Tag Archives: CBC Cuts

The Link talks about the politics of saving RCI

On Friday’s edition of The Link, Mark Montgomery spoke with Amanda Pfeffer about how international radio is being cut around the world and, more specifically, Canada. They discuss how this happened, who is aware of it and if there is any way to save the service.

It’s an informative segment (though see my correction below).

Since this is one of several features in the show, I’ve recorded this specific segment and posted it for listening below.

You can also listen to the segment by downloading the mp3 here.

Please note that Amanda is a little mis-leading about the bureaucratic structure of US international broadcasting. It is rather confusing.

The BBG (Broadcasting Board of Governors) is the governing body of US international Broadcasting. The IBB (International Broadcasting Bureau) is over all of the broadcast/transmission facilities, engineering functions, human resources, finances and other agency support services. To be clear, the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, Radio Marti and the Middle East Broadcasting Network all take direction from the BBG, not the IBB.

The organizational chart (below) can shed some light on this.

The BBG Organizational Chart as of May 2012 (Click to enlarge)

The Toronto Star publishes my thoughts on the cuts to Radio Canada International

As many of you know, I find the downsizing of major shortwave broadcasters around the world deeply concerning, especially since so much of the world still relies on the medium as a source of news and information, and for some the only source of potentially life-saving information.

The recent cuts to RCI, however, were particularly painful. In one stroke of a pen, many people lost their jobs, and RCI’s already-skimpy budget was reduced to virtually nil. What’s more, their only international transmitting station–in Sackville, New Brunswick–is slated to be shut down, meaning there is no intention to continue the service, ever.

The Toronto Star has kindly published my thoughts on the matter.  You can read the full article here.

 

RCI Cuts: pink slips – no clear strategy for Internet

(Source: RCI Action)

April 25, 2012:

Facing the reality of job cuts in any workplace is hard enough. When you’re an employee at Radio Canada International – it’s more than a job. It’s more than just a job loss.

Most of us have worked several decades for RCI. It may be an  under appreciated service in Canada. But in the last few weeks, since the April 4 announcement that we would be cut by 80% and stop being a radio station, listeners around the world have rallied to our cause to stop the cuts. They have also told us how much they appreciate what we do, and are astonished that our national public radio and television broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada would hit us with such a huge budget cut, much more then any other service under their control.

Strangely, even when we say an 80% per cent budget cut, it sounds sort of theoretical. When the letter is given to you that you no longer have a job, that your decades of service to Canada’s Voice to the World are redundant, well, that’s something else.

Today that happened to most of us.

About 15 permanent staff have been told they still have a job, 30 have been told they don’t. Three contractual webmasters will remain, but about 10 to 20 contractual employees (researchers, interviewers, hosts) will lose their jobs. Another 10 or 20 people who fill in for staff will have little or no work.

More importantly to us RCI has been almost made to disappear, no more radio programs, just a website, that is yet to be conceived, with little support. How much three employees in each of the five language services: English, French, Arabic, Mandarin and Spanish can do, even with the best of intentions, remains to be seen.

Management is saying we’ll be putting up text, photos, audio, maybe even video. But details are scarce. In fact, that’s the most surprising thing of all. There’s little information on how the website will look or function, there’s no real lead up time to prepare it, we’ll all be busy doing are regular programming until June 24. Then the new website is supposed to be up and running and those of us left, will have to somehow magically make it work.

[…]Next week we are promised a blueprint of the new RCI. Today it’s hard to believe in that future.

I will be very interested to see the blueprint for RCI’s internet future.  Frankly, it will need a strategy to delineate itself from the hundreds of thousands of well-established Internet media sources out there.

RCI listener comments carry common theme

On RCI’s Listener Letters and the RCI Action committee‘s website, you can read listener reactions to the looming RCI cuts.

To their credit, I’ve noticed that RCI programs (like The Link with Marc Montgomery) are continuing “business as usual.” I’ve noticed no degradation of their content or quality.

RCI Action Committee: What you can do

(Source: RCI Action)

How can you help?

How can you help stop this drastic cut of 80% of Radio Canada International’s budget?

Please write to Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore.  (See addresses below.) If they are your Member of Parliament, please mention that as well.

Ask whether CBC/Radio-Canada should be deciding how strong or weak Canada’s Voice to the World should be?

Whether they feel comfortable with the fact our Chinese audience will now be cut off from RCI’s uncensored news about Canada and the World.

We feel because of the continuing cuts to RCI since 1990 (See: http://rciaction.org/blog), the government should give RCI financial autonomy and take RCI’s budget away from CBC/Radio-Canada’s control.

If you agree with us, please make your point of view heard.

We have very little time to achieve our goal. We’re counting on you.

Some points you might want to bring up with the ministers or your Member of Parliament:

  • RCI’s budget has been cut by more than 80% – from $12.3 million to $2.3 million
  • RCI newsroom will be eliminated, all newscasts cut
  • RCI will no longer be a broadcaster, whether on shortwave or satellite
  • Chinese audience will be cut off from uncensored news from RCI because only shortwave reaches the Chinese, the RCI website is blocked by China
  • Important potential trading partners such as China, India, Russia, Brazil will be cut off from news from Canada, because the RCI website is blocked or the Internet not as accessible as in North America
  • As Canadians we feel it’s essential Canada have a Voice to the World producing programming tailored for an audience not familiar with Canada
  • Canada’s Voice to the World has been a respected source of journalism for the past 67 years

Please consider sending an e-mail to the three ministers, even if you live outside Canada. If you are in Canada, you can send letters free to the ministers, MPs and Senators.

Thank you,

RCI Action Committee

rciaction@yahoo.ca

http://twitter.com/rci_action   http://rciaction.org/blog

Addresses:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird  E-mail: john.baird@parl.gc.ca

Mailing address:

Hon. John Baird
418N Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

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Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty:  E-mail: jim.flaherty@parl.gc.ca

Mailing address:

Hon. Jim Flaherty
435-S Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

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Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore E-mail: james.moore@parl.gc.ca

Mailing address:

Hon. James Moore
15 Eddy Street, 12th Floor
House of Commons
Gatineau, QC K1A 0M5

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You’ll find e-mail and mailing addresses of all Members of Parliament here:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E

You’ll find e-mail and mailing addresses for all Senators here:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/SenatorsMembers/Senate/SenatorsBiography/ISenator.asp?Language=E