Spending cuts announced in Canada's federal budget reached Radio Canada International on 4th April. Speaking to employees at RCI's headquarters in Montreal RCI director Helene Parent declared that two out of three RCI employees - about 40 people - will lose their jobs by the end of July. RCI's Russian and Portuguese sections will be closed along with the English and French-language newsrooms. All shortwave broadcasts will cease as well. RCI will continue to exist solely on the Internet in five languages - English, French, Arabic, Spanish and Mandarin.
Maple Leaf Mailbag, The Link and the news room will all be closed in a completely foolhardy cost-cutting exercise. This is a dreadful shame especially as the new schedule is on such a good time and frequency as opposed to the last winter schedule. The CBC and RCI powers that be are not seeing the bigger picture as they must mistakenly think their African audience (that shortwave was aimed at) can suddenly access their broadcasts online, which many people in Africa simply cannot. Like Radio Prague, Radio Sweden and some other ex-shortwave stations, I shall endeavour listen to them online as they are such a good station programme- wise, but it is of course never the same as hearing them on shortwave.
There is a website to try and curtail the cuts. The RCI Action Committee remind usthat it is the CBC that has imposed the cuts on RCI rather than the Canadian government. They are calling on the government to “step in, stop the cut, and protect RCI”
Read and act now at: http://rciaction.org/blog
Meanwhile, until the cuts kick in, Radio Canada International’s summer schedule in English is very promising for us UK fans of the station, with a return of the 2000 UTC (2100 BST) broadcast. This is usually a good time for me to be tuning in and I am sure I am not alone in thinking that. It’s one of four hours spread throughout the day. Starting at midnight UTC for an hour of English with Marc Montgomery, Ian Jones and friends on 11700kHz; then at 1500 to 1557 UTC on 11675 and 15125kHz; 1800 to 1859 UTC on 9530, 11765 and 17810 and a further hour from 2000 to 2059 UTC 15330, 15235 and 17735kHz. Do let the station, and me, know how you find reception. www.rcinet.ca