Rumours about Franklin Wong Wah-kay's departure from the RTHK have been going around for months. In fact, the man himself dropped the strongest hint last month, comparing himself to a vintage car that needs a service. 'If a car has run for too long, it would need some polishing and repair. Its spark plugs may need some cleaning before it gets going again,' the director of broadcasting said in reply to a question about his contract renewal. That is a fit metaphor for someone whose career is not short of bumpy rides. Shortly after Wong took up his current post in 2008, he was criticised for his reluctance to openly support the Save RTHK Campaign, a group formed in 2007 by frontline journalists and rights watchers determined to fight to maintain the public broadcaster's editorial independence. The row did little to help Wong win the trust of his staff. Then, in September, the government set up an advisory board to regulate the station's editorial principles and programme standards. The move was decried by the Save RTHK Campaign, with some members further questioning Wong's commitment to their cause. His relationship with the staff became even more damaged when it was claimed he was planning to remove two hosts of a popular political satire programme. The rumour was eventually proved to be unfounded and Wong said publicly that editorial independence was as important to him as his own life. A geography graduate of the University of Hong Kong, Wong began his career with Radio Hong Kong as a programme officer in 1966. He went on to work as an announcer, commentator and producer. He was drafted into the Special Publicity Unit and was part of a propaganda team battling for the hearts and minds of Hongkongers amid the 1967 riots and general strike, according to files declassified from Britain's National Archives in London. Returning to the broadcaster, he found fame as a producer and director of drama series Below the Lion Rock in the early 1970s. The series depicted life among the city's grass roots. He then joined the Independent Commission Against Corruption as chief publicity officer in 1975. He also worked for regional media organisations Astro Malaysia and the state-linked MediaCorp Studios in Singapore, which he headed from 2000 to 2003.