Hong Kong digital station DBC set to end broadcasting new programmes at midnight on Thursday

Station goes out with a bang with two-hour party for its staff; DBC will continue broadcasting old programmes until request to hand in its licence is approved

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 8:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 10:55pm

Hong Kong’s media industry is losing one more player with Digital Broadcasting Corporation (DBC) halting broadcasts of new programmes at midnight on Thursday.

However, it will continue broadcasting old programmes until the Executive Council approves its request to hand back its licence.

The move is the latest to hit the media following the closure of Asia Television in April and the Hong Kong Daily News newspaper last year.

DBC is also the second player to leave the digital broadcasting field following the closure of Phoenix URadio, leaving just two traditional radio stations left – RTHK and Metro Broadcast.

“I will miss the station but there was nothing that could be done,” said 30-year media veteran Tim Chan, who has worked for a year and a half with DBC’s finance channel. Chan is one of the 36 staff who will remain at work until the bitter end.

Children’s television host Helen Tam Yuk-ying, who hosts a radio show on DBC, said staff were positive and happy despite the station’s demise.

“I think DBC staff are generally young. They are therefore not too affected by the closure,” she said.

DBC streamed its farewell party live on its Facebook page, showing dozens of staff singing together. A few were tearful. Internet users left comments such as “we will miss you” and “DBC is dead because of a useless government”.

A DBC staff member who did not want to be named said their boss, Loh Chan, spoke at the two-hour party and sang with them. “He wished us a bright future and acknowledged our contribution to the company. It was quite touching,” the employee said.

Loh had earlier said the closure was due to a lack of government support in expanding audience reach in digital broadcasting, leading to difficulties in attracting advertisements to sustain business.

The five-year-old station underwent a shake-up last October with the sacking of one-third of its staff.

A spokeswoman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said the Executive Council was “handling” the station’s request to return its licence.