So Long, Farewell RCI

For those people who listen to shortwave radio, it is getting time for Radio Canada International to sign off permanently. Thanks to budget cuts, the international broadcaster is eliminating its shortwave and satellite radio programming on June 25th. The last broadcast will feature its listener feedback show, Maple Leaf Mailbag which is normally hosted by Ian Jones. As many listeners are doing, I am writing one last e-mail to one of the first broadcasters I have tuned to initally on shortwave back in November 1997. Below is my final letter…

Hello MLMB,

   Greetings from Memphis,TN, this is Chris Freitas who has now finished his journalism degree at the University of Memphis. I am saddened to hear that Radio Canada International is shutting down its shortwave and satellite services. Does this also mean that the station will end its streaming audio and podcast services as well? Several broadcasters have left or in the process of leaving the traditional radio business for good. Recently, Radio Netherlands Worldwide has decided to terminate all English broadcasts, including its online services. Do the powers that be realize that they are silencing the only voice to the rest of the world? I love internet radio as much as shortwave but there are still many people worldwide that lack of web access or even a computer. It seems very silly that those in charge of these stations, including RCI, would rather save a buck and lose their audience than staying on the air.

   Regardless, I have enjoyed listening to RCI since I first began listening to shortwave in 1997 on a Sears multiband radio. After reading an article in Boy’s Life magazine, Canada was one of the many voices I heard on the HF. If I recall, the frequency was 9740 kHz. Anywho, I really enjoying tuning to Maple Leaf Mailbag, especially when both of you guys were running the show. I realized that Ian has been the host since I have been a SWL. These past 15 years have been eventful to say the least.

   Should RCI end its web services, I can still listen to CBC for all things Canada but RCI will be missed dearly. After all, it was one of my first stations I ever listened to on shortwave. I am sad to see many great broadcasters are leaving the medium. Thankfully most of them are online and I still can listen to those voices, but it’s not quite the same as tuning in on a portable radio that doesn’t require a web connection. Internet radio doesn’t hold the joy of trying to find distant signals thousands of miles away from the point of origin. As the curtain closes at RCI, I will remember the fond times tuning in and listening to great stories from Canada to the world…to my home. It has been a friend that is always welcome. I wish everyone at RCI success in finding new employment and future endeavors.

   I also wish fellow listeners to not be discouraged about these developments in the HF bands and give internet radio a chance…should you have a internet connection. I am saddened that stations like RCI are leaving shortwave, but many are still alive and well on the worldwide web. After all, it is the content that really matters…not how it is being broadcast per se.


One thought on “So Long, Farewell RCI

  1. Chris I share your views and thoughts. I have been a listener from the 1960s when Radio Canada and the Northern Service was just only 50kW. It was not so easy in those days of domestic radio sets sans digital readout and all the conveniences of today’s Chinese digital portables which were just a dream those days to catch a signal like RCI regularly. The irony is today RCI is so easy to pick up and they are shutting down from a position of one of these 25 strongest signals on shortwave to be lost amongst a million radio stations on the web. Canada like Swiss Radio, Radio Sweden, RNW and DWRadio to mention a few will disappear and will be worth staying only as a toumbstone on the web. The people who have been faithful listeners might try the web once in a while if at all. Good bye to a good friend on the radio bands.

    I speak not as a hardcore dxer for whom SWRadio is a means of getting a QSL and ticking off a station, but one who listens to programmes. As a dxer, with the powerful broadcasters who have opted to lave, the spectrum will be clear of them and smaller stations and the exotic will remain like CKZN and even the many weekend pirates and soon the SWSpectrum should/must be open for amateur broadcasting. The SWDXING hobby shall go on, but for international radio listening and bonding with countries and cultures we will be the loser, even more those countries.

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