On the last day of radio programming at RCI on June 24, 2012, some of the newsreaders and host/producers ended their last broadcasts and then shared their reflections on Radio Canada International in this series of five videos.
It was an emotional day. All were professional, but clearly devoted to our international service and its tradition of 67 years of presenting Canada to the world.
Canada’s international radio service started officially on February 25, 1945 with an address by Canada’s Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, followed by Justice Minister Louis St-Laurent (in French) and then by Howard B. Chase, chairman of the CBC board of governors:
With its shortwave towers in Sackville, New Brunswick, the CBC International Service (as it was called then) would provide Canadians and foreign listeners with news, information, and music from Canada. For more details and audio, please go to the archives of our national public radio and TV broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada here.
On June 24, 2012, more than 67 years after the first broadcast, Radio Canada International broadcast its last radio programmes, and went to a a web-only Internet service.
It’s really hard to know what to say. We’ve been working so hard these last few days at Radio Canada International, to hang on to our listeners with so few resources, even though many are not there, because of the end our our radio programming on shortwave on June 24, 2012.
And now, for four days we have no audio on our web-only non-radio website! What’s next?
What you can do: help us restore the budget of Radio Canada International which was cut by 80%, help us get back on shortwave radio, so that millions of listeners can be in touch with Canada once again.http://rciaction.org/blog/what-you-can-do/
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.
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.
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?
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.
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”.
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.
"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 www.rcinet.ca 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 http://www.rcinet.ca , 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!