Tag Archives: Radio Canada International

Spectres of Shortwave: near completion

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I took this photo of the RCI Sackville curtain antennas in June, 2012. (Photo: Thomas)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares this CBC New Brunswick article about Amanda Dawn Christie’s film, Spectres of Shortwave:

(Source: CBC)

Amanda Dawn Christie launching documentary about demise of RCI towers

Documentary ‘Spectres of Shortwave’ to be finished in time for possible premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs

Moncton artist Amanda Dawn Christie says after six years, her documentary Spectres of Shortwave, about the demise of the Radio-Canada International towers in Sackville, is nearly complete.

“A project like this is very hard,” Christie said in an interview on Information Morning Moncton. “When I went into this project they weren’t supposed to be tearing the towers down.”

After budget cuts in 2012, CBC announced the shortwave service would end after 67 years of broadcasting around the world.

Christie calls that decision a loss for the international community.

“Shortwave communication is something that will always get through. Even though technology advances and people rely on the internet — not everyone can afford a computer or digital receiver … Canada was known for more objective, non-biased broadcasting.”

Continue reading on the CBC New Brunswick website…

1989 RCI Christmas Special: a studio recording

UK-DXer-RCI-QSLMany thanks to Colin Newell who writes:

Over on the DXer.ca homepage I have a 32kbps MP3 recording on a CBC RCI broadcast that has not been heard since December 1989! A 1 hour program from the Reel-Reel master that Ian McFarland owns.

Head on over – download for free –

And Merry Christmas!

What a great early Christmas gift for those of us who miss the Ian McFarland days of RCI.  Thank you, Colin!

Click here to visit DXer.ca.

William Westenhaver, RIP

UK-DXer-RCI-QSL

Sheldon Harvey kindly posted the following notice regarding William (Bill) Westenhaver on the NASWA Winter SWL Fest Facebook group:

I’m sad to report the passing this week of a person well known within the radio hobby community, William (Bill) Westenhaver.

A native of Angola, Indiana, Bill moved to Montreal in the late 1960s, where he spent the rest of his life. An avid shortwave listener, DXer and QSL collector, Bill was an active member of several radio clubs including CIDX and Speedx. He was a participant in numerous ANARC conventions and Winter SWL Festivals.

Bill took a job with Radio Canada International, working in the Audience Relations department. One of his principal duties was issuing RCI QSL cards for reception reports received from around the world. Bill went on to other duties within the CBC/Radio-Canada headquarters in Montreal.

Bill was an active member of the Coalition to Restore RCI Funding and the RCI Action Group, the ad hoc groups that worked tirelessly to restore and/or retain the services of Radio Canada International on shortwave.

Bill was also the original co-host of The International Radio Report, with Sheldon Harvey, on CKUT-FM in Montreal. He also worked on a number of other programs on CKUT over the years.

Bill passed away earlier this week here in Montreal. We extend our condolences to all of his family and friends. He will be fondly remember throughout the radio community.

Sheldon Harvey

RCI’s The Link also posted the following message:

All members of RCI are mourning the sudden loss this week of William Westenhaver Bill was an integral member of the RCI team for years, handling our mail and prize mailouts, as well as participating in a number of shows over several years, especially on the various iterations of the “mailbag” shows. Bill adored shortwave radio, and with the budget [cuts], found work in another department of Radio Canada, but stayed in touch with many of us, always with a smile and friendly word in the hallways of this big building. We shall miss him dearly.

I never met Bill in person, but I communicated with him many times. He received my reception reports, issued QSL cards, and set up a couple of interviews on RCI.

If you’ve ever requested a QSL from RCI, Bill was most likely the fellow who issued your cards. Bill was an incredibly friendly and helpful fellow.

I’m also forever grateful for his help in securing a special guided tour of the RCI Sackville transmitter site–only months before it was closed.

Many thanks, Sheldon, for sharing your memories–condolences to his family and many friends.

Update: RCI recently posted this memorial page for Bill.

Tom’s 1981 off-air recording of RCI’s Shortwave Listener’s Digest hosted by Ian McFarland

I snapped a photo of this propagation poster in RCI's Sackville, NB transmitter site only months befor ethe site was closed.

A propagation poster in the foyer of RCI’s Sackville, NB, transmitter site only months before the site was closed. (Photo: Thomas Witherspoon) 

Tom Laskowski, has been generously contributing a number of off-air shortwave radio recordings to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA).

Recently, he shared a series I’m sure many of you remember. Tom writes:

My first contribution of many recordings I have of Radio Canada International’s Shortwave Listener’s Digest hosted by Ian McFarland.”

“The first 12 1/2 minutes is Bonsoir Africa. The recording was made using a cheap GE portable. The audio quality isn’t great but it’s still very nostalgic listening to a program I recorded 34 years ago.”

This brings back many memories of one of my favorite shortwave programs–thank you, Tom!

The audio quality actually reminds me of one of my first analog portables, Tom! Nostalgia at its best.

Check out all Tom’s SRAA contributions by clicking here. While you’re at it, bookmark the SRAA!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: RCI, BBC, VOA circa 1979 & 1981

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Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who shares the following recording and notes:

A few snippets from my old shortwave tapes that were too short to upload individually. These were made using a GE portable multi band that had poor selectivity, hence the annoying ute during the BBC clip.

Times of individual clips are:

  • 00:00 – 01:59: 1979, July 19 – RCI, frequency announcements in English and french.
  • 01:59 – 09:51: 1979, July 20 – BBC, newscast, bothered by an annoying utility station.
  • 09:51 – 11:38: 1981, August 28 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2
  • 11:38 – 14:52: 1981, August 29 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below: