Radio Canada International no longer on radio
June 25, 2012 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Due to budget cuts, CBC's Radio Canada International has ceased broadcasting on shortwave; it is now Internet-only and therefore blocked by authoritarian regimes around the world. Mark Montgomery is somewhat emotional about being the last voice on the air
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 (35 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
What? I can't believe that this passed silently. How is the news full of collapsing malls and dead turtles when one of the most important turning points in modern Canadian media is happening right in front of us?
posted by 256 at 7:15 PM on June 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


But Radio Australia still survives (at least until the next election...), although the government did shut down one of their big transmistters that broadcasts into Asia, and leased it to the fundies.
posted by Jimbob at 7:30 PM on June 25, 2012


Goddamn. I have such fond memories of tuning in to CBC on my homemade crystal radio when I was a kid.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:34 PM on June 25, 2012


This combined with the cut backs at the BBC World Service is doing the world a great disservice. Why is there a not a huge uproar about this?
posted by arcticseal at 7:37 PM on June 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why is it that sometimes the cumulative financial crises which are besetting the world seem to feel like the foreplanned long game that fucked up authoritarians are playing in order to undo much of the supposedly "liberal" policies and services which were established during the first bit of the last century?
posted by hippybear at 7:56 PM on June 25, 2012 [38 favorites]


Oh, Canada.


/hippybear, meet Naomi Klein, (a Canadian)

posted by benito.strauss at 7:59 PM on June 25, 2012


Yeah, the 34 cents a year each taxpayer contributed to RCI wouldn't buy a postage stamp these days. But we have to have those overpriced fighter jets and massive prisons.

We also lost Dispatches, a damn fine show focusing on international topics large and small. You may as well catch up with it on the web site until those shows disappear in about a year.
posted by maudlin at 8:08 PM on June 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


I wonder if it's just because of the web re-broadcast, or did the shortwave version also cut off right in the middle of a sentence.

Because I was getting a little choked up in sympathy, and was anticipating the fuzz-out I sometimes hear when a college radio station goes off the air late at night (like during summer, when there aren't enough students around to run 24 hours a day). That sound, like the click-then-dial-tone you hear when the other end of the line hangs up a phone, are just artifacts of technology, but can hold such sadness, such longing. I kinda wanted to hear that.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:11 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would very much like to know the value of a single one of those damned fighter jets denominated in RCI listeners. Or sacked CBC employees. Or cancelled programmes.
posted by ~ at 8:15 PM on June 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I spent a wretched winter in Omika, a dusty, windblown suburb of Hitachi in Ibaraki that is only nominally worsened these days by a residue of nuclear fallout, existing on low pay and cup noodles. This was really pre-internet, and I didn't have enough money to afford a tv, let along cable.

The only thing that kept me going was my beloved Halpern Kanji-English dictionary and my short wave radio.

RIP.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:21 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


the click-then-dial-tone you hear when the other end of the line hangs up a phone

That actually never existed. Or rather, if it did happen, it was because you kept your receiver off the hook for a very long time and the switch reset itself, but even that is an anomaly and isn't how the phone system was programmed to work.

It's one of those things which happens in movies as a sound effect cue to help the audience understand what has happened. But in real life, it basically never existed.

/derail
posted by hippybear at 8:22 PM on June 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I heard the end of Mark Montgomery's sign-off when they rebroadcast it on As It Happens this evening, and to be honest my first thought was 'oh my god, Jeff Douglas has hit a new low'.
posted by Flashman at 8:30 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding the sad. BBC North America and now Radio Canada. Funny how NPR stations in my area seem to pick up BBC and more Radio Canada programming recently. Shortwave will just be the missionary broadcasting network soon.
posted by drowsy at 8:36 PM on June 25, 2012


List of CBC cuts

List of Radio-Canada cuts (French)

Translated summary of things not covered in the Star article: Also, tangentially related are are the cuts to the NFB at the same time.
posted by frimble at 8:37 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I listen to Espace Musique when I drive through eastern Maine. Their programming, compared to the Clear Channel crap that we've got on the US side of the border, makes Americans look like a bunch of cretinous morlocks.
I was so sad as I drove back toward home and the signal slowly faded, to be replaced by someone ranting about Jesus.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:44 PM on June 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


.
posted by dustyasymptotes at 9:10 PM on June 25, 2012


Why is it that sometimes the cumulative financial crises which are besetting the world seem to feel like the foreplanned long game that fucked up authoritarians are playing in order to undo much of the supposedly "liberal" policies and services which were established during the first bit of the last century?

Because most people would rather see every cock-up as a conspiracy. It's always easier to sheet home the blame for the problems of the day to an easily identified minority than to acknowledge one's own (often dilute) contribution to them.

There is no pre-planned "long game" here. All there is, is opportunistic short-term advantage taken by economically rational actors operating within a trading system that inherently allocates scarce resources preferentially to the wealthiest participants.

Any free market is susceptible to positive feedback loops of wealth concentration. You don't need a "long game" to make that happen. All you need is for most people to see extreme wealth as something to aspire to rather than the destructive social force that sociological research clearly demonstrates it to be.

In a society where "bettering oneself" is generally held to be a healthy thing to want, and where "better" more often translates as "wealthier" than as "kinder" or "wiser", people who identify wealth concentration as a problem worth making structural changes to deal with are always going to be viewed with suspicion and/or scorn. Mechanisms that operate to redistribute wealth, such as progressive taxation and universal healthcare, will be vigorously resisted.

The interesting thing is that most of this resistance comes not from the 1% themselves, but from their far more numerous ideological fellow travelers. Engels called this "false consciousness". I'm more inclined to sympathy with the War Nerd's analysis.
posted by flabdablet at 9:19 PM on June 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


'oh my god, Jeff Douglas has hit a new low'.

Man I sure miss Mary Lou Finlay and Barbara Budd. I used to always enjoy listening to that show in the evenings. Now I just want to punch Jeff Douglas in the nuts through the radio.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:36 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I wish I had not Googled more about Jeff Douglas... It's just depressing:

Douglas had been an occasional guest host and replaces longtime co-host Barbara Budd, who left in April after 17 years on the air.

At the time, CBC said it was not renewing her contract because it wanted to focus on hosts who were also journalists.

Douglas is probably best known to Canadians as “Joe Canadian” from the “I am Canadian” campaign.


As I recall, Carol Off didn't even bother to say good-bye to Barbara Budd when she got fired.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:43 PM on June 25, 2012


Now I just want to punch Jeff Douglas in the nuts through the radio.

I don't think you're alone. There's a fundraising idea! Now how much would you pay to do something awful to Stuart McLean? Bonus: Stuart McLean reads ransom notes.
posted by maudlin at 9:44 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why is it that sometimes the cumulative financial crises which are besetting the world seem to feel like the foreplanned long game that fucked up authoritarians are playing in order to undo much of the supposedly "liberal" policies and services which were established during the first bit of the last century? enslave humanity??

Or maybe I just have a bad case of the Mondays.
posted by LordSludge at 10:45 PM on June 25, 2012


"That actually never existed. Or rather, if it did happen, it was because you kept your receiver off the hook for a very long time and the switch reset itself, but even that is an anomaly and isn't how the phone system was programmed to work.

"It's one of those things which happens in movies as a sound effect cue to help the audience understand what has happened. But in real life, it basically never existed."


No. It happens (happened? the system may work differently now) to the called party when the caller (person who initiated the call) hangs up and the called party remains on the line. In contrast, when the called party hangs up and the caller remains on the line, it takes about twenty seconds for the system to disconnect the call.

And the system was intended to work that way. In both cases, the connection is (immediately or eventually) disconnected but, subsequently, the substation detects the low resistance and sends the dial-tone like it is supposed to.

I don't recall the reason for the asymmetry but it's probably because maintenance control of the connection originates from the origin and not the destination so an origin disconnect is authoritative while a destination disconnect is not. During the period after the destination disconnects but before the call is ended, the destination can pick up the phone and continue the call. That's why occasionally in this situation the called party will hang up, and before you (the caller) can hang up (for whatever reason — maybe the other person hung-up on you unexpectedly) the other person will pick their phone back up and start dialing, which will confuse the hell out of them if they never noticed the lack of dialtone and be awkward for you.

Finally, the world is a very big place and non-North American phone systems did and do work variously differently.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:49 AM on June 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Their programming, compared to the Clear Channel crap that we've got on the US side of the border, makes Americans look like a bunch of cretinous morlocks.

Closing up the cretinous morlock gap has been a key issue of the Harper government.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:44 AM on June 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Given the overabundance of Sad and Bad Feelings inside me when I contemplate Heritage Minister James Moore's sucker punch to the CBC, I just had to create a sock puppet account to get this off my chest:

You know those university students who spend their time smirking at the back of the classroom? Who think they're smarter than the other students, and smarter than the professor? And take every opportunity to communicate this through assholish behaviour and comments? Well, I can report first-hand that James Moore was one of those students, because I taught him. He was sneering and argumentative in class. He handed in Rush Limbaugh-style essays full of bombastic, illogical arguments. He was such a horrible person to have to teach that a few years later, when I opened up the newspaper to discover that he was running for MP in a riding near me, I was able to remember him from my classroom with perfect clarity and horror. And then, much to my dismay, he won his riding. And then he rose through the ranks, and lo and behold became one of Stephen Harper's darlings, and NOW HE IS THE FUCKING HERITAGE MINISTER.

I am sure that people can change, and I am also willing to say that he is now probably less of a snotty, immature jerk than he was when I taught him. But given the evidence of the policies he supports, the decisions he makes, and the company he keeps, I still do not think very highly of him. And every time I see his smug face on the news, I remember how horribly he behaved in class, and the awful, stupid things that he wrote in his papers and I despair that he has risen to this position of power.
posted by Secret Sockdentity at 2:45 AM on June 26, 2012 [40 favorites]


.
posted by dng at 4:15 AM on June 26, 2012


An honest question, how effective were the broadcasts? Were they actually being listened to by people inside authoritarian regimes?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:33 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Radio Netherlands Worldwide wil also be closing due to budget cuts.
posted by Pendragon at 5:44 AM on June 26, 2012


If this keeps up, pretty soon the World Radio Network will fold.
posted by hippybear at 5:58 AM on June 26, 2012


I miss my socialist country.

.
posted by mrgroweler at 6:15 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


There can be only one.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:00 AM on June 26, 2012


I live in Berlin. I bought a shortwave radio. The signal wasn't great but I hoped that one of these nights I'd get lucky with the ionosphere and pick up CBC. A tenuous connection to my home.

Dear Prime Minister Harper, and MPs of the Conservative Party of Canada,

For this and so much more: fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.
posted by sixohsix at 8:46 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


An honest question, how effective were the broadcasts? Were they actually being listened to by people inside authoritarian regimes?

I am Canadian and I would have loved to listen to RCI when I was living and working in Vietnam. I couldn't get RCI, but I loved to listen to the BBC and to a lesser extent Voice Of America.

It was very nice to get substantive news in a region where the only English media was very cheery and strictly government controlled. RCI was not perfect, but it generally did put Canada's best foot forward in terms of arts and culture and fair reporting.

I really worry about how Canada will be perceived in places like Saharan Africa, with RCI gone and the number of teachers, nurses and International Development workers that have been cut. We could have a great International Development worker program and shortwave service for the cost of two missiles on those "Next Generation" fighter planes.
posted by Intrepid at 10:39 AM on June 26, 2012


How many of your Vietnamese neighbors listened to the BBC and VOA broadcasts?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:25 AM on June 26, 2012


How many of your Vietnamese neighbors listened to the BBC and VOA broadcasts?

I have no idea but the receivers were widely available, everyone knew how to make good antennas and quite often if I mentioned some news item people I heard on those stations people were conversant on it.

Both were widely used by people trying to learn English. VOA used simple English and was very beneficial as a teaching aid.
posted by Intrepid at 11:31 AM on June 26, 2012


Sad. CBC radio was NPR long before NPR and set a NA quality standard never bested (CBC TV as well). Thanks, Canada, and we'll get past this.
posted by Twang at 2:47 PM on June 26, 2012


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