Stephen Chan defends decision to host Commercial Radio talk show

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 November, 2013, 2:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 November, 2013, 2:10pm

Stephen Chan Chi-wan, boss of Commercial Radio and replacement for talk show host and outspoken government critic Lee Wai-ling, promised to “speak for the people” on his first morning as host of current affairs programme On A Clear Day.

“It is a difficult time to be a commentator – there are specious arguments … and fabricated histories,” said Chan, who announced on Friday he would remove Lee from the morning prime-time current affairs programme.

I was hosting a morning radio show 20 years ago when I joined Commercial Radio after leaving the government. I hosted some vigorous discussion [programmes] then on education policy

“I will speak for the people; question the government for the people and to stay upright in front of the privileged,” Chan said.

The former TVB general manager, who moved Lee to a less prominent slot on evening talk show The Tipping Point, was accused of political manoeuvring and removing Lee from the morning show as part of a deal for Commercial Radio to renew its licence.

The broadcaster will have to apply to extend its licence by August 25 next year before it expires in 2016.

Chan indirectly responded to fellow hosts’ criticisms that he lacked commentating experience by quoting his track record as a radio presenter.

“I was hosting a morning radio show 20 years ago when I joined Commercial Radio after leaving the government, Chan said,

“I hosted some vigorous discussion [programmes] then on education policy. An old boss of mine in the government called me afterwards, asking ‘Stephen, do you have to go that far in criticising the government?’” said Chan, who was a former administrative officer at the government.

He later revealed her to be former Secretary for Environment and Food Bureau Lily Yam Kwan Pui-ying.

“She had condemned me, but didn’t exert any pressure – nothing about renewing Commercial Radio’s licence.”

Chan’s debut show was filled with caustic remarks about Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

“Was it a problem with Leung’s logic, or was he not in good shape?” asked Chan over Leung’s comparison of the Executive Council to the jury system.

“Both sides of a court case have five chances to reject jurors for no reason, but we cannot give a reason and expel Exco members.

If there was a chance to pick Exco members, Chan said: “I would not choose Leung as an Exco member.”