After almost 30 years of broadcasting from Taipei, International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s only English-language radio station, moved to its new home in Taipei County yesterday.
Its broadcasts, however, continued uninterrupted.
IRCT will keep its listeners in the loop on the hottest new music and news from around Taiwan and the world, but from Sinjhuang (新莊), instead of its home for the past nine years in the Broadcasting Corp of China building on Song-jiang Road.
It’s not the first time the station has had to move.
It spent its first two decades near the top of Yangmingshan, in what had been the US Armed Forces Network Taiwan (AFNT) facility in Shanzaihou, not far from the Chinese Culture University. It moved off the mountain and into Taipei City in April 2000.
Station staff and DJs said last week that they were looking forward to the latest move.
“This is an exciting adventure. It’s like we are setting up a whole new company,” veteran disc jockey Ron Stewart said last week, promising even “sillier shows because I am so delighted with the new office.”
Content and Creativity director Tim Berge said the rent at the new facility was cheaper, but that a lower rent had not been the major driving force behind the move, initially.
Now, however, the station is counting its pennies because it has to move its transmitter in central Taiwan to a new location because the Republic of China (ROC) military is building a radar station on Loshan in Hsinchu County at the current transmitter site.
ICRT will have to move its transmitter to a lower elevation on the mountain, Berge said yesterday.
Berge said listeners could be reassured that the station’s programming would not be affected by either move.
In addition to shifting offices and equipment, ICRT is also gearing up to mark its 30th anniversary on April 16.
A series of nationwide events will start in the middle of next month to celebrate ICRT’s three decades, Berge said.
ICRT, operated by Taipei International Community Cultural Foundation, went on air at midnight April 16, 1979.
AFNT pulled out of Taiwan as part of the departure of an official US military presence in the country after the US severed diplomatic relations with the ROC in 1978.
However, neither the foreign community in Taiwan nor the ROC government wanted to see an end to the only all-English radio service in the country
The president of the American Chamber of Commerce, Robert Parker, helped put together a group of community and business leaders to try and save the station.
Then president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and premier Sun Yun-suan (孫運璿) were also interested in keeping an English-language radio station going in those pre-Internet days and instructed the Government Information Office to provide assistance.
A deal was worked out to transfer the AFNT facility and equipment to the newly formed ICRT and ICRT took over AFNT's broadcast functions without a break in transmission.
As the station’s Web site says: “ICRT assumed the official duties of serving the foreign community in Taiwan and forging a cultural link between the Chinese population of Taiwan and the English-speaking residents of the island.”
The station’s mandate is to serve the expatriate community in Taiwan, but Taiwanese listeners have long made up its core audience.
Jack Guo (阿杰), 27, said calls himself a diehard fan of ICRT because “it plays really cool music from different genres.”
“I started listening to ICRT back when I was in college. It was a great way for me to beef up my English listening ability,” he said.
“Besides, Ron Stewart is really funny and Joseph Lin always play the songs I like,” Guo said.
Berge said ICRT’s new address is 19-5F, No.107, Sec. 1, Jhongshan Rd, Sinjhuang City, Taipei County 24250 (24250台北縣新莊市中山路一段107號19樓之5).
The station’s new switchboard number is (02) 8522-7766.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
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