From www.kimandrewelliott.com

"A Fondo": "Back door" to reducing Radio/TV Martí?

Posted: 11 Feb 2010

"The U.S. government's official broadcasts to Cuba and the government-funded Voice of America are for the first time regularly sharing resources - a move officials hope will enhance both services and which could blunt longtime criticism of the Cuban broadcasts. ... Last week, the office's TV and Radio Marti services opened their studios to VOA's Spanish division to jointly produce a regular half-hour radio show. 'A Fondo' or 'In Depth' provides news and analysis from around the hemisphere. It was developed in part to target Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has cracked down on opposition and independent media and frequently criticizes U.S. foreign policy. 'I am looking into this issue to ensure that this is an effort to maximize resources to expand U.S. coverage in the region and not a back door to reducing U.S. broadcasts to Cuba,' U.S Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, told The Associated Press. ... U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the Martis' most ardent critics, had a more cynical take. 'I think they realize they're on borrowed time with the Cuba project, so I think they're trying to merge it in as much as they can with Voice of America,' he said. ... Because the Cuba broadcasts are not welcome by the country's government, the U.S. must beam them directly into the island via shortwave, AM broadcasts and satellite. While VOA's broadcasts also use shortwave and satellite, and now with 'Al Fondo,' some AM, they rely more heavily on local affiliates. Yet that may change, too. VOA's Spanish-language radio is carried by only a handful of affiliates in Venezuela, and its TV service by even fewer. Given Chavez's recent decision to take the opposition cable and satellite Radio Caracas Television International off the air, it could soon lose even those platforms. And that would make it all the more dependent on the same modes of transmission the Martis rely on." Laura Wides-Muñoz, AP, 10 February 2010. See previous post about same subject.

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