Tag Archives: Radio Marti

USAGM: questions about journalistic and financial management

(Source: New York Times)

WASHINGTON — The United States Agency for Global Media, the government’s foreign broadcast service, already struggling to clean house after a series of scandals last year at flagship operations like Voice of America and TV Martí, is now being rocked by two new cases that have raised further questions about its journalistic and financial management.

In one, Tomás Regalado Jr., a reporter for TV Martí, which broadcasts into Cuba, and a cameraman for the network, Rodolfo Hernandez, were suspended amid allegations that they faked a mortar attack on Mr. Regalado during a broadcast from Managua, Nicaragua, last year.

That incident surfaced only days after Haroon Ullah, the former chief strategy officer at the global media agency, which operates Martí and foreign-language networks around the world, pleaded guilty on June 27 in federal court in Alexandria, Va., to stealing government property.

A former deputy to the agency’s chief executive, John Lansing, Mr. Ullah admitted to fleecing the government of $37,000 between February and October last year by claiming reimbursements for expensive hotels he did not book, double-billing the government for official travel and forging a doctor’s note to allow him to fly business class. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

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The new problems are unrelated to each other; in the case of Mr. Ullah, the agency said its internal controls flagged the expense fraud. But along with many others over the past two years, the scandals have brought intensified scrutiny and criticism to the agency, formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Created during World War II to be an objective, trusted source of information in nations where freedom of the press is under attack, the agency has 3,500 journalists who reach more than 345 million people in 100 countries each week.

The United States Agency for Global Media initiated an investigation into the allegedly faked segment at TV Martí “immediately after these concerns about the footage in question were raised,” the agency said in a statement. “As the agency has made clear, we have zero tolerance for failing to honor clear and universally accepted standards of professional journalism. We also owe it to all involved to conduct a thorough and clear investigation to get all of the facts.”

“I take seriously any breach of professional journalistic standards at any U.S.A.G.M. network. I have asked for a thorough and swift investigation,” Mr. Lansing said in an emailed statement. “I expect all U.S.A.G.M. networks to adhere to truthfulness, fairness and accountability in their reporting.”

Click here to read the full article at the New York Times.

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Independent review says U.S.-funded broadcaster failing to spread fair and balanced news

(Source: Washington Post via Mark Fahey)

A U.S. agency that is supposed to broadcast objective Spanish-language news programs into Cuba fails to meet basic standards of journalistic fairness[…] The review of [Radio] Martí content, conducted by Spanish-speaking academics and former journalists and released Tuesday, found the news organization routinely allows “almost any criticism of the Cuban government and its leaders” on the air. The effect, the report concluded, is that the station has sometimes resembled anti-communist propaganda and has failed to be a broker of fair and unbiased broadcast journalism, as is mandated by Congress.

John F. Lansing, the chief executive of the station’s parent organization, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, said the review did not find that the biased coverage had been directed by any political appointee of the Trump administration. Rather, he said, the failures flow from a “broken culture” at Martí, which has relied on Cuban dissidents as on-air personalities and on a small group of anti-communist organizations as sources for some content.

“I know it’s tempting to make an assumption about the Trump administration, particularly given the terms that have been used about the press, but I can tell you unequivocally that there has been no influence by the Trump administration,” said Lansing, a holdover from the Obama administration. Rather, he said, the report reveals “a lack of basic journalist standards across the board.”[…]

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

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Photo Tour: The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station

Yesterday, I posted a photo and asked if you guess where I was when I took the shot.

Those of you who guessed the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station (formerly, “VOA Site B”) near Greenville, North Carolina, were absolutely correct!

My buddy, John Figliozzi, gave a presentation about NASWA and the Winter SWL Fest at the NASB (National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters) which was held in the Raleigh area, May 9th and 10th. Due to a conflict, I was not able to attend the NASB meeting this year, but I did arrive at the conference hotel late Thursday where I met a handful of attendees. I had previously invited John to join me on the station tour, and he was quite happy to do so!

Macon Dail (WB4PMQ), the transmitting station’s Gold Medal award-winning Chief Engineer, made time to give us a tour Friday, May 10, 2019.

And now, on to the photo tour of this remarkable facility.  My inclination is to caption each photo…but I know if I attempt this, I won’t post this gallery for several months!  Instead, I’ll roughly divide the photos by the various sections of the site. Note, however, that there are more than one hundred photos in this detailed post––to decrease its length, some of the photos have been placed in clickable thumbnail galleries. Those of you who receive the SWLing Post as an email digest, I would strongly encourage you to view this post directly on our website, so all of the gallery images will appear.

Enjoy!

Station entrance, lobby, and library

The Front Lobby

In this photo, Macon is showing John one of the notebooks, which is chock-full of reception reports from listeners. This notebook, as you can see, is prominently displayed in the front lobby.

We found our friend Rich D’Angelo in the stack of reception reports.

In a mezzanine above the control room, there is a space that houses a library, a presentation/classroom area, and even a small workout/fitness room.

View into the control room from the mezzanine.

Control room

     

Transmitters

 

Tubes glowing in the active GE transmitter!

Very high voltage in this power room for the GE transmitters.

Installing new transmitters

Macon and his team are in the process of installing modern transmitters sent from other IBB sites. As you might imagine, this is a tedious process, and requires highly-skilled technicians.

 

 

Power

Antenna switching bay and feed lines

In this photo, we’re looking straight down a 50 kW feed line in conduit which leads to the switching bay. Normally, this would not be accessible, but this line is being built for a new transmitter.

The antenna switching bay is truly massive…

Antenna farm

View from the observation tower

Wow, what a tour…

John and I enjoyed our in-depth tour of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station! The staff, as always, were incredibly welcoming and accommodating.

I believe this was my fourth tour; nonetheless, I still discovered new things, and it’s no wonder. The staff of the station are constantly upgrading, updating, and tweaking the performance of their equipment. This is the reason their signals are always full-fidelity and crystal-clear on the air.

I’m simply amazed by all they accomplish.  Keeping this station running is certainly a labor of love.

Of course, this won’t be my last visit to the station.  I fully intend to return, if not later this year, at least next, to check out the new transmitters in operation.  Stay tuned! To this active VOA station.

Click here to read an article about my first visit to the Murrow Transmitting Station.


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Radio World: “Who’s Got the Biggest, Meanest AM Flamethrower?”

(Source: Radio World)

More broadcasters than you might realize are helping keep the ionosphere warm (and the power companies happy)

In the May 9 issue of Radio World, I reported on a recent power upgrade at TWR’s Bonaire AM facility that brought that station close to the half-megawatt level (440 kW), allowing the station to make the claim that it is the most powerful medium-wave (MW) operation in the Western Hemisphere. After the dust settled, I thought it might be interesting to poke around a bit in the data available to see if they have a close (or even not-so-close) contender for second place for this title.

With only a few exceptions, U.S. stations have been capped at 50 kW since this power level was authorized by the Federal Radio Commission in the late 1920s. Powel Crosley Jr.’s WLW 500,000 kW 1930s “experimental” operation is one very well-known example, as it received a lot of publicity during the five years or so during it operated before being powered down. However, there was another much less well-known superpower operation during that period (it actually beat WLW to the punch by putting 400,000 Watts on the air about three years before Crosley was ready to belt out his hundreds of kilowatts).

[…]Surprisingly, there is one U.S. AM station that has the necessary paperwork and equipment to operate at 100 kW full-time. However, it’s not listed in the FCC’s AM database. I’m referring to the VOA’s “Radio Martí” in Marathon, Fla. which operates on 1080 kHz.

The VOA station (it sports no call sign) appears to be the only operation in its class in the U.S. and Canada, but it if you cross the border into Mexico, you’ll find “muchas estaciones de radio” that emit lots more than a puny 50,000 “vatios.”[…]

Click here to read the full story at Radio World.

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Budget proposes drastic cuts to Radio Martí

Note that the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station–the last VOA/BBG transmitting site in the US–is the main provider of Radio Marti over shortwave. No doubt, this proposed cut could close the site permanently. The end of an era.

(Source: Miami Herald via Mike Hansgen)

Trump’s budget includes drastic cuts to Radio and TV Martí

President Donald Trump’s recently released budget would drastically cut funds and staffing at the Miami-based Radio and TV Martí, while restoring funds to support other democracy projects in Cuba and new ones in Venezuela.

The restoration of funds comes amid large cuts to the Department of State and the United States Agency for Development (USAID). The proposal would allocate $10 million for programs related to Cuba and another $9 million for similar initiatives in Venezuela.

Click here to read the full article at The Miami Herald.

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