Curriculum Vitae – Radio Canada International (RCI)

Seventy-five years is a long time, so it’s not surprising that most people don’t know what Radio Canada International (RCI) has done since its inauguration in 1945. Obviously, it’s impossible to list all its achievements and awards, but let’s try to look at a few of these.

Radio Canada International (RCI) was a highly respected medium sized international broadcaster, which had produced programmes in about 20 different languages. As Canada’s Voice to the World it innovated with shortwave radio broadcasting, barter agreements for transmitter time, satellite feeds, programme placements, and the Internet. It won appreciation and awards around the world not only for its news and current affairs programming, but also for numerous other services such as French and English lessons for local radio broadcasters throughout the world, and the recording and distribution of records of Canadian pop and classical artists.

Here’s a quick review of RCI since 1945:

In 1990, Radio Canada International had an audience of between 9 and 16 million.  It broadcast specially targeted programmes in English and in French to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. As well it had targeted programmes in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. After the cuts in 1991, only seven languages remained but RCI was still providing 232 hours of RCI programming heard around the world.

In 1982, to assure RCI delivered, quick, insightful news, tailored for an international audience, from Canada’s capital, it set up an Ottawa bureau with three journalists in English, and three in French who daily reported to all RCI’s targeted areas.

The RCI Music Transcription Service, which started officially in 1947 and ended with the cuts in 1991, recorded popular, jazz and classical artists, and released these recordings worldwide of, among others, Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, Louis Lortie, Pierrette Alarie, Jean Carignan, Moe Koffman, Tommy Banks, Karen Young, Andre Gagnon, UZEB, Pauline Julien, Gilles Vigneault. See this article in the Canadian Encyclopedia here.

Radio Canada International was an early innovator and adoptee of the Internet. Its website started in 1996, the next year it featured an inter-active seven language website that gave political background and live updates on the election results, plus taped reports. All this in addition to its regular live programming with analysis and the election results in all languages around the world on election night.

RCI produced spoken word and musical programs for foreign radio stations.

RCI produced a monthly “Pick of the Pops” collection of Canadian music hits in both English and French distributed to 250 stations around the world.

RCI produced English and French radio language lessons about the Canadian reality and distributed them to radio stations around the world in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

RCI managed and supervised Canadian Forces Network programming for Canadian peacekeepers around the world.

RCI produced a weekly half hour business show broadcast locally in Hong Kong.

At its shortwave transmitter site in Sackville, New Brunswick, RCI engineers innovated remarkable techniques to broaden RCI’s reach around the world as well as innovating in barter agreements for transmitter time with international broadcasters around the world.

In the 1990s, RCI hosted a series of biennial conferences called Challenges for International Broadcasting bringing together international broadcasters, academics and others.

Since 2012, RCI has produced web programming in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.

In 2020, the national broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada announced RCI staff will translate texts from its domestic service, and would have a total workforce of nine people.


RCI Action Committee




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Article by Admin RCI Action Committee Website

Wojtek Gwiazda has been the spokesperson for the RCI Action Committee since 1991. The Committee is supported and funded by the union that represents almost all RCI employees: the Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs de Radio-Canada (STTRC formerly SCRC). E-mail: Read 111 articles by Admin RCI Action Committee Website
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