Commercial Radio, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next month, is determined to continue as a privately owned broadcaster despite pressures to go public. Several sources said last week that the city's oldest broadcaster, founded by George Ho on August 26, 1959, was under financial pressure, with rumours that the Ho family may put it up for sale. But an insider said there were no such plans. The rumours emerged as Wave Media, a radio station founded by former legislative councillor Albert Cheng King-hon, postponed its debut until next year. The insider said the Ho family had been approached by investment bankers many times over the years about floating Commercial Radio to raise funds for development, selling a stake in the company or even selling the whole operation. However, chairman George Joseph Ho, son of the founder, and the board believe that keeping the company in private hands is the best way to avoid any conflict of interests. 'If Commercial Radio went public, how could it balance the interests of the public and shareholders? We don't have urgent cash needs and I can say that our business remains profitable despite the poor economy in Hong Kong,' the insider said. Operating three channels - two in Cantonese and one in English - Commercial Radio competes with Hutchison Whampoa's Metro Broadcast, which has the same three-channel arrangement, and Radio Television Hong Kong, which operates seven channels. Commercial Radio's advertising revenue has dropped significantly this year, while Metro claimed to have a more than 60 per cent share in radio advertising spending. However, the insider said: 'I think our performance is in line with the market. We face challenges and we need to keep costs tight.' Media monitoring firm admanGo said Commercial Radio advertisement insertions were down 23 per cent in the first half. Metro's were up slightly. However, CR 1 remains the city's most popular radio station with an audience of 1.71 million. Islanders block digital bid Wave Media postponed its digital broadcasting service to next year after islanders on Peng Chau objected to the building of a 100-metre AM frequency transmitter. Commercial Radio, meanwhile, has confirmed that it has no plan to go digital and will instead look to the internet to reach a bigger audience. Commercial Radio general manager Rita Chan said the broadcaster's Hong Kong Toolbar, a software that enables computer users to listen to the station's programmes, has recorded more than one million downloads since last year's launch. 'We won't go digital as there is no reason for us to abandon our existing FM frequency,' Ms Chan said. Commercial Radio prefers cross-media collaboration to strengthen its competitiveness in the tough market. For example, the company has teamed up with Television Broadcasts on the first joint television and radio programme.