Radio Marti and TV Marti have been on the air for 25 years and 18 years, respectively. They are the subject of a new report by the General Accountability Office, released today by Representative Bill Delahunt and available here. A statement from Representative Delahunt is here.
Past GAO reports have focused on financial and management issues. This one is interesting for the comprehensive background it provides on the broadcast stations, and because it focuses on the essential issues of audience size and programming strategy.
The bottom line: after a quarter century on the air, and with a $34 million annual budget, “the best available audience research,” GAO says, indicates that “Radio and TV Martí’s audience size is small, with less than 2 percent of respondents to telephone surveys since 2003 reporting that they had tuned in to Radio or TV Martí during the past week.”
By contrast, GAO reported, “over 90 percent of telephone survey respondents said they watched
The GAO report says that the Radio/TV Marti management recognizes that “the competitive media environment in
GAO also reports that Radio/TV Marti management, in contrast to other U.S. government international broadcasters, doesn’t seem to have a complete handle on the competition: “While OCB and IBB have gathered information relating to OCB’s competitors, OCB has not compiled comprehensive information regarding the number, nature, and quality of other radio and television programming available to Cuban listeners and viewers.”
Recently, dissidents have complained about Radio Marti and said that Cubans don’t listen because it is boring; the programming “is so bad and so uninteresting to the Cuban people that no one listens,” Vladimiro Roca said last month.
It is good that GAO highlighted the issue of Radio Marti’s competition in