Radio Havana Cuba
|Owner||Government of Cuba|
|Luis López López (General Director), Pedro Otero Cabañas (Chief Editor)|
|1 May 1961|
Radio Havana Cuba (Spanish: Radio Habana Cuba, RHC) is the official government-run international broadcasting station of Cuba. It can be heard in many parts of the world including the United States on shortwave at 6000 kHz and other frequencies. Radio Havana, along with Radio Rebelde, Cubavision Television and other Cuban Radio and Television broadcasts to Europe, North America, Central and South America via free-to-air satellite from the Hispanisat satellite over the Atlantic Ocean and via Internet streaming.
Early history (1960s–1980s)
Although RHC was officially inaugurated in May 1961, the idea of an international Cuban radio station was born in the Sierra Maestra mountains during the final stage of the fight against Fulgencio Batista. After the creation of Radio Rebelde by Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in February, 1958, the leadership of the guerrilla movement began to analyze the possibility of creating a radio station after achieving final victory. This station would be able to communicate news about the Cuban Revolution to countries around the world.
During the Cold War, RHC relayed propaganda broadcasts from North Vietnam and North Korea, and the USSR, as well as its original programming. The North Vietnamese programming from the Voice of Vietnam was received by teleprinter and read by Radio Havana Cuba announcers. In the 1960s, Radio Havana Cuba broadcast Radio Free Dixie aimed at African-Americans struggling against segregation and Jim Crow in the southern United States.
At times in the 1980s, in order to protest the Reagan administration's Cuba policy and its instigation of the anti-Castro Radio Martí program from the Voice of America, Radio Havana Cuba broadcast briefly on mediumwave frequencies at a greatly boosted power allowing the station to be heard on American AM radios and overwhelming local American AM stations broadcasting on that frequency, including clear channel station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 kHz. RHC no longer transmits on medium waves, even though Radio Martí still transmits from the United States to Cuba on 1180 kHz.
Located on Havana's Avenida Infanta, the offices of Radio Havana Cuba share a facility with two other renowned national stations that have contributed greatly to the history of Cuban radio broadcasting: Radio Progreso and CMBF, Radio Musical Nacional. Currently, RHC broadcasts in nine languages: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Quechua, Guarani, Creole and Esperanto, 24 hours a day, with a varied programming that includes news, music and features. RHC's English-language broadcasts are heavily centered on the U.S.A and feature news items that uniformly adversely reflect upon the U.S. government and the current administration, especially its foreign policies.
RHC was off the air temporarily in late August 2004 due to damage caused by Hurricane Charley.
The station broadcasts Cuban popular music frequently, as well as tips for amateur radio hobbyists from announcer Arnie Coro in a programme known as DXers Unlimited. Another popular announcer was Keith Perron in the early 1990s who went on to work for China Radio International and is now host of the Taiwan based Happy Station show.
The shortwave numbers station nicknamed "Atencion", or HM01, by independent shortwave listeners has been linked to RHC radio transmissions equipment. In numbers station transmissions, a series of random numbers are read out over the air in multiple languages, or in digital modes or morse code. These audible transmission of numbers are believed to be one-time encrypted messages to espionage agents residing in the targeted country. Numbers station monitors have noted that on occasion RHC interval signals have been heard at the beginning or end of intelligence-related transmissions. The United States Government convicted the Cuban Five with evidence that was intercepted and decoded from HM01.
Sometime during the interval, Thelma Rodriguez gives out the radio identifier details in the Spanish and English languages. "This is/You're listening to Radio Habana Cuba, broadcasting live from Havana, Cuba, free territory of the Americas" (Spanish: "Esta es Radio Habana Cuba transmitiendo desde Cuba, territorio libre en America").
RHC output (1950–1996)
For a comparison of RHC to other broadcasters see
|VOA, RFE/RL & Radio Martí||497||1,495||1,907||1,901||2,611||1,821|
|China Radio International||66||687||1,267||1,350||1,515||1,620|
|BBC World Service||643||589||723||719||796||1,036|
|Radio Moscow / Voice of Russia||533||1,015||1,908||2,094||1,876||726|
|Radio Cairo (ERTU)||0||301||540||546||605||604|
|IRIB World Service / Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran||12||24||155||175||400||575|
|All India Radio||116||157||271||389||456||500|
|NHK World Radio Japan||0||203||259||259||343||468|
|Radio France Internationale||198||326||200||125||379||459|
|Radio Netherlands Worldwide||127||178||335||289||323||392|
|Israel Radio International||0||91||158||210||253||365|
|Voice of Turkey||40||77||88||199||322||364|
|Radio Pyongyang / Voice of Korea||0||159||330||597||534||364|
|Radio Tirana (RTSH)||26||63||487||560||451||303|
|Radio Romania International||30||159||185||198||199||298|
|Radio Exterior de España||68||202||251||239||403||270|
|Radio Havana Cuba||0||0||320||424||352||203|
|Rai Italia Radio||170||205||165||169||181||203|
|Radio Canada International||85||80||98||134||195||175|
|Radio RSA / Channel Africa||0||63||150||183||156||159|
|Sveriges Radio International||28||114||140||155||167||149|
|Voice of Nigeria||0||0||62||170||120||127|
|Radio Belgrade / International Radio of Serbia||80||70||76||72||96||68|
Source: International Broadcast Audience Research, June 1996
The list includes about a quarter of the world's external broadcasters whose output is both publicly funded and worldwide. Among those excluded are Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and various international commercial and religious stations.
- Does not broadcast on shortwave as of 2014.
- 1996 figures as at June; all other years as at December.
- Before 1991, broadcasting for the former USSR.
- Before 1996, broadcasting for the former Czechoslovakia.
- REE ceased all shortwave broadcasts in October 2014 but announced in December that it would resume shortwave transmission in Spanish only for four hours a day in order to accommodate Spanish fishing trawlers who were otherwise unable to receive REE at sea.