The one Radio República segment that concentrates exclusively on politics is Alternativa. But it's a far cry from the majority of exile-hosted political programs. "They don't call on people to burn fields or put sugar in gas tanks," explains White. Instead the talk revolves around topics like "Democratic Marxism" and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. "We believe in a nonviolent struggle where you never cut off dialogue with your opponent," says host Orlando Gutierrez, who also heads the staff of Directorio Democrático.
Gutierrez and company hope this fresh format may draw back some of the Cuban shortwave listeners who have trickled away over the years. Nichols of Penn State believes there's a chance they might succeed. "A message like that might carry better with the Cuban youth," he says. "Perhaps it could even make shortwave relevant again."
Jeff White is making waves from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego
WRMI's broadcasts target the Americas, but listeners write in from around the globe