JOHNNY BLADES | Dateline Pacific Radio New Zealand
WELLINGTON - China Radio International is seeking to bridge the gap in understanding about China in other parts of the world. That's according to Dr Viola Kuo Huang, a principal researcher at China Radio International's English Service in Beijing.
China Radio International recently took up frequencies formerly used by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's short-wave service into the Pacific Islands. It broadcasts globally in 65 languages including Mandarin. Dr Kuo Huang spoke to Johnny Blades.
VIOLA KUO HUANG: The English service of China Radio International is trying to braid the misunderstandings between the outside world and China. So we have hourly news about what's happening in the world, what's happening in China and what's happening in some English-speaking regions.
We have feature programs called Studio-Plus. This covers social events and literature, music, film, technology developments and stories of Chinese people and foreigners living in China.
We have language learning programs to learn Chinese in an interesting way and have programs about Chinese literature, telling it in a story-like way so people can understand what's happening. We also have talk shows which are called ‘round-table’.
JOHNNY BLADES: Discussions?
VIOLA: Yes discussions. People talk about culture and conflicting issues happening in China and around. We have Chinese panellists and foreign panellists who discuss together, finding out different perspectives, viewing events from different cultural backgrounds, and what is coming out is normally mutual understanding.
Sometimes people need further discussions, even after the topic. This program is really welcome. And we have business programs covering the news globally, what is happening in the stock market, policies, especially what's happening in the world (and how it) could influence China and other regions.
JOHNNY: When Pacific islanders can tune into China Radio International these days will they hear any content about them, about the stories and issues that they are confronting?
VIOLA: Yes, anything which is significant and that is interesting would be the content that China Radio International are interested in. But it wouldn't be possible for us to provide a specific service to targeting this audience. China Radio International is very interested in mapping the whole world, to all the audiences it can reach. But, for all the stories that happen in this region, I would say that it comes to one that is very significant only.
JOHNNY: How much of a role does the Chinese government play in the daily operations of China Radio International?
VIOLA: Well, like all the public service, we have funding. But editorial decisions are made by the media practitioners and they don't intervene with our news. We just do it as other public service, we choose the stories important to cover.
JOHNNY: And what about radio as a format in China, is it highly valued?
VIOLA: Yes, if you pay attention to audience surveys, you would figure out that in some particular regions, and even in some developed countries, radio is not dying at all. It has loyal listeners and this is happening in China. And we have an increasing audience, listeners who I would say are loyal to the programs. This is global. Because some of them have grown up with programs they like, so they keep close contact with them.
BLADES: Is China Radio International expanding digitally?
VIOLA: The multimedia approach is adopted by almost all radio stations. We have some eyes on the website and social media as well. But the basic stories we cover and the basic service we provide are radio programs. In terms of the digital realm, we would say that coming to digital is decided by your audience.