22 February 2019
DBC owner Wong Cho-bau (inset) is said to be unhappy with the digital radio station's performance. Photos: RTHK. HKEJ
DBC owner Wong Cho-bau (inset) is said to be unhappy with the digital radio station's performance. Photos: RTHK. HKEJ

DBC cuts workforce by 30%; news channel most affected

Digital Broadcasting Corporation (DBC) is laying off 60 employees, cutting the workforce by around 30 percent, amid a “streamlining” of its operations.

Half of the job cuts are in the digital radio station’s news department, according to Apple Daily.

As part of efforts to reallocate resources, DBC will transform its 24-hour news channel — Radio News — into a youth-oriented channel next month.

From Nov. 16, Radio News will have short newscasts only every half an hour, while most of the airtime will be devoted to youth-related programming.   

The decision was said to have been taken as the news channel hasn’t found favor with Wong Cho-bau, a Beijing loyalist and the sole owner of the radio station.

The news department will be left with only 10 staff after the latest round of job cuts.

While DBC will reallocate resources, it will continue to operate all its seven channels.

Resources will be focused on the development of three channels and dbcTV, according to a statement from the station.

The company said it hopes to maintain its competitiveness with a more flexible operation model and a streamlined business as development of digital radio broadcasting in the city has not been satisfactory in general.

Employees from the news channel were surprised and frustrated at the news of the job cuts.

“New programs are still being launched this month, and no one expected the company to announce job cuts all of a sudden,” a DBC employee told Apple Daily.

Under licensing conditions from the Office of the Communication Authority (OFCA), the radio station has to provide seven 24-hour channels including one news and a financial news channel.

OFCA said it hasn’t received any application from DBC on channel restructuring. The radio station is required to receive regulatory approval before it undertakes any major restructuring of its channels.

Loh Chan, chief executive of DBC, told Ming Pao Daily that since the radio station began its operations in 2010, investors have put in a total of nearly HK$500 million in the company.

However, the government has not been proactive enough in promoting the development of the digital radio broadcasting sector, affecting DBC’s financial prospects, he said.

The company is still far away from break-even, according to the report.

DBC now plans to boost its revenue by holding public events and discussions in association with some organizations, Loh said.

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