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Chinese Station Defies Recession to Expand Programming

Ethnic Media in the Recession

New America Media, News Report, Vivian Po Posted: Sep 27, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO While mainstream and ethnic media are struggling through the recession, a Chinese-language radio station is moving forward with plans for 24-hour statewide programming.

To begin the process, Sing Tao Radio is extending its broadcasting hours from mornings to late afternoons. Peter Ho, the stations new general manager who is a key part of this ambitions plan, said was pleasantly surprised by the positive responses of listeners and advertisement to the newly extended hours.

Some advertisers asked if they could sponsor some of our new programs without us asking, said Ho.

Tim Lau, chief executive officer of Sing Tao Daily West Coast, added that their stations businesses returned to their historic peak in August and September.

It is very exciting and encouraging, said Lau, though he has not seen the same effects happening to the Sing Tao newspaper sales.

Sing Tao Radios expansion is remarkable, considering the adverse effect of the recession on the media. This year, for example, San Franciscos Sino Broadcasting Corporation, one of the oldest Chinese Radio broadcasting stations in the Bay Area, ceased to operate.

Established in 1996, Sing Tao Radio has been broadcasting in both Cantonese (AM1400) and Mandarin (FM 96.1) in the Bay Area, mostly in the mornings and late evenings.

Despite having the plan in mind, Sing Tao Radio faced difficultly expanding their afternoon broadcasting hours because all the time slots were already occupied. Last month, San Franciscos Korean American Radio, also known as Han Mi Radio, reduced its broadcasting hours. Sing Tao Radio took the opportunity to expand its Cantonese programming from 4 p.m to 6 p.m., during the afternoon rush hours, with added news, talk shows and entertainment programming.

Ho believes his plans first step is off to a great start.

It is a step closer to what we envision, Ho said.

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