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1867 News educates Amherst residents about Confederation

James Hand (left) and Dale Fawthrop discuss their latest episode of the 1867 News on Tantramar Community Radio. Developed as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the radio program has become popular among local listeners as a snapshot of news at the time of Canada’s birth.
James Hand (left) and Dale Fawthrop discuss their latest episode of the 1867 News on Tantramar Community Radio. Developed as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the radio program has become popular among local listeners as a snapshot of news at the time of Canada’s birth.

AMHERST – When Dale Fawthrop came up with the idea of the 1867 News he was looking for a unique way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

Now as the show prepares for its 100th episode on Tantramar Community Radio CFTA 107.9 FM, he’s amazed at how many people are following the exploits of Norman Albert Code and his cousin Morris, Alexander Graham, My Aunt Fannie and Bill Hertz’s daughter Mega.
“I was talking to someone the other day whose wife didn’t want to get out of the car to go shopping until she heard the end of the program,” Fawthrop said. “It’s something I’ve heard several times. People really seem to enjoy the program.”
The 1867 News premiered on CFTA back in January and will continue until the end of the year at which time Fawthrop will archive the show and burn it on to CDs to give to the Cumberland Public Libraries, the Cumberland County Museum and Archives and area schools.
The shows, generally six to eight minutes long, air twice daily on CFTA at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The archived shows are also on the station’s website.
The 100th episode will air on June 23 and the broadcasts for the week of June 26 to 30 will featured newspaper editorials that appeared just before or just after July 1, 1867 as the battles between the Confederates and Anti-Confederates heat up.
Fawthrop, who created and produced the show with James Hand of CFTA, said a lot of research has gone into preparing for every program and he admitted it would’ve been extremely difficult to do without the Internet.
“So many books that were written around the time of Confederation are now out of print, but in some cases there are great digital archives that you can access. It takes a lot of work to find them, but they are there. There are also newspapers, such as the Lunenburg paper of July 4, 1867 talking about Confederation,” he said.
The news that’s presented is factual for the period, although he admitted he and Hand have a little fun with things like commercials and advertisements as well as with some of the characters portrayed in the show, such as One-Eyed Jimmy Hudson, Lucky Lefty and Lady Landsdowne.
When he started out, Fawthrop was hoping area families would go back through their histories and provide material for the show, but he said not many families have documents or information from that period.
“It probably would’ve been much different if we’d done a show on say the First World War or Second World War,” Fawthrop said. “People just don’t have those family stories or family records from 1867.”
While the shows prior to July 1 have focused on the period leading up to Confederation, they will focus on the anti-Confederation movement led by Joseph Howe.
“The differences were amazing. In Lunenburg they celebrated with fireworks while in Halifax they burned Tupper in effigy next to a rat,” Fawthrop said. “It was a very divisive period. Even in the first parliament there were a lot of anti-Confederates from Nova Scotia.”
While host Norman Albert Code is fictional, Fawthrop said there was a Norman Albert Code who existed for three weeks in 1944. In 2015, Fawthrop learned that was his birth name. As a dramatist, he couldn’t resist the urge to use the name – even to allow the name to live for a year on the air.
dcole@amherstdaily.com
Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

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