I was just looking at the ICRT thread with some amusement. I thought it was crap even before they changed the format, or whatever it is they’ve done that ired Maoman and the great god Gus so, so haven’t paid much attention up until now. But one very interesting point emerged and it set me thinking. (Don’t worry, I’ll go back to drinking soon.)
ICRT, as far as I can tell, is a commercial organisation that doesn’t appear to be making any money. It can try to compete on equal terms with every other radio station out there, but instead it has chosen to try and distinguish itself by being the English language station. Now, although I personally don’t like their style of presentation, that’s just my opinion. I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically bad with about trying to be cool or interesting in the eyes of your audience.
The key point that came out in the thread was that having an ‘international’ radio station is not only good for anyone trying to learn English, it’s also an important ‘sales point’ for any country trying to make itself more international. Little things like, for instance, the news hour mean a lot to some people and have a greater value to Taiwan than the money that can be made from advertising in that slot.
So ICRT is important to all of us, not because we are potentially going to listen to it, but because it’s an important part of the infrastucture that makes this island that bit more liveable than it would have been otherwise. It’s because of ICRT that some taxi-drivers speak a little English. It’s because of ICRT that the wife of the president of XYZ corps billion-dollar Taiwan venture doesn’t nag him to close the company down and go back to head office. ICRT is part of the nationwide effort to keep Taiwanese people in language schools, providing employment for a great many of us. And realising that has made me value it a little more.
I don’t have a lot of suggestions of my own, as I’m not a pop-culture person, but surely some of you lot must have some good ideas for ways in which ICRT can please a larger audience?
What kind of programming would you like to see (hear?) that would improve the station for you?
What could they do to increase their attractiveness to advertisers without sinking to the lowest common denominator?
What can they do to attract those fabled government dollars?
What kind of content should they include to maintain the ‘english learners’ audience?
What can YOU or forumosa contribute, other than criticism, that will prevent the loss of a valuable resource? Focus not on what ICRT is, but on what it can be. Imagine that you are starting from scratch and are going to design and plan your own radio station - using your own money.