Microphone, CHNC Radio Station - 1930s

Microphone, CHNC Radio Station
Organization: Heritage New Carlisle
Coordinates: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Centre-culturel-et-dinterprétation-Kempffer
Address: Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre, 125, boulevard Gérard-D.-Lévesque, C.P 444, New Carlisle QC G0C 1Z0
Region: Gaspé – Magdalen Islands
Contact: Félixe Waalwijk, heritagenc(a)globetrotter.net
Description: Western Electric No. 618A Moving Coil Microphone at theCHNC Radio Station in New Carlisle, Quebec, used in the 1930s.
Year made: Early 1930s
Made by: Metal microphone head manufacturers stamp; “Western Electric No. 618A No. 1372”; Wooden base “Hand crafted by Tsan Paulus Qc.”
Materials/Medium: Microphone base: wood, CHNC logo and microphone: Bakelite; metal
Colours: Black, white
Provenance: Microphone - Kansas City; Base and logo - Quebec
Size: 41 cm
Photos: Louis-Philippe Cusson. Courtesy Heritage New Carlisle

Radio Microphone

Jacqueline Hyman and Félixe Waalwijk

Maintaining the identity and vibrancy of the varied and widespread English-speaking communities in Quebec is dependent on communication. Keeping in touch with friends and family, sharing stories about the reality of living as English-speakers in Quebec, transporting goods and services and most importantly information, are all crucial to connecting English-speaking communities to each other and to the wider world, and to developing their potential.

Most of us would recognize the role of the CBC and its affiliates in the Province of Quebec in this regard. Linking English-speaking communities in the Bay of Chaleur region since 1933, the CBC affiliate CHNC Radio has made an important contribution to English-speaking identity and culture.

This radio microphone represents the importance and effectiveness of communication with respect to the history of the English-speaking communities in the Bay of Chaleur. The microphone was used at CHNC Radio Station in New Carlisle, Quebec. It is testimony to the development in communication that occurred in bilingual towns like New Carlisle where CHNC became one of the most listened-to radio stations in eastern Quebec.

Two New Carlisle residents played notable roles in the field of communication on the Gaspé Peninsula: businessman, lawyer and politician John Hall Kelly and dentist Dr. Charles Houde. It was Dr. Houde, nicknamed “Le Doc,” who put the first private radio station in the Gaspé on the air in 1933. Even today, the radio station’s call letters pay tribute to its founder: CHNC stands for Charles Houde New Carlisle.

Mr. Houde started this first private radio station in 1933 as an information and entertainment service for the "Gaspesian Workers Cooperative." Its early signal was broadcast to both sides of the Bay of Chaleur, to the Gaspé Peninsula and to New Brunswick. CHNC went on air as an AM station and it was originally an affiliate of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission from 1933 to 1936 when it became an affiliate of Radio Canada. Bilingual for the first seven years, in 1940 it split into an English language station CKNB, and the French language station CHNC. It was the first French language station in eastern Quebec, the second in all of Quebec after CKAC. For many years, well known radio hosts such as Charles Houde himself, Stan Chapman, and René Lévesque plied the airwaves. Mr. Levesque started his journalistic career in his home town of New Carlisle.

This high quality microphone, hand crafted for the Western Electric company by Tsan Paulus of Quebec in an “art deco” style, was model No. 618A, Moving Coil Microphone. Made for CHNC Radio in New Carlisle, it was an innovation in communication technology. The world’s first “dynamic microphone,” it quickly became the favourite of broadcasters everywhere.

Microphones convert acoustical energy or sound waves into electrical energy known as audio signals. These audio signals impress information onto a radio signal and become available for tuning on all radio broadcasting devices. Dynamic microphones work via electromagnetic induction. They are durable, relatively inexpensive and resistant to moisture. Coupled with their potentially high gain before feedback, this makes them ideal for live, on-stage use. This type of microphone is still used today to produce radio shows, to broadcast information and auditory entertainment.

Moving-coil microphones use the same dynamic principle as in a loudspeaker, only reversed. A small movable induction coil, positioned in the magnetic field of a permanent magnet, is attached to the diaphragm. When sound enters through the windscreen of the microphone, the sound wave moves the diaphragm. When the diaphragm vibrates, the coil moves in the magnetic field, producing a varying current in the coil through electromagnetic induction.

This original metal microphone has a wood base and plastic CHNC logo. Its total height is 41 cm, and it weighs approximately 3.6 kilograms. It is on loan from the Cooperative des travailleurs CHNC New Carlisle, and can be seen at the Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre as part of its permanent exhibition.

Microphone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone#Dynamic_microphone
CHNC Radio www.radiochnc.com
CHNC Radio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CHNC-FM

To Learn More
G.R.M. Garratt, The Early History of Radio: From Faraday to Marconi, 1994.
Ira Brodsky, The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses, 2008.
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden: Over a Century of Radio, www.fessenden.ca
CBC Digital Archives – 1900 Canadian Makes First Wireless Radio Transmission, www.cbc.ca/archives
Our History: CBC/ Radio- Canada, www.cbc.radio-canada.ca
New Carlisle Heritage Walking Tour, www.gaspesie.quebecheritageweb.com

Jacqueline Hyman is a writer and lives in the Eastern Townships. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Eaton Corner Museum in Cookshire-Eaton, Quebec. Félixe Waalwijk is coordinator of the Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre. An artist herself, she moved back to Gaspesia, where she was born to an Acadian mother and Dutch father.


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