RCI The Link

There’s a CBC Radio secret that night people in Canada know about.  Radio Canada The Link RCI logo with Marc MontgomeryInternational’s The Link, produced in Montreal, airs from 2 to 3 a.m. Monday to Friday on CBC Radio One.  It is available in podcasts, but is not replayed in any other time slot, unlike all other programmes on CBC Radio these days.

I’ve thought that it was unfortunate that the show is not better publicized. Yet, at the same time, I liked having this listening clockradio showing 2:05 ampleasure shared only with what I imagined to be a select few insomniacs, night people and graveyard shift workers.  You get to know some of them through their letters, voice messages and emails – from Canada, England, Sweden and elsewhere.  Yes, it’s RCI so it broadcasts on short wave and satellite.  You could call it the Voice of Canada Around the World.

RCI is gone from air

As of June, that Voice will be silenced.  That includes The Link and all other RCI radio programming.  CBC’s first act after the 10% RCI building in Tantramar Marsh NB 2009funding cut in Harper’s 2012 budget was to cut RCI.  Instead of radio programmes, the skeleton that remains of RCI will create web-based programming.  That’s fine for thems in Africa and Asia and elsewhere that have internet access.  Not so good for the many who have only a transistor radio with shortwave capacity.  Oh well, they’ll still have Radio Netherlands, Radio Australia, Radio Sweden, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, BBC World Service and every other country’s international broadcasting to listen to.  But they won’t hear from Canada.

Showing Canada to Canadians too

You don’t have to be outside Canada to enjoy The Link.  But because it is produced with an overseas audience in mind, you learn a lot about parts of our country and society not covered by other Canadian media.

Until June 2011, it was 2 hours nightly.  A drop in revenue shortened it.  The new format cut one of my favourite features. ESL teachers who presented common linguistic The Link team in their studio from facebookerrors or grammatical anomalies for non-native English speakers.  Even being a native speaker, I found them fun and indeed helpful.

The sports report continued, thank heavens.  Whether it’s Ian Jones or Terry Haig in the studio, you get 5 very funny minutes packed with information on sports rarely covered by other Canadian broadcasts. Ones like soccer, cricket, rugby and cross-country skiing.  You don’t even have to actually like cricket to like their reports on it.  They also give interesting takes on hockey and other mainstream Canadian sports and athletes.  Besides Stephen Colbert’s ‘spor repor’, The Link’s is the only sports news that I want to hear.

Tam-tam Canada RCI logo with Raymond DesmarteauAnother great segment is the Friday visits by Raymond Desmarteau, host of RCI’s French-language Tam-tam Canada.  He shares the music of a French-Canadian artist with the Anglophone audience of The Link.  In turn, The Link’s host Marc Montgomery visits Desmarteau’s programme to introduce an English-Canadian musician to Francophone listeners.

RCI logoOnly in Canada, eh?  As of June 26th, it won’t be in Canada or anywhere else.  Truly a pity.

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3 thoughts on “RCI The Link”

  1. From Keith Earl (May 12/12): I am really angry to learn of Federal cutbacks that will see to the demise of The Link. I work nights and on my way home driving my car always listen to your program. Is there anything we do prevent the end of this show? I feel if the Link goes off the air a part of Canada will be lost.

    Reply from Dorothy: Hi Keith, I’ve heard them say on the show to write or call the government – your MP, the Prime Minister and anyone you can think of. Last night they were talking about short wave as “soft diplomacy” so it might be worth pressuring Foreign Affairs to put money into it. They did so in the 1990s apparently.

    Also I would think writing to the head of CBC itself might help. It was CBC’s decision to cut RCI as a way of dealing with the cuts. They could have cut something else.

    I think they could cut Radio 2 entirely and nobody would even notice. They’ve already destroyed it by changing it from classical to who knows what. Cutting it would just mean they wouldn’t need to rerun programmes on Radio One so often. With both of them on FM, Radio Two as it is has no purpose at all.

    I’m not sure if your comment went to The Link’s Facebook page. I had just put a source note on the photo I used. Here’s The Link’s FB page. I too hope it can be kept, but if it became part of the main CBC I don’t know if it would be allowed to stay as it is. Tinkering from the big Toronto building – a scary thought!

  2. I, too, am really really disappointed to be losing this show. I live in Toronto, and I’m one of those select few insomiacs who like to listen to intelligent radio. What a shame to lose this program and I’m sorry to lose “Dispatches” on Radio One. I am disappointed by the goverment cuts and the management decisions that have led to these decisions. We will miss the shows, and we won’t forget what led to these decisions. I sure hope people remember at the next election …

    1. Hi Val, yes, the cuts were bad enough but I too don’t understand why CBC chose to cut the programming it did. I also am sorry to lose Dispatches – an interesting and different look at the world. I can think of some, likely more expensive, programmes that I wouldn’t be sorry to see go! And cutting drama – that’s just so sad. It seems like management is finishing the job that the government started, of killing CBC Radio. Thanks for writing, and I’ll think of you when I’m listening to The Link.

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