Classical MPR has the inside track on how the Minnesota Orchestra will relays its concert back home when there are no radio links between the US and Cuba. Here’s how:
“If we were to do a broadcast here in the states, we would do what most any organization would do,” said Rob Byers, technical coordinator, broadcast and media operations for MPR. “We’d call up the telephone company and order ISDN lines or Internet service of some kind, and we just did not have that ability in Cuba to do that sort of thing.”Indeed, when 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.
Seven MPR employees are heading to Cuba to pull the broadcast off.