The embattled Digital Broadcasting Corporation has breached its licensing terms by halting scheduled broadcasts for more than four days last month, the communications watchdog says in a provisional ruling.
A sanction would be imposed on the radio broadcaster, the Office of the Communications Authority said.
"The service cessation amounted to a contravention of DBC's sound broadcasting licence condition," the authority said last night.
Conditions attached to the licence state that the station should broadcast all its seven channels 24 hours a day and provide not less than 50 hours of non-Cantonese programmes a week.
But DBC, the city's first digital radio station, stopped original programming from 8pm on October 10 to 7am on October 15.
The authority said it was inviting representatives from the station to give views on the provisional decision, after which it would decide on the sanction.
DBC co-founder Albert Cheng King-hon expressed regret that the station's receivers had been unable to uphold the licensing requirements.
"It is the responsibility of the receivers," Cheng said, but added that he was pleased to see the government act at last. "I have always wanted the government to intervene in the matter."
The station is running short of cash amid a boardroom feud between Cheng and another major shareholder, Bill Wong Cho-bau, who is seen as a Beijing loyalist.
Wong reportedly withheld an extra HK$50 million investment in the station, which has received HK$150 million from investors since it was awarded a 12-year broadcasting licence in 2008.
Last month Wong obtained a court order that allowed him to appoint two accountants to take over DBC's operations. Cheng's supporters claim Wong's actions are part of a political effort by Beijing to silence DBC.