Day 003? Day 004? Like a hamster trapped on a treadmill…

Is it Day 3? Or is it Day 4? Already, it’s becoming a blur.

Like a hamster trapped on a treadmill, with no beginning and no end. Like a factory worker on an assembly line constantly trying to make sure the bolt fits, as another bolt has to be attached. We charge ahead, determined to fill our quota. Determined to prove we’re professionals. Determined to do the best we can for the listeners we’ve left behind on radio, who might still be trying to hear us on our website. Are they? And what about those who no longer have access to our reports and interviews? Will they wait for us to come back? Will they give up on us?

There’s not much time to reflect these days at Radio Canada International. We all have been given quotas for the number of reports and interviews we’re to produce each week. One lone technician is with us, for just this week, to help us figure out how to record our interviews in newly re-designed booths so that there’s no need to have the services of the five technicians that used to work with us.

Meanwhile the “easy” work of finding a photo, copy-pasting a web-link, writing an introduction for the website, that was supposed to take only a few minutes takes a lot longer. For many colleagues this is their first time. It’s sometimes embarrassing. After years of being a radio professional. Of feeling like a professional. It’s grade one, all over again. And having to ask our webmasters, and other colleagues how to do the most basic things. They seem like mountains, but supposedly this is so easy.

With all these extra tasks, there’s less time to concentrate on researching the subjects we’re covering. Less time to talk to our interviewees. Not enough time to get in that last question, because another colleague is waiting outside the booth, desperate to start their interview.

We got a memo Wednesday. That was Day 3, right? And it says they’re going to move us. With just under 20 people, it’s a shame for all this space to go to waste after three-quarters of our colleagues were laid off.

Go to go. Have to work on another report.

What can you do to help us?

Is this how the end looks? One step at a time, Radio Canada International continues to be dismantled. This used to be where the technician sat, the controls in front of him, to record our telephone interviews. A new memo says we'll be moving soon. Guess we're taking up to much space, after all the layoffs.

Day 002 at the new (non-radio) Radio Canada International

There were more colleagues in the office today. Many of those who are being laid off came in to empty their desks. Some are here for the orientation sessions on how to find a job. Others are taking training to know how to fill in for us, with our new duties as web posters for our website.

Speaking of the website. Every time we looked at it today, it kept changing. The good news is that the links to all the archived programmes, and audio, are (finally!!) being restored after three days of chaos. That said, there’s still lots of work to be done.

Lots of language mixups on the new web site, and quite a few broken links on the archived site. By the way, if you’re trying to find the old site, on our new site, look for the button to the left of the LIVE RADIO (or other language equivalent) button. And of course, the live radio is not ours, it’s the live radio of our French radio at the national public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada. If you find it a bit weird that there’s so much publicity and links to both the English and French services of our national broadcaster, so do we.

And if you’re wondering why the news on the English and French pages of our website aren’t contextualized, you’ve probably realized if you clicked on the connect buttons, that you’re sent to our domestic national broadcaster for news. Since our newsroom is closed, and our journalists laid off, our administrators scrambled to give the impression that things are still fine, and running smoothly. They’re not.

We’re also finding that it’s hard to concentrate on the task of presenting well thought out reports and interviews. That’s because we no longer have technicians to record us in studio. Booths have been set up for us to do telephone interviews and record continuity. Even our phones have been set up for interviews, just in case. But that does take away from our main tasks.

And then there’s the website. It keeps on changing. And we’re now responsible for inputting texts, photos and audio onto the website. For some, this is their first experience. The days are stressful.

Only bright spot, seeing some of our colleagues who were laid off. But it’s a bit melancholy, they’re no longer really our colleagues. Such a waste. These people have decades of experience in explaining Canada to the world.

Another bright spot, the Washington Post has discovered us, thanks in part to that video of Marc Montgomery, host of “The LInk”. The video shows him tearfully saying goodbye to the listeners. You can see it here. This is the human part of what we do, real radio, talking to people.

So we survived Day 002 – but it’s still hard to walk by the Russian Section’s area. They’re not there. I’m wondering, will we water their plants?

VIDEO: TV report on the last day of radio on Radio Canada International

As the last radio newscasts and last radio programmes were broadcast, a journalist from our national public television broadcaster Raffy Boudjikanian interviewed a number of us to give viewers an understanding of what had happened to us: we stopped being a radio station after 67 years on the air.

What can you do to help us restore Radio Canada International? Please go here:

Day 001 at the new (non-radio) Radio Canada International

The silence at Radio Canada International this morning was deafening.

Everywhere you looked, empty desks, silent studios, and the knowledge that we are now embarking on a road so very different from what we’ve ever known in the past. We have weathered innumerable cuts of people, programmes, language sections, finances. And we’ve survived, sometimes it seemed impossible that we could even imagine that we could go on. But we did. Now powers above us have taken away our soul, the core meaning of what we do. They’ve taken us off radio, and turned us into an on-line service, a service without any of our previous programming, designed to confirm the public relations needs of those who said Radio Canada International was being “transformed” not “destroyed”.

What you can do to help us, click here

Video of last RCI Russian programme

RCI’s Russian Section, was one of the services totally abolished by the 80% budget cut of Radio Canada International announced on April 4, 2012 by our national public radio and television broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada.

As the team reminisced about the service, the atmosphere was both melancholy and jovial.

В последней передаче RCI на русском языке сотрудники русской редакции вспоминают своих коллег и золотые времена Международного Канадского радио.


Tearful farewell to shortwave listeners from RCI host

Friday, June 22, 2012,  was the last day for the daily radio programs at Radio Canada International (RCI) as a result of the 80% budget, and the end of radio programming at Canada’s Voice to the World.

Among the goodbyes to listeners, the following one from Marc Montgomery, host of the English language daily show “The Link”. Click on the image to see the video:

Some photos of the last programs on Friday here

Chaos on RCI website on last shortwave weekend

"Not Found" is the message many are getting from RCI website this weekend

As Radio Canada International (RCI) broadcasts its last radio programming after 67 years as a broadcaster, the RCI website is in chaos. Apart from the home address no other web addresses for programs or audio links are working.

The only way to find the last programmes of all the services is to go to , enter the language service you want, and then look for the button “AUTRES SAISONS”. That takes you to an archive version of the site, and you should be able to find the latest program.

This change of the website, and the sloppy way that it’s being done, with no re-directs from links people usually use to listen to their favourite programmes is disturbing.

For shortwave listeners, as Kim Andrew Elliott pointed out, the shortwave schedule even in the archive version of the programme has already been taken off!

Last day for many at Radio Canada International, and Russian service

RCI's Russian Service Says Goodbye

It was the last day for many Radio Canada International employees today, June 22. The daily English program “The Link” and the daily French program “Tam Tam” broadcast their last editions today. And the teams for some of the pre-recorded weekend programs also signed off and said goodbye to listeners as RCI stops being a radio station.

A moving, and yet surprisingly jovial atmosphere, as the Russian team signed off both from radio and from being one of the services at RCI. It and the program for Brazil were among the services abolished as part of the 80% budget cut announced April 4, 2012. As well journalists gathered in the newsroom, as many signed off, turned off their computers, with only a few left for the weekend’s last newscasts.

As of June 25th, none of RCI’s programming will remain. Our presence will be limited to the website, and will reflect the few resources we have left.

We’ll have more photos tomorrow here and on our Facebook page, but in the meantime, a photo of our Russian team as they recorded their last edition of the show today.

UPDATE – June 23, 2012 – Some more photos of the last shows below. And soon, more photos of the last days.

Hector Vilar, Gilda Salomone, Cristane Hirata - last day for Brazil programme

Terry Haig (later he signed off Maple Leaf Mailbag) and Marc Montgomery doing the last edition of RCI's "The Link"

Raymond Desmarteau and national reporter Frank Rackow in last edition of RCI's "Tam Tam" French Service

RCI's Arabic Service saying goodbye to radio listeners

RCI's Spanish Service

One of the last radio programs from RCI's Chinese Service

Wojtek Gwiazda signing off on last edition of RCI's MASALA CANADA

BREAKING: Senator calls RCI cuts “reprehensible” and calls for inquiry

Less than an hour ago, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper published an article by journalist Chris Cobb titled: “Tory senator wants CBC called on carpet for slashing shortwave service”

The first paragraph reads:

Unless the CBC rethinks its “utterly reprehensible” decision to eliminate Radio Canada International’s shortwave service, its senior managers will be called to explain the decision to a special Senate inquiry, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal said Thursday.

Read the rest of the article here:

Pourquoi, Monsieur le Ministre?

Envoyé au Ministre du Patrimoine canadien, James Moore,  le 13 juin 2012 , texte source en anglais:

Monsieur l’honorable James Moore,
Il y a un peu plus de 24 heures nous avons appris au sein du Comité d’action de RCI que le 7 juin 2012 vous avez changé le décret en conseil qui dicte à CBC/Radio-Canada ses obligations en vertu de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et Radio Canada International.

Vous avez éliminé l’obligation de la SRC d’offrir une programmation sur les ondes courtes, privant ainsi presque tous les auditeurs chinois de nouvelles non censurées provenant du Canada, puisque l’accès au site web de RCI est bloqué par les autorités chinoises. Aussi, vous avez rendu impossible pour la plupart des auditeurs dans le monde de rester au courant de ce qui se passe au Canada via la radio, parce que la plupart des gens n’ont pas un accès facile à l’Internet.

Vous avez également supprimé l’obligation pour la SRC de consulter le ministère des Affaires étrangères sur la détermination des zones cibles géographiques et des langues de diffusions de Radio Canada

International. Ainsi, vous laissez CBC/Radio-Canada le champs libre pour sabrer sauvagement dans nos services offerts à l’Ukraine, à la Russie et au Brésil.

Vous avez fait tout cela après que pendant deux mois de la SRC se soit trouvée à contrevenir aux dispositions du décret en conseil de 2003 et alors que nous préparions une injonction pour arrêter la fermeture de nos émissions sur ondes courtes.

Vous avez ainsi ouvert la voie à la destruction par la SRC d’une institution de 67 ans. Une institution que CBC/Radio-Canada n’a jamais comprise. Elle ne comprend pas la radiodiffusion internationale et l’importance de celle-ci, ni l’impact de la réduction de 80% que vous lui permettez de décréter.

C’est ironique.
Les autorités chinoises bloquent le site web de RCI. Elles n’ont pas brouillé cependant les fréquences en ondes courtes de Radio Canada International. Donc, vous l’avez fait pour eux, en fermant l’accès à la programmation radio de la section chinoise de RCI.

Pourquoi avez-vous fait cela?

Wojtek Gwiazda
Porte-parole, Comité d’action de RCI

Comment mettre un stop à ces compressions?

Comment pouvez-vous mettre un stop à ces compressions de 80 % de Radio Canada International?

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