Digital radio ready to rock Sai Kung

Veteran of the airwaves has big plans for 'the best little seaside town in Asia'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 June, 2013, 5:57am

Visitors to the "best little seaside town in Asia" will soon be able to dial up a home-grown radio station offering party hits and easy listening tracks to help along those Sunday beach slumbers and all-day pub lunches.

Sai Kung FM, which will be a digital audio broadcast, will hit the airwaves in September after a soft launch at the beginning of August.

Peter King, who works for RTHK Radio 3, is a consultant to the project and confident it will be a hit.

"I set up internet radio as an experiment for about six weeks to see what the reaction would be. I attracted 473 members on the Facebook page for it," he said. "There was definitely an interest out there."

The biggest problem with a station that uses digital audio broadcast (DAB) is obtaining the rights to copyrighted material, but a deal has been struck with the Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong (Cash), which handles copyright licensing.

A DAB radio station does not need a government licence, just a business registration licence. But the content must be of good taste and not provocative.

King said Sai Kung FM was a first for Cash.

"They said they've never had to negotiate a licence for an internet radio station before. It's an experiment for which they've given us a 12-month agreement," he said.

"We've come to an agreement with Cash that we'll feature no more than 1,000 tracks in a month, so that they can then apportion the copyright fee.

"They will also take a certain percentage of the revenue, if there is any."

King came to Hong Kong in 1985 and has worked for the likes of British Forces Radio and RTHK Radio 3.

Initially, it will have party/easy listening music going 24/7 over weekends. It will run on a scheduling software set to loop so there is no need for a DJ.

Its catch line will be "Party music from the best little seaside town in Asia".

King hopes that eventually a studio will be set up in Sai Kung Old Village for community-based projects, as well as initiatives such as live broadcasts from the surrounding beaches.

"As we get more established I hope that we can train community-based volunteers to work on the station as they do on community radio in the UK," King said.

"If during the day there are housewives or people available who want to do a little radio show it's fine. Then in the evenings and the weekends it will be back to party music. Pubs and restaurants also might be interested in playing our station."