Thu, May 03, 2012 - Page 2 News List

NCC allows PBS to stop its AM radio service

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission yesterday approved an application by the Police Broadcasting Service (PBS) to stop its AM radio service, provided it ensured that listeners’ interests are protected.

Funded by the National Police Agency, PBS has one AM and two FM radio services. The two FM stations are popular among car drivers because they offer updated traffic reports on freeways, highways and local roads. They also offer a lost-and-found service, where listeners can call in and request to help to locate items left in taxis.

The AM station was launched in 1990, providing useful information to seniors, children and women.

Commission chief secretary and acting spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said PBS decided to terminate the AM service because most of its facilities were outdated.

The service also attracts few listeners and reruns a lot of programs from the FM services.

While the commission approved the network’s application, it insisted that PBS give six months advance notice to listeners before it officially terminates the service.

“Even though there are few listeners, their rights need to be protected,” Wong said. “The network should try to move the programs on its AM service to its FM services.”

Asked what the commission intended to do with the returned frequency, Wong said it would have a comprehensive plan first before deciding the best use of the frequencies.

In related news, the commission has yet to decide whether it will give Public Television Service (PTS) a broad license to operate a high-definition (HD) TV channel, adding that the company must submit a more detailed operational plan to the commission for review.

Wong said the license would allow PTS to operate the HD channel for nine years, but PTS only told the commission about its budget plan for next year.

“We want them to provide more details on how it would upgrade the channel’s equipment, enrich its programming and increase its service coverage rate,” he said.

At present, PTS is being allowed to operate the HD channel, Channel 30, on license for a trial period. PTS has applied for a full TV channel operational license.

At present, only a small portion of the programming on Channel 30 is being produced using HD equipment. A majority of the programs are reruns from PTS, which were produced in analog format and later converted to HD format.

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