Challenges awaiting RTHK's new broom

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 12:00am

The news that RTHK Radio 3 is to lose its present head is interesting ('Head of Radio 3 quits after contract rejection,' South China Morning Post, May 22).

The public must speculate on the reasons for the move. As usual, our Government surrenders behind a veil of secrecy and will not explain events.

For myself, perhaps given the wealth of listening opportunities on the Internet, I rarely tune into RTHK these days. There must be a reason for this, as I was formally an avid listener of Radios 3 and 4.

On Radio 3, I have found that the most interesting programme of all, Open Line, has been replaced with something called Backchat, always on when people are just beginning or are on their way to work. Open Line used to broadcast at the weekend when people had time to phone in. It was frequently hypnotic listening. Another disturbing feature is that the themes of Backchat are decided by the station, not by the listeners.

I submit that this is a distinct curbing of the international community's freedom of speech. As for Radio 4, it all sounds more canned and anonymous than it has ever done. As at Radio 3, true accountability to the audience has been thrown out of the window and a sort of middle-of-the-road classical 'muzak' is in vogue. What a waste of even restricted or reduced resources it must be. Both stations could benefit from a new broom, one with open ears to the community and an eye for freshness, vigour and originality. Let's make these valuable resources into mirrors of the vibrant international community, not vehicles of stifling mediocrity.