RTHK axes Hong Kong’s digital channels as they fail to attract sizeable audience

September 3, 2017
Industry News
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Staff Reproter

Programmes from five remaining digital channels to be reassigned to FM channels

The short-lived era of digital radio in Hong Kong has come to an end, with public broadcaster RTHK closing its remaining channels from midnight after it failed to attract a significant audience.

With the five remaining digital channels – DAB 31 to 35 – taken off air, some affected programmes were slated to move to FM channels in a reshuffle.

The move was announced weeks ahead of a six-month deadline laid down by the Executive Council in late March to end all digital radio services, which struggled for six years to find a sizeable audience.

As part of the reshuffle, the reduction of the BBC World Service broadcast, after a run that began in 1978, has raised concern in some circles. Critics have cited the decision to move it to an 11pm-to-7am slot on Radio 4, and its replacement by news bulletins in Putonghua from state-controlled China National News, as evidence of declining press freedom in Hong Kong.

In an online petition to retain the broadcast on RTHK and host China National News on an FM channel, they wrote: “We are not against the service provided by China National News. We just don’t want RTHK to broadcast China National News at the expense of the BBC programming which many Hong Kong people rely on for news from far-flung places.” Continue Reading
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