April 15, 1989: “Community Radio Awareness Day” on Radio-Gaspésie

Today, I’d like to share a lovely but somewhat unusual item from our archives, a tape I found in the late Willie Methot’s collection, courtesy of his wife Myrna. It features a 1989 broadcast on Radio-Gaspésie hosted by Chester Cotton (from the station’s former “English Hour” program), CBC Radio’s Louise Penney (now a world-renowned mystery author), and Cynthia (“Cindy”) Pilgrim visiting Gaspé from radio station CJAS based in Saint Augustine on the Lower North Shore. This is a live broadcast from the Royal Canadian Legion in Gaspé that followed a workshop about community radio given earlier in the day by Louise Penney. The event seems to have been part of an effort to attract more volunteer DJs and journalists from the English-speaking community into Radio-Gaspésie.

The broadcast begins with the hosts setting up a live radio link to station CJAS in Saint Augustine and its host Lindsey Durepos. We also hear briefly from DJ Tammy Adams who is back at the Radio-Gaspésie studio down the street. (Don’t be fooled, that’s actually Loretta Lynn singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” not Tammy backed by a local band of Edwin, Sandy Baird, and Louise Thibault!)

After the hosts finish setting up the radio link to the Lower North Shore, they introduce the local musicians who get up to perform. Between songs, you’ll hear interview segments with audience members and musicians. There are some real gems in here from well-known musicians and characters in the community, some who have now passed on. However, Willie Methot’s dub only captured about an hour of what was actually a much longer event. Although I later found a more complete copy on two separate cassettes, the radio reception was so weak and staticky that I couldn’t justify archiving it. And so many other musicians (including Willie Methot himself) who performed on this live broadcast unfortunately do not appear on the copy we have in the archives.

It’s been my policy to ask permission before sharing people’s music and voices from old recordings on this blog. However, there are so many people involved with this broadcast, I feel like I’d never be able to share it if I first tracked everyone down and got their permission. This isn’t the way I like to do things, but in the event that you think some part of the broadcast should be taken down, please let me know through a message or comment.

You may have noticed that recently, I sometimes invite readers to contribute feedback to questions I pose here on the blog. I’m doing research about these recordings for my PhD and I rely heavily on what people in the community tell me in order to figure out what I want to say. Anyhow, please know that I won’t use any comments you leave here or on Facebook in my research without asking your permission before doing so. Most of all, I just want people to enjoy the music and other audio I share through this blog, so don’t feel compelled to leave comment.

In any case, thinking about this tape, here are two things I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now:

  • What do you remember as you listen to this old broadcast? What does it make you think about and feel?
  • Is it worthwhile to preserve this broadcast in our archives? What do you hear in it that you think is important to preserve?
  • Is it worthwhile sharing this sort of stuff online through this blog? Or do you think it better to simply preserve it in the archives and let people find it on their own? Why?





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