Hong Kong's Metro Broadcast Corporation and the Shanghai Media Group on the Mainland have established a program and marketing partnership.
Bianca Ma Kin San, Metro Broadcast MD is the driving force behind the deal, expected to commence by the end of June 2006 and to open up opportunities for the station in the Shanghai marketplace.
While details have not been disclosed it is likely to follow the tried and tested "dual hosting" live format used with Radio Guangdong. Ms Ma believes this is the best way of entering the mainland market, as China's tight media regulatory framework does not allow foreign broadcasters to have nationwide coverage.
Since August 2004, Metro Broadcast has been jointly hosting live programs with Radio Guangdong in Guangzhou.
Ms Ma was quoted in the Hong Kong media as saying that six programs jointly hosted with Radio Guangdong, including two live daily broadcasts on the Metro Finance channel and two lifestyle programs for the Metro Showbiz channel reach an audience of 35 million in Guangdong province.
“We don't expect to have full channel broadcasting in China in the near future, but about 10 percent of our Internet radio users come from China,” Ms Ma said in the South China Morning Post newspaper.
[It is worthwhile remembering that while Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 by the British, it, along with Macau has special status as a Special Administrative Region, under the 'One Country, Two Systems' formula to allow for the Communist (Mainland) and Capitalist (Hong Kong and Macau) systems to operate side by side. When it comes to broadcasting, the Communist Party of China uses Radio and TV stations as propaganda outlets and maintains a tight grip on management control, content and censorship. This is an untenable option in Hong Kong. Indeed the current debate over the role of Radio Television Hong Kong in society in the SAR, highlights the difference in the two political systems. The "dual live hosting" approach is however a novel way to conform to standards and requirements. Subjects handled are 'tame' and the program hosts 'trusted' by their respective managements. - Ed]