Report of Inspection

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Report of Inspection

Transcript Of Report of Inspection

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED United States Department of State
and the Broadcasting Board of Governors
Office of Inspector General
Report of Inspection
Office of Cuba Broadcasting
Report Number ISP-IB-07-35, June 2007
IMPORTANT NOTICE This report is intended solely for the official use of the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors, or any agency or organization receiving a copy directly from the Office of Inspector General. No secondary distribution may be made, in whole or in part, outside the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors, by them or by other agencies or organizations, without prior authorization by the Inspector General. Public availability of the document will be determined by the Inspector General under the U.S. Code, 5 U.S.C. 552. Improper disclosure of this report may result in criminal, civil, or administrative penalties.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
KEY JUDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 CONTEXT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 EXECUTIVE DIRECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 TECHNICAL AND BROADCAST OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 ADMINISTRATION AND SECURITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 FORMAL RECOMMENDATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 INFORMAL RECOMMENDATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 ABBREVIATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 APPENDIX A: RADIO MARTI NEWS PROGRAMS AND NEWSCASTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 APPENDIX B: TV MARTI PROGRAMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 APPENDIX C: RELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS IN IBB’S PERFORMANCE REVIEWS OF
RADIO AND TV MARTI (2004-2007) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
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KEY JUDGMENTS
• The Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) has significantly improved its broadcasting operations under the strong leadership of the current direcand with the support of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). The director and his experienced and talented senior staff have implemented an organizational realignment that combined the radio and television components of OCB and streamlined its operations. This reorganization has facilitated efforts to improve the quality of broadcasts.
• IBB quality reviews show that radio and television broadcasts have markedly improved over the past two years in production quality and content. Greater emphasis is needed on internal quality control to ensure editorial standards are followed.
• The introduction of new technology allows OCB to broadcast television signals live into Cuba using airborne platforms. These continuously moving aircraft make it significantly more difficult for the Cuban government to jam or disrupt the signal. Indications are that more Cubans are watching Television Marti, broadcast, and OCB has increased the quantity of daily programs.
• The airborne platforms concept was originated by the technical operations staff at OCB. Now operational, this innovative approach has applications for transmitting broadcast signals into other hostile theaters of operation. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) team considers the use of an airborne platform, Aero Marti, to be a Best Practice.
• As Cuba transitions from the Fidel Castro regime, OCB will be challenged to continually produce high-quality programs that meet the informational and entertainment needs of the diverse Cuban populace. What is missing is a longterm strategic plan that anticipates the future needs of the Cuban audience, provides a template on how to compete with commercial broadcasters, and addresses what to do with OCB and its broadcasting facilities if and when uncensored broadcasting is allowed inside a democratic Cuba.

OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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• Although reduced under the current leadership, there are (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)
(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

The responsibilities of many employees have

changed, and some position descriptions are out of date. OCB needs a detailed

position classification review, a formal awards and recognition program, greater

training opportunities, and enhanced efforts to improve communication through

such mechanisms as a monthly electronic newsletter.

• (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)
(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)

OIG com-

mends OCB management for initiating action during the course of the inspec-

tion visit to obtain a full-time security officer position.

The inspection took place in Washington, DC, between January 5 and March 2, 2007, and at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in Miami, FL, between March 5 and 20, 2007, including site visits to the transmitting station in Marathon, FL, and the Naval Air Station in Key West, FL. Ambassador Franklin Huddle (team leader), James Martino (deputy team leader), Boyd Doty, and Martha Goode conducted the inspection. Ambassador Huddle also visited Cuba, as leader of OIG’s management inspection of the United States Interests Section in Havana, and addressed the relationship between the mission and OCB.

OIG provided copies of the draft report to the BBG, IBB, Department of State, and OCB. Based on these comments OIG modified the text of the draft where appropriate, and these comments are included in relevant sections of the report.

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OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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CONTEXT

In 1983, after a three-year bipartisan effort, Congress passed the Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act (Public Law 98-111). The year following, OCB was created to direct the operations of Radio Marti and, in 1990, TV Marti was created; both provide Spanish-language news, features, and entertainment programs to Cuba. In addition, OCB has a web site (www.martinoticias.com). The Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act requires Radio Marti to follow Voice of America journalistic standards and guidelines for presenting a variety of news and information in an accurate and objective manner. The station broadcasts 24/7, using medium wave (better known as AM) and shortwave signals.

TV Marti programming includes

four-and-a-half hours of daily news-

casts as well as programs about public

affairs, culture, music, sports, and

entertainment. The station broadcasts

commentary and information about

events in Cuba and elsewhere to

promote the free flow of information

Office of Cuba Broadcasting facilities

and ideas on the island.

OCB currently has 169 authorized

direct-hire positions in FY 2007. Of these, 152 positions are encumbered, and 17

are vacant. In addition, there are about 120 talent contractors. The FY 2007 budget

is $33.6 million, including salaries and benefits of $17.5 million and general operating

expenses of $16.1 million.

OCB is at a critical juncture in its history. The Presidential Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba (CAFC) was established in 2004 to identify additional means by which the United States could increase efforts to help the Cuban people bring about an expeditious end to the Fidel Castro dictatorship and regain their freedom. The comprehensive framework is composed of six related tasks to achieve the following:

• Empower Cuban civil society;

• Break the Cuban dictatorship’s information blockade;

OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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• Deny resources to the Cuban dictatorship;
• Illuminate the reality of Castro’s Cuba;
• Encourage international efforts to support Cuban civil society; and
• Undermine the regime’s “succession strategy.”
The key element that relates directly to OCB is the strategy to break the regime’s information blockade. The Cuban Communist Party controls all mass media and communication on the island. CAFC has thus far published two reports with recommendations in a variety of areas, including broadcasting measures specific to OCB.
On July 31, 2006, the Cuban regime announced that Fidel Castro was stepping aside due to poor health and that his brother Raul would be running the day-to-day operations of the government. While it remains to be seen where Cuba is headed – and numerous credible post-Castro scenarios exist – the departure of Fidel Castro from active leadership itself constitutes a sea-change in Cuban politics. As such, it affords an opportunity for OCB to help shape the transition during the post-Castro era. To respond, OCB has at its disposal a variety of means of transmitting radio, television, and Internet broadcasts.

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OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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Figure 1: Radio and TV Marti Transmission Delivery Methods

Medium

Transmission TV/Radio

Hours

Comments

Location

Shortwave

Delano, CA

Radio

Greenville, NC

24 hours daily

Ten frequencies

Medium wave

Marathon, FL

Radio, Channel 24 hours

1180 AM

daily

100 kilowatts

HISPASAT satellite

Radio and TV

24 hours daily

Commando Solo C-130 airplane

On-board use of recorded Digital videodiscs

TV, Channel 13 four hours No live broadcasts weekly

Aero Marti Gulf Stream twinengine propeller planes

On-board transmissions

TV, Channel 20 (ultra-high frequency)

five hours MondaySaturday evenings

Possible future uses for very high frequency and FM broadcasting

Radio “Mambi”

South Florida

Radio WAQI, 710 AM

One hour on week nights

Leased time 50 kilowatts

TV Azteca on DirecTV

Miami

TV, Channel 38

Two 30minute newscasts, weekdays

Leased time

OCB Internet

OCB

Radio and TV

24 hours daily

Includes streaming and on-demand archives

The OIG team’s inspection sought to determine whether OCB was effectively managing its resources to meet its current and planned broadcasting mission.

OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED OCB is organized according to the following chart: Figure 2: OCB Organizational Chart

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OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTION

Since OCB’s inception, the organization has been controversial. Interest groups, politicians, and some in the media who favor a more open policy of engagement and free trade with Cuba have opposed OCB’s mission and frequently complained about its broadcasts. Critics have faulted the programs as one-sided, sometimes vulgar, and prone to glossing over news that is critical of the U.S government and Miami’s Cuban exile community. The critics also have alleged that the poor quality of broadcast programs, particularly of Television Marti, precludes any chance of realizing the U.S. government’s goals of promoting democracy. In any case, the critics pointed out that the broadcast signal was effectively jammed by the Cuban government and thus only reached a miniscule audience at considerable expense.
These criticisms, along with continually negative press, internal disagreements among employees as to OCB’s appropriate role, and allegations of ineffectual management, have historically harmed OCB’s employee morale. In fact, OIG has several times reviewed OCB operations and noted the presence of internal strife.1
This was the state of affairs when the President appointed the current director of OCB on April 1, 2003. Over the past four years, the director is widely credited by officials of BBG, IBB, and the Department of State with using his strong leadership and managerial skills to significantly improve OCB operations. The OIG team concurs with this assessment. With the support of the BBG and IBB personnel, the quality of programming has significantly improved. The organization is also more efficient, thanks to a major reorganization that combined Radio and TV Marti’s programming and news operations.
Office of Cuba Broadcasting Employee Attitudes About Management Are Generally Positive
The director has been a hands-on manager and an assertive, inspiring leader, much to the benefit of OCB, although this style itself has intimidated some employ-
1 Previous OIG reports include Review of the Effectiveness and Implementation of Office of Cuba Broadcasting’s New Program Initiatives (IBO-A-03-01, January 2003); Review of Office of Cuba Broadcasting’s Administrative Practices (99-IB-023, September 1999); and Review of Policies and Procedures for Ensuring That Radio Marti Broadcasts Adhere to Applicable Requirements (USIA-99-IB-010, June 1999).

OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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ees. On personal questionnaires and in interviews, a wide-range of employees at all levels expressed a range of views, from unqualified raves to harsh criticisms of the director and his senior management team.
Overall, however, the director is viewed as the most effective one in recent history. Most employees credit his leadership for OCB’s leaps forward in its reorganization, technology upgrades, and enhanced broadcast program quality. (b) (2)(b) (2)
(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2) (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2) (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2) (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2) (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2) (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2) (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2) (b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)(b) (2)
Consistently, the issue of poor communication was the single most-repeated employee criticism. This lack of communication – by management to the employees – was important because many of OCB’s recent structural changes and its technological shift to digitalized radio and television operations affect OCB employees. Specific findings and recommendations are found in the Administration and Security section of this report.

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OIG Report No. ISP-IB-07-35, Inspection of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, June 2007

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