National Radio to replace RTHK's BBC relay - RTHK
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National Radio to replace RTHK's BBC relay

2017-08-11 HKT 16:49
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  • RTHK will end the practice of relaying BBC for 24 hours on AM675. File photo: RTHK
    RTHK will end the practice of relaying BBC for 24 hours on AM675. File photo: RTHK
Damon Pang reports
Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) said on Friday that it will be ending its 24-hour relay of BBC radio and will broadcast a state-run channel in its place.

The BBC World Service has been broadcast live on RTHK’s Radio 6 on AM675 since 1978.

Starting on September 4, the public broadcaster will instead relay the state-run China National Radio Hong Kong Edition, which features news, finance, arts and culture, and lifestyle programmes primarily in Mandarin, with some broadcasts in Cantonese.

However, eight hours of BBC World Service will be relayed live for eight hours overnight on Radio 4, from 11pm to 7am daily.

RTHK explained that the change is necessary because its Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) services is ending next month – after the government decided in March to halt all such services in the city.

Various programmes that had been exclusively broadcast on DAB, including China National Radio and programmes for the underprivileged and ethnic minorities, need to be shifted to the broadcaster’s radio channels.

The head of corporate communications for RTHK, Amen Ng, said it was necessary to keep broadcasting China National Radio.

"This channel is tailor made for RTHK when we first introduced DAB, and it can enhance the cultural exchange between the mainland and Hong Kong," she said.

Ng also explained that the station will only offer eight hours of BBC programming overnight because listeners can go to the BBC’s website directly instead; and because its programmes contain more regular updates during this time due to the time difference.

The Executive Council made the decision to end Digital Radio Broadcasting in Hong Kong after several commercial broadcasters returned their licences, saying they were running up losses.