Sun, Feb 20, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: ICRT isn't the same anymore

By John Anderson

When I first arrived in Taipei just under two years ago, I quickly found it to be a source of comfort and information before heading to work in the morning. The morning banter wasn't quite the same as I was used to in the UK, but it was warm, amusing and obviously came from a good place. There was information about what was going on around town, and most Fridays there'd be music from a group playing in Taiwan, sometimes live in the studio.

I teach adults and I used to wholeheartedly recommend they listen to ICRT to get a better grasp of colloquial English, even by just having it on in the background. Many of them already did anyway, and seemed happy with what they heard.

Everything's changed now. The mornings seem to have lost the sense of purpose and the sense of community they once had. Yes, there were problems with it -- EZ News wasn't easy at all, just slow and irritating -- but the motivation behind the show in general was clear and laudable. Now, most of the interviews have gone, save for a few on topics that are either so dull they force you to change the station or too obscure to have any immediate relevance. The music now seems stuck in a time warp and there appears to be a policy of crowbarring in a Mando-pop tune every three or four songs. The personality has gone, to be replaced by slow, unnatural American English that feels devoid of any character and serves as a bad model for struggling students trying to improve their English. It's even worse for more advanced speakers hoping to improve their accent.

I don't tell my students they should listen to ICRT to improve their English anymore. Many of them have stopped anyway.

John Anderson


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