Hong Kong Radio Stations Finally get Licenses

Wednesday, Mar 23, 2016

Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting and Metro Broadcast had their licenses renewed just five months before expiration with a senior official rejecting assertions the renewal was tainted by "political considerations."

Both radio stations had their licenses extended for 12 years up to 2028.

The renewal of their analog sound broadcasting licenses was announced yesterday after an Executive Council decision and following a prolonged wait by both stations.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam- leung quashed talks that political factors came into play in the license renewal.

He also rebuffed speculation that the prolonged scrutiny aimed to serve as a subtle warning for both stations to "behave."

So said: "There is no such warning, subtle or not."

Last month Commercial Radio's chief adviser, Stephen Chan Chi-wan, said it was "unusual" for the government not to make a decision a year before the expiration of a station's license.

In July 2003, the government announced the renewal of Commercial Radio's license a year before its expiration in August 2004.

The Communications Authority submitted its recommendations on the license renewal to Exco last May, implying that it took 10 months for the council to reach a decision.

The renewed license period is from August 26, 2016 up to August 25, 2028, with a mid-term review in 2022.

License conditions are largely based on the existing licenses of the two stations, with new commitments incorporated and updates made where necessary.

Commercial Radio has committed to a six- year investment of HK$908.6 million between 2016 and 2022, comprised of HK$25 million for capital outlays and HK$883.6 million for programming.

Metro has proposed to invest during the same period HK$685 million, comprised of HK$22.3 million for capital expenditures and HK$662.7 million for programming.

Both stations will also revise staff guidelines to ensure compliance to impartiality rules for all factual programs dealing with public policy.


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