ICRT deserves support
I would like to address Chou Long’s letter (Letters, April 14, page 8), where he asks if I would help spearhead a petition asking ICRT to either “fulfill its mandate or give up its broadcasting license,” as I did seven years ago when the foreign community despaired that ICRT was plummeting down a slippery slope to total irrelevance.
I concede that Chou makes some very good points. ICRT still has too much dumbed-down content, especially when it attempts to “bridge” cultures. Whether it’s Dimsum Cafe, presumably aimed at English learners, or A-fu’s Taxi Chinese lessons, obviously aimed at foreigners in Taiwan, the tone suggests that the listeners must be idiots. “Bilingual” content is often almost entirely in Chinese, especially in Joseph Lin’s show Afternoon Delight.
It is worth pointing out again that ICRT’s primary mandate is, in their own words, “to serve the expatriate community in Taiwan, and to act as a cultural bridge to our local audience.” An interview conducted entirely in Mandarin does neither of these things.
Still, I will not be starting a new petition criticizing ICRT any time soon, and here is why: ICRT has improved significantly in every area since the 2005 petition. A change in management and new music programming has made a world of difference.
ICRT is not just tolerable, it has become downright enjoyable. I have seen the station reach out and engage the international community on-air and in real life. The news programming is solid, (although for a news junkie like me, always a little too short.) The hopeless DJs have been weeded out and replaced with announcers of a much more professional caliber. All in all, the station is moving in the right direction.
As a community resource, ICRT naturally deserves our scrutiny, but it also deserves our support. If, like me, you feel that they are improving, then why not send them a word of encouragement?
Rather than start a petition urging “a quick and painless death” as Chou puts it, I would sooner put my name to a petition encouraging the government to support ICRT even more. They are an important part of our community, and with our help, they can do even better. Keep up the good work, ICRT.
Anthony van Dyck