Licensed radio broadcasters yesterday urged the Government Information Office (GIO) not to legalize underground radio stations, claiming that the illegal stations had a destructive effect on the industry.
"Because of the several underground radio stations operating in the Chiayi area, reception for our station is being jammed outside of a 10km radius," said Ong Hao-ran (
The committee is made up of four broadcasting associations: the Private Radio Broadcasting Association, the Radio Broadcasting and Television Industry Association, the Taiwan Radio FM Association and the Community Radio Broadcasting Association. It said that underground radio stations threatened the very survival of their companies and organizations.
"There are currently 170 legal radio stations along with 200 illegal stations, so the illegal stations now outnumber legal ones. They affect the safety of air travel and interfere with reception for legal stations, as well as challenging the government," said Ma Chang-sheng (馬長生), who convened the press conference.
On Monday, the GIO told the Legislative Yuan that it was planning to legalize 93 underground radio stations by the end of the year to manage the industry more effectively, after struggling to crack down on clandestine operators.
Wang Wei (王瑋), a lecturer at the Department of Communication Arts at Fu Jen Catholic University and deputy director of IC FM 97.5 in Hsinchu City, said that underground radio stations eroded the profits of legal stations.
"There's only a handful of radio advertisers around, and there's a massive number of underground and legal radio stations to choose from. Many of the legal radio stations have been driven out of business due to financial losses," Wang said in an interview yesterday.
Wang also said that in order to apply for a license to run a radio station, management must put in an enormous effort writing up a proposal.
"IC FM 97.5 worked so hard to write up our business plan. We really do believe in our social responsibilities as a media outlet in providing high-quality radio programs for this changing world. However, there are just too many radio and TV stations trying to meet the needs of the audience. Those stations that truly want to make a difference are threatened by fierce competition," Wang said.
Wang said the government should hold more public hearings before taking any further action.
"The government ought to consider very carefully what it plans for the media industry in the long term," Wang added.
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