Montreal Radio Blog

Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting on iTunes

I’ve recently posted a couple of radio programs on iTunes, including Yesterday’s News. I procrastinated about it for a while because I thought it would be overly complicated. Over the past few weeks, I started looking into how to get an RSS feed up. After a bit of investigating, I decided to go with a podcast host that handled all the tech stuff for me. HTML is one thing, but I didn’t have the patience to take RSS lessons. The only thing I really had to take care of was creating images to go along with the feeds.

It took a few hours to set things up, but once all is up and running, the maintenance is no big deal. After sending iTunes the feed, I thought it might take a while to get it online. Surprisingly, it only took a couple of days for one and four for the other. You notice the difference in “hits” almost right away.

The topic of how traditional radio can compete with sites like iTunes has come up several times on this blog. And as you can clearly see by logging on to iTunes, there seems to be no limit to the amount of podcasts that originated as traditional radio programs. There are also plenty of podcasts that are in no way connected to conventional radio.

Whatever the future holds, the more choice you have, the better. The worst thing you can do is to not keep up with the times. Btw, here is the link to Yesterday's News.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

RCI Turns 66

We've just passed the 66th anniversary of the launch of Canada's shortwave service. Radio Canada International first started broadcasting on February 25th, 1945. Originally, it was known as the CBC International Service or “Voice of Canada“. The service was launched as the Second World War was drawing to a close. In the beginning, it was meant to keep Canadian military personnel in touch with Canada.

After the war ended, the mandate would become focused on spreading news, information and entertainment from and about Canada throughout the world. This was done in many languages. Like most western broadcasters, RCI would pump their content into the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. What would become RCI also broadcast events from Expo '67 to the rest of the world. Of course, shortwave listening was more widespread in western countries in those days than it is now.

The service is based in Montreal, which makes it about the only branch of the CBC aside from Radio Canada that is based here. It has faced a number of budget cuts over the years, as radio enthusiasts are probably well aware. It's not unique to Canada though, as we have recently seen with the announcement coming from the BBC. Budget cuts over the years have resulted in cutting back many foreign language broadcasts.

RCI currently broadcasts in 7 languages: Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic and Portuguese. RCI’s only transmitter is located in Sackville New Brunswick. The service can also be heard on satellite and of course online.

What does the future hold in store for RCI and other shortwave services? Hard to say, but these broadcasts are favourite targets for budget cuts, as mentioned above. That will probably remain the case for the foreseeable future. New media is seen as a better way to deliver content to far away places. However, realistic access to digital technology is still not within reach of a high percentage of the world's population.