Thanks, Jason! Yes, you might have heard about Spectres of Shortwave here as I’ve been posting updates on the SWLing Post since 2013! I’m very happy to see the film nearing completion. Since my wife has worked in film production, I’m well aware of the enormous amount of time and effort it takes to produce a documentary on a shoestring budget.
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.”
The transmitter building of Radio Canada International, Sackville, NB.
I spent the summer of 2012 in an off-grid cabin on the eastern coast of Prince Edward Island, Canada. That summer, I listened as two of my favorite shortwave broadcasters left the air within weeks of each other: Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Radio Canada International.
Ironically, though I was only a geographic stone’s-throw from the RCI Sackville transmitter site, I struggled to hear any Sackville signals as my location was too close for skywave propagation and a little too far for ground wave. Though I paid a visit to the transmitter site only two days prior, I was unable to hear or record RCI’s final broadcast.
Unlike RNW’s final broadcasts, RCI’s ended without fanfare and quite abruptly. This week, I heard a recording of that final RCI broadcast for the first time. My friend, Rajdeep Das, recorded it on June 24, 2012 in Kolkata, India. Rajdeep has kindly shared his recording with the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive and here on the SWLing Post.
This is a short 10 minute recording, beginning at 1550 UTC, June 24, 2012 on 11,675 kHz. Listeners will note that the broadcast ends abruptly during the mailbag program–obviously the Sackville transmitters were turned off prematurely.
The transmitter building of Radio Canada International, Sackville, NB (June, 2012).
We recently noted that Radio Canada International (RCI) celebrated its 70th year anniversary. While it was certainly an amazing milestone–dating back to WWII–it was a bittersweet celebration for some. Check out this article on the RCI Action blog:
“The flood of wonderful memories, fueled by the old and not so old photos of Radio Canada International’s 70 years, is now, as I write this, suddenly mixed with regret, lost opportunities, and missing colleagues.
In a way I dreaded this anniversary, not knowing how to deal with this important milestone.
RCI has survived all these years since its first broadcast on February 25, 1945, as Canada’s Voice to the World. But now, almost three years after an 80% budget cut that took us off shortwave radio, cutting us off from our listeners, how do you celebrate? How do you not look with some exasperation, regretfully, wistfully, at how little people, even colleagues, know about RCI’s proud achievements, and its path-breaking innovations?
The contradictions of how some viewed us and the reality is almost too much to bear. People say we used outdated technology, weren’t moving with the times, and no longer needed to explain Canada to the world.
“In February 1945, the “Voice of Canada” spoke to the world for the first time. The CBC International Service was founded to broadcast to Canadian Forces overseas in the Second World War. At war’s end the radio service focused on telling the world about Canada in over a dozen languages. Despite budget cuts and critics who accused it of employing communists or operating as a government mouthpiece, the service now called Radio Canada International has persevered. CBC Archives looks back on RCI’s six decades on shortwave.”
Based on this recording, I believe RCI used the same version of O Canada until their very last days as a shortwave broadcaster.