
necessary; we are unable to corroborate that assertion. All of 
the fixed jammers were damaged by Hurricane Ike in September 
2008, but were pressed back into duty a year later.
    Cuban Government jamming of TV Marti transmissions from 
AeroMarti is intense in metropolitan Havana, but OCB has no 
evidence of jamming of either Radio or TV Marti transmissions 
from the HISPASAT satellites. HISPASAT is a group of Spanish 
communications satellites that carry Spanish and Latin American 
television programming. It is available across northern Latin 
America and throughout Cuba. There is no jamming of TV Marti 
transmissions from DirecTV, which carries other Spanish-
language stations from Miami and covers the western portion of 
    Recently arrived Cubans who participated in an IBB-
commissioned focus group reported that signal jamming of TV 
Marti's over-the-air broadcast via AeroMarti made it difficult 
for them to view TV Marti. Officials of the U.S. Interests 
Section in Havana also said that Cuban Government jamming of 
AeroMarti usually prevented them from viewing over-the-air TV 
Marti broadcasts.
    Interestingly, OCB engineers claim that there is no Cuban 
jamming at all during baseball games broadcast on TV Marti on 
Friday and Sunday evenings during baseball season. In a 
December 2007 SRP survey, which interviewed 382 recently 
arrived Cuban immigrants, 21 percent reported watching TV Marti 
in Cuba during the past six months, and 81 percent said that 
baseball was a ``very important'' or ``important'' programming 

           5. OCB Management Also Dealing with Other Problems

    Besides congressional opposition, journalistic standards, 
audience size, and jamming, OCB management has had to deal with 
several other serious problems in the recent past. Competition 
from domestic Cuban radio and television stations, for example, 
has forced OCB to continually update its format, an action that 
can be confusing to some listeners and viewers. In interviews 
with committee staff, OCB's director emphasized that the 
competitive media environment in Cuba is a key challenge for 
OCB in attracting and maintaining an audience for Radio and TV 
Marti. Indeed, OCB management was concerned enough about its 
``brand'' in Cuba that it changed the Radio Marti and TV Marti 
logo in 2009.
    Meanwhile, time, progress, and the internet may be doing 
what Radio and TV Marti have not been able to do in Cuba. In 
2008, more than 90 percent of telephone survey respondents said 
they watched Cuba's national television broadcasts during the 
past week. IBB and OCB officials said that the quality of Cuban 
television programming has improved and now includes popular 
U.S. programming, such as ``Grey's Anatomy,'' ``Friends,'' and 
``The Sopranos.'' In addition, about 30 percent of respondents 
in recent polls said they watched CNN en Espanol, which is 
carried on Cuban television, during the past week. This clearly 
is a challenge for TV Marti, which arguably has had limited 
success in opening Cuban society to uncensored news from around 
the world. The presence of CNN on Cuban television--and its 
apparent popularity among Cubans--appears to undercut the need 
for an alternative news source such as TV Marti.
    Accusations of cronyism also continue to dog OCB 
management. Critics maintain that many senior-level OCB 
employees were granted their positions because of their 
personal connections within OCB, rather than because of any 
specific qualifications they may have had for the job. For 
example, the director of VOA Latin America is a nephew of OCB's 
director and is also a former OCB official. These critics 
assert that whether ``connected'' employees have succeeded in 
their positions is irrelevant. The fact that they obtained 
their jobs in a non-competitive manner is enough to harm morale 
and to lead to questions about management's transparency.
    OCB's presence in Miami also is another potential oversight 
problem. BBG and IBB management, both in Washington, said that 
OCB's Miami locale did not inhibit their efforts to oversee it. 
They noted that they were in regular telephone and email 
contact with OCB management. They also claimed that the monthly 
BBG board meetings (one of which is held in Miami each year) 
offered sufficient personal contact with OCB management. Some 
OCB employees, however, expressed concern to GAO over what they 
perceived as a lack of oversight by BBG and IBB. One employee 
commented that OCB seemed to be ``out of sight and out of the 
minds'' of BBG and IBB. Other employees told committee staff 
that they did not feel like they were part of ``the BBG 
family'' because of the physical distance between BBG and IBB 
management and OCB.
    Finally, OCB has even had to deal with criminal behavior in 
the workplace. In February 2007, the former director of TV 
Marti programming, along with a relative of a member of 
Congress, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to receiving 
nearly $112,000 in kickbacks over a three-year period from a 
vendor receiving OCB contracts. The former OCB employee, Jose 
Miranda, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and fined $5,000 
after being found guilty of taking as much as 50 percent of all 
monies paid by TV Marti for the production of television 
programming by vendor Perfect Image. The court found that 
Miranda personally accepted 73 separate checks from Perfect 
Image from late 2001 through 2004. He also pleaded guilty to 
income tax evasion in the scheme.

                           6. Recommendations

    First and foremost, IBB should move OCB back to Washington 
and integrate it fully into VOA. OCB cooperation with VOA in 
Miami is fine for purposes of occasional joint programming and 
editorial review, but OCB's problems are deeper than that and 
require integration between the two organizations under tighter 
IBB control. Creating a VOA-Marti service within VOA could 
resolve several serious problems: It would help ensure that 
programming, particularly news quality, meets VOA standards. It 
would bring OCB, VOA, and IBB management teams together 
permanently, allowing them to share best practices. And the 
creation of a Cuba/Marti service within VOA would more firmly 
establish the Marti brand in Cuba, and, by raising standards, 
help build OCB's audience.
    OCB must ``return to basics'' to clean up its operation. It 
must attract quality talent from outside Miami, implement 
quality editorial standards, and attract quality management. 
Hiring and training must be overhauled to ensure a de-
politicized and professional workforce.
    OCB should spend less on measuring audience size, 
especially surveys by self-interested contractors, and focus 
more on quality programming. It is that quality programming 
that will cause interested Cubans to seek out available 
broadcasts, whether over the air, or, if their access to 
technology permits, via satellite and the internet.
    IBB should take several immediate actions to comply with 
recommendations raised by GAO's report. First, GAO recommended 
that BBG take the following two steps: 1) to conduct an 
analysis of the relative success and return on investment of 
broadcasting to Cuba, showing the cost, nature of the audience, 
and challenges--such as jamming and competition--related to 
each of OCB's transmission methods. The analysis should also 
include comprehensive information regarding the media 
environment in Cuba to better understand the extent to which 
OCB broadcasts are attractive to Cubans; and 2) to coordinate 
the sharing of information among U.S. agencies and grantees 
regarding the audience research relating to Radio and TV Marti. 
We agree fully with these recommendations. OCB cannot fully 
serve its intended audience without understanding its operating 
environment, its competition, and its audience's wishes.
    In addition, we believe that IBB must: 1) enhance guidance, 
training, and oversight for analysts performing program 
reviews; 2) provide regular, ongoing, and comprehensive 
training to OCB staff regarding journalistic standards; and 3) 
develop guidance and take steps to ensure that political and 
other inappropriate advertisements are not shown during OCB 
    To address chronic management issues, it is important to 
have processes in place to enable the efficient and effective 
operation of OCB. Finally, to improve morale within the 
organization, OCB management should take steps to address 
persistent concerns with its communication and interaction with 
OCB staff.

                            A P P E N D I X


                    Broadcasting Board of Governors 
                          Organizational Chart