Will Money for Nothing survive Bryan Curtis' retirement?
Those who start the day listening to RTHK’s Money for Nothing may be disconcerted to know the show’s affable host – Bryan Curtis – has just over a month to go before he leaves the show, and his employer RTHK. This is because on September 18, he turns 60, and is bound by civil service retirement rules.
This is a pity as the show, which has been running since September 2011, has grown into a very good early morning finance and business programme which would not be out of place on better resourced radio stations. The show is from 8am to 8.30am but runs an extra 30 minutes during the summer when other programmes take a break.
Curtis has been the head of Radio 3 since 2002 and led the station’s English programming services since 2005. He says he was conscious that Radio 3 was “light” on finance and business.
The show was prompted by the global financial crisis, “when people were looking to find out more about how the global financial system worked”. It typically looks at markets, global trends in business and finance and economic policy. But there is always something for the investor with Curtis always asking, “So what are your best picks, what should we be looking at?” He had analysts, investment gurus, economists, entrepreneurs, businessmen as guests on the show.
The success of the show owes a lot to Curtis’ persona and as he puts it, “my don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously brand of radio”. It is live, mainly unscripted, radio, which is great if you can get it right but falls flat if the hosts can’t carry it off.
It has to be said talent is thin on the ground at RTHK, so Curtis’ impending departure inevitably raises questions about the future of the show. Curtis declined to comment on what may or may not happen at RTHK after he leaves.
The favourite to take over from Curtis as head of English-language programming is Hugh Chiverton, the head of Radio 3. He also co-hosts the morning current affairs programme that follows Money for Nothing – the long running Backchat. But we don’t think Money for Nothing is quite his style. So the chances are it will die.
As for the future, Curtis is not intending to slide quietly into retirement just yet. He intends to stay in Hong Kong and is considering his options. A number of areas interest him: media, investor relations and philanthropy. He has, for a number of years, co-led the steering committee for Operation Santa Claus, the charity jointly organised by the SCMP and RTHK, and is something he views with considerable pleasure and pride.
Bowen Road under threat
Yet again one of Hong Kong’s more tranquil areas is being threatened by property development. This time it is on Bowen Road, near the area where the government has declared a “fitness trail”. It is a low-density area with little traffic and is popular with walkers and runners. It is shaded by trees while permitting stunning views of the harbour.
However, the owner of 17 Bowen Road has applied for permission to build a driveway from Bowen Road to his property, which does not have road access. The property used to belong to Tony Chan Chun-chuen, a fung shui master and former boyfriend of Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum.
The house has been pulled down and the aim is to redevelop the 1,435 sqmetre site. Building the road would require felling 113 trees and, according to the planning application, would have no impact on traffic. This seems highly unlikely given that some monster block will probably be built. There have been plans for access to the property in the past but were rejected as the area is zoned as green belt. But times have changed.
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