…rather, ask why you’re doing it, and others can/will not.
MPR’s Bob Collins ran a piece earlier this week about “How MPR is able to Broadcast from Cuba“.
And just to be clear – he was focusing on how they dealt with the technical hurdles of broadcasting from a country that is the Northwestern Quatrosphere’s little enclave of the Third World. And I’ll cop to it; the former radio producer in me geeks out at that part:
…when [MPR technical geek Rob Byers] and his team sat down and examined the map of undersea cables in the Caribbean, they found almost no connectivity to the rest of the world, save for two connections to Venezuela. But because both MPR’s sibling company American Public Media and Cuban state radio (ICRT) are associate members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), it was possible to make a satellite connection from Cuban radio in Havana to a downlink in Geneva, Switzerland, and from there to a site in London that could connect to MPR in St. Paul.
They found a better way. A direct satellite uplink from Havana to St. Paul, using a downlink at the Fitzgerald Theater and a backup site at Twin Cities Public Television.
But Collins also hastens (or hastened, after the subject came up in the comments):
…people asked about political and legal hurdles. I checked back with Rob and Brian. Brian says they’ve asked from the start whether there would be any editorial oversight of the broadcasts by Cuban authorities and they have been assured there would not be.
Rob says he has not encountered legal hurdles.
Right – but MPR is apparently going to Cuba to broadcast the Minnesota Orchestra concert – a fairly uncontroversial-looking program of Beethoven, Bernstein, Prokofiev, and Cuban composer Alejandro García Caturla.
Is it especially controversial to note that there’s a reason they didn’t ask (and I’m going to skip past the cliches here) Michael Medved or Dennis Prager or, um, yours truly to broadcast from Cuba. The Castro regime isn’t looking for a challenge, and MPR will be the last media outlet to deliver one.
And on the one hand, that’s fine – challenging the authoritarian status quo isn’t MPR Classical’s mission.
On the other hand – Cuba is a human rights offender on a massive scale. The plight of Cuban dissendent journalists – or any dissidents, really – is the sort of thing that makes anyone who thinks freedom is a good thing a little queasy.
And I have to wonder – from what other authoritarian basket case would MPR pursue a broadcast?