Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 4 News List

INTERVIEW: CTS well on the way to reform, rebirth, boss says

By Nian Hsian-wan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chinese Television System president Kuo Chien-hung, rear center, poses for a group photograph with the station’s Taipei Summer Universiade production team following the Games, which ended on Aug. 30.

Photo: courtesy of Chinese Television System

Eight months into the job, Chinese Television System (CTS) president Kuo Chien-hung (郭建宏) said he has seen the company surpass initial obstacles on its way to reform and rebirth.

Kuo made the remarks in an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper), adding that he is confident the state-run station could “create shows of first-world quality with third-world budgets.”

The success of the company’s transition was largely due to it meeting two objectives — hosting more than 50 percent of locally made programs and the worldwide success of the Taipei Summer Universiade, which concluded on Aug. 30, Kuo said.

CTS last year won the rights to broadcast this year’s Universiade.

The company ran into trouble with the National Communications Commission earlier this year when the commission said the company was close to violating articles 17 and 19 of the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法).

Article 17 states that news, education and culture programs, as well as public service programs, should not be lower than 50 percent of the station’s output per week. Article 19 states that locally made programs should not be less than 70 percent of its entire program roster.

CTS has met the requirements for locally produced shows and ratings would provide the final say on which programs would survive, Kuo said.

When he took the job Kuo said he had been horrified at the state of the sets, as the equipment was out of date and some had been entirely abandoned.

This was due to the company only shooting two TV dramas — Unconditional Love (愛你無條件) and Vicissitudes of Life (海海人生) — over the past eight years, he said.

The equipment was at least 14 years old, Kuo said, adding that the sets for filming variety shows also had out-of-date equipment, such as halogen lamps.

The photography set had been entirely abandoned, Kuo added.

Kuo ordered all three sets to be cleared and cleaned, while also emptying several abandoned rooms to gain more space.

The company is in the process of shooting a new soap opera that is expected to air by the end of next month, Kuo said.

Models Go, Go, Go (名模出任務) and another program were axed, cutting the station’s annual expenditure by NT$80 million (US$2.66million), Kuo said.

The station then bought the rights to classic soap operas Home (家) and The Sun Shines First Behind the Mountain (後山日先照), Kuo said, adding that it had asked popular singers Chang Fei (張菲) and Yu Tian (余天) to each host a variety show.

Both shows are expected to be on air by November, he added.

While he has been given the moniker “King of Taiwanese Shows,” Kuo admitted he had never handled sports broadcasts before the Universiade.

Kuo said he had insisted on a general upgrade of all hardware for the company to handle the broadcasting of the Universiade, and set a strict schedule for the construction and testing of the station’s international broadcast center.

“We planned to run two tests of the center two weeks before the opening ceremony,” Kuo said, adding that a power outage in Taipei at the time had helped test the center’s backup power system.

Kuo thanked CTS chairwoman Chen Yu-hsiu (陳郁秀) for her support, as well as all the staff at CTS for making the Universiade broadcasts so successful.

“It was due to everyone’s hard work that we put CTS’ name out there for the world to see,” Kuo said.

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