Monday, October 10, 2005

ICRT to be Realigned into local Taipei Station

In news that I'm sure will jog the memory of long-term expats who dimly recall that, yes, there is a station by that name in Taiwan, ICRT is about to get a status downgrade.

The GIO is asking the station to either downgrade to a "medium power" broadcaster -- but keep the same frequency -- or relocate to a higher frequency to maintain its full-coverage as a "high power" broadcaster.

According to a source at the station, who wished to remain anonymous, during the Martial Law era, ICRT, the Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) and the Police Radio Service were the three major "high power" broadcasters" that were used to resist the interference in Taiwan's radio communications from the Chinese government.

"We were actually helping the government back in that era," the source said.

Just a few days ago, the source said, the GIO issued an official notice to the station, telling it that ICRT would be downgraded from a "high power" broadcaster to a "medium power" broadcaster because its current frequency -- FM 100.7 -- had been re-designated for "medium power" broadcasters.

Who listens to ICRT? None of the long-termers I know do. Snowman in the Tropics writes:

(3) “Once we say farewell to them, they will not be able to receive instant news in English and students will lose their opportunity to sharpen their English comprehension ability, too

This was the quote that lead to this posting. Being an English speaker it is tough to find out about the news of Taiwan that is not in the English newspapers, but come on. The only 'instant news' on ICRT is the news they have at the top of every hour.

The second part of the quote made me laugh. I guess that ICRT has never heard of the internet. How many English programs are available free for streaming or downloading? Every day I podcast two shows on Air America Radio.

Podcasting and streaming media have totally displaced ICRT here for foreigners; the internet means that I have thousands of radio stations accessible from all over the world. ICRT currently appears to be aimed at bubblehead local females of about 15 who know some English and have no taste in anything. One blogger describing things here in Taiwan for friends back home wrote:

I also found an english radio station here called ICRT 100.7FM. They don't really play nice music though, they like to play easy listening stuff from the early gross

As David on Formosa described the advent of another station:

Another media outlet in a different format is also getting started in Taiwan. WWRN is an online radio station aimed squarely at the foreign community in Taiwan. It aims to fill the gap left by the failure of ICRT to serve the international community it was named after.

The perception is widespread among the local foreigners that ICRT is irrelevant to their needs. If it gets downgraded, will anyone even notice?


Anonymous said...

icrt sucks. some djs can't even speak proper english.

Jonathan Benda said...

I listen to ICRT in the car sometimes, but that's mainly to get the top-of-the-hour news (when they have it). I'll sort of miss it if I can't hear it. Sort of.

David said...

The only argument for it being useful is in a disaster (big earthquake/typhoon), when ICRT could be the only way to get info to English-speakers. That said, I (and I suspect a lot of other people) don't own a battery powered radio!

I only listen to it when a taxi driver tunes to it for my 'benefit'.

Incidentally, the alternative, WWRN, that you mention has died a very horrible death. The details are on forumosa ...

Jason said...

Ahhh, the old zen koan:

"If a completely useless radio service compromised by its own tasteless marketing fell silent in Taiwan, would it make a difference?"

KrazyJay said...

I would like to say that ICRT brought me into Taiwan, even without me physically being there. I am sure that when I arrive to start my own life in Taiwan, ICRT will be a radio broadcaster where I will listen to. I have used their chatbox, and made many friends who from all over the world, but have a special interest in Taiwan.

Of course ICRT should improve their quality, if they had done it earlier, then now there wouldn't be a struggle to keep them on air as they are now.

Shows do need to get an own identity more, they need to give more international news, they need to have more chats with people on late nights, ICRT needs to be fresh, attractive and sparkling again.

I hope this struggle will make ICRT see they need to improve, and that it will make them have an own and stronger identity.

Anonymous said...

ICRT SUCKS! ESPECiALLY DJ SANDRA! Y0U G0TZ SUM KiNDA FARKiNG CHiNESE ACCENT AND Y0U CH00SE THE W0RST MUZiQ iN THE WH0LE W0RLD! Y0U'RE RETARDED T00! oh yeah. you guys need more music. definately more metal.

Lukas said...

That is interesting. ICRT used to be our/my only source to western pop music (about 15 years ago, when I was in senior high). I never thought about how a "real" english speaker feels about ICRT.