LCQ5: Broadcast of Legislative Council meetings by Radio Television Hong Kong

     Following is a question by the Hon Ip Wai-ming and a reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, in the Legislative Council today (June 29):


     On Radio 5 of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK Radio 5), there are quite a number of programmes (e.g. Chinese operas, education and cultural programmes, as well as programmes catering for minority interests, etc.) the target audience of which is the elderly. However, quite a number of elderly people have recently relayed to me that as RTHK Radio 5 needs to broadcast Legislative Council (LegCo) meetings on Wednesdays, the scheduled programmes have to be re-scheduled until after the meetings have been adjourned. Some elderly people have further pointed out that as LegCo meetings in the current session often last for several days, they cannot listen to the scheduled programmes for several consecutive days. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) in the past five years, of the total number of hours of RTHK Radio 5 programmes the target audience of which is the elderly; the average audience rating, number of listeners and age profile of listeners of this radio channel; in the past two years, of the total number of hours and audience ratings of broadcasting LegCo meetings on RTHK Radio 5;

(b) whether the authorities know if, apart from RTHK, there are other free television and radio channels which at present also broadcast LegCo meetings and important meetings of its committees (e.g. meetings of the Finance Committee, etc.); how RTHK at present informs its listeners in advance of the changes in programme schedules necessitated by the broadcast of LegCo meetings on Wednesdays; and

(c) given that local television and radio stations are developing digital broadcasting, whether the authorities have any plan to establish dedicated television and radio channels for the live or relay broadcast of LegCo meetings, while at the same time developing digital broadcasting, so that the broadcast of the meetings will not affect elderly people listening to the scheduled programmes; if they have, of the details and the timetable of the plan; if not, the reasons for that?



     Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) has started live broadcast of Legislative Council (LegCo) meetings since the 1980s to enable the public to keep track of the meetings in real time. Currently, RTHK Radio 5 broadcasts live LegCo meetings held every Wednesday and continued on subsequent days, including the delivery of the Policy Address by the Chief Executive and of the Budget Speech by the Financial Secretary. Our reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) RTHK Radio 5 is a dedicated channel for elderly, culture and education programmes. During the five years from 2006 to 2010, the total programme output of Radio 5 amounted to about 34 000 hours, of which some 9 300 hours were programmes on Chinese opera targeted mainly at the elderly audience, and some 5 500 hours were other elderly programmes.

     Radio 5 now broadcasts LegCo meetings held every Wednesday and continued on subsequent days. In the 2008-09 and 2009-10 legislative sessions, a total of some 770 hours of LegCo meetings were broadcast on Radio 5.

     According to a survey conducted by an independent survey company commissioned by RTHK in late 2010, among the total population of about seven million, 426 000 people had listened to Radio 5 within seven days before they were surveyed. On their age profile, 77% of the listeners were aged 50 or above, 12% between 40 and 49, and 11% below 40. For the audience ratings of the broadcast of LegCo meetings, the survey indicated that the average number of listeners during the period of LegCo meetings (every half an hour from 11am to 10pm on Wednesdays) was 34 000, whereas the average number of listeners for the same period in other days was 27 090.

(b) At present, apart from RTHK, no other free television or radio channels broadcast LegCo meetings, although two pay television channels broadcast some of the meetings.

     Radio 5 will inform listeners in advance of the arrangements relating to the broadcast of a LegCo meeting in its programmes on the meeting day and the day before. A notice will also be posted on RTHK's website.

(c) Upon the launch of digital audio broadcasting (DAB), four DAB programme channels of RTHK will initially simulcast the existing four AM channels to improve reception quality, with gradual enhancement of programme content. RTHK will implement split broadcasting to ensure that the elderly could continue to listen to Radio 5 programmes via the AM channel while one of the DAB channels will be used to broadcast LegCo meetings.

     The Government currently has no plan to establish dedicated digital television or radio channels for the live or relay broadcast of LegCo meetings.

Ends/Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:56