International Community Radio Taipei

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ICRT
Logo for ICRT
Broadcast area Taiwan
Branding ICRT FM 100
Slogan The Only English Radio Station in Taiwan
Frequency 100.7 FM (Taipei, Kaohsiung), 100.1 FM (Taichung), 100.8 FM (Chiayi)
First air date 16 April 1979 (previously Armed Forces Network Taiwan)
Format English music
ERP 3× 30 kilowatts
Class
Callsign meaning International Community Radio Taipei
Owner Taipei International Community Cultural Foundation
Website www.icrt.com.tw
International Community Radio Taipei building in Taipei

International Community Radio Taipei (Chinese: 台北國際社區廣播電台; pinyin: Táiběi Guójì Shèqū Guǎngbō Diàntái) (ICRT) is Taiwan's only English-language radio station. Prior to 1979, the station served the U.S. military personnel in Taiwan as the Armed Forces Network Radio Taiwan (AFNRT). When the United States broke diplomatic ties with the Republic of China in 1979, the American business community, with the help of the ROC government, reorganized the station into ICRT.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Prior to 1979, the station served the US military community in Taiwan as the Armed Forces Network Radio Taiwan (AFNRT). After the United States broke diplomatic ties with the Republic of China in 1979, the station was reorganized under the name ICRT by the American business community and the ROC government.

Early Period[edit]

ICRT enjoyed immense popularity during its first fifteen years. The station offered two channels: AM 200 and FM 989. Both channels provided similar content of foreign pop and rock, with the difference that FM100 also had daily five-minute news at the top of every hour, one-hour morning and evening news programs, and three hours of classical music on Sunday nights.

ICRT’s news coverage was renowned. Live top-of-the-hour news segments were broadcast 24 hours-a-day. Members of the news team were often dispatched to report live from the scene of an event. ICRT’s news coverage was also noted for covering controversial or sensitive political topics at a time when Taiwan was just coming out of martial law. In a period heavily dominated by a KMT-leaning media, ICRT gave a voice to the opposition party, facilitating a fair exchange of ideas.

90s[edit]

The station started to suffer from operating challenges in the 1990s. The ROC government liberalized the radio market, forcing ICRT to face competition from other radio stations. AM576's programming lineup became weaker and lacked DJs to cover the entire twenty-four hours of air time, resulting in an automated jukebox system to replace the DJ. Eventually AM576 only broadcast the BBC World Service and CNN Radio and then went permanently off the air in 1999. News coverage in FM100 was gradually downsized. In 2000, ICRT moved from its original location on Yangmingshan to Taipei City.[1]

ICRT Today[edit]

News and Current Affairs[edit]

ICRT provides news throughout the day, beginning with content from the BBC, then moving into an hour-long morning news special, in which the morning crew cover local, international, sport and business news. Beginning at 7am, the station broadcasts five minute news updates at the top of every hour until 8pm.

Taiwan Talk[edit]

In 2012, ICRT launched a new feature called Taiwan Talk, a twice-weekly program designed to enhance ICRT’s local news coverage. Hosted by reporter Eryk Smith up until the end of 2013, the news segment features interviews with members of the local community. Notable past interviewees include Taiwan 2012 presidential candidate Tsai Ying-wen, Indian novelist Pankaj Mishra, National Immigration Agency Director, Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功),[2] and William Stanton (diplomat), the director of the American Institute in Taiwan. Currently the program is hosted by Keith Menconi.

EZ News[edit]

As part of ICRT’s role as a bridge between the foreign and domestic community, two news broadcasts per day are designated EZ News. The vocabulary is deliberately simplified, the reading speed is lowered, and a transcript is provided to aid English learners. In 2012, an extra podcast was added featuring the EZ News broadcast read at an even slower speed.

Game On![edit]

Game On! is a segment focused on developments in the world of videogames. It ran from 2009 to 2014.

Cultural Exchange[edit]

A-Fu Taxi[edit]

A-Fu taxi is a short feature designed to teach simple Chinese. The format is always the same: a foreigner gets into A-Fu’s taxi cab and strikes up a conversation centered around the intended destination. Over the course of this dialogue, A-Fu teaches the foreigner a few Mandarin Chinese words or phrases.

Language Links[edit]

Language Links is a short program designed to teach English vocabulary. It features a dialogue, often humorous in nature, centered around a theme. Key words are then explained in English and Mandarin Chinese. Language Links is also published as an English-learning textbook, in which the dialogues are presented in cartoon form, and extended explanations and information on the same theme is given.

We Love Hakka[edit]

“We Love Hakka” is a special program, presented in Mandarin Chinese and English, which aims to introduce Hakka language and culture. Hakka sights, proverbs and cultural events are described in the program, along with a few words in the Hakka language.

Notable Programming[edit]

Jazz Flavors[edit]

Jazz Flavors is a 2-hour, Sunday night show hosted by Bill Thissen. Bill started the show in 1985 and it's the longest-running program on ICRT. The show features the very latest music by the top jazz artists of the day. While mostly consisting of modern jazz, the blues, R&B, Latin and whatever Bill likes is also programmed. The show is broadcast between 8PM and 10PM.

Radio Plays[edit]

In 2012, ICRT teamed up with a Taipei-based drama group, Red Room Radio Redux, to begin production of radio plays. The inaugural production was Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which aired on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.[3] Planned future productions include Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds.

On-air personalities[edit]

DJs[edit]

Joseph Lin, Paul Meador, Joey Chou, Terry Engel

News Team[edit]

Gavin Phipps, Tim Berge, Eric Gau, Jane Lee, Nancy Sun, Keith Menconi, Kassy Cho, Crystal Quimby

Events[edit]

ICRT Bike Day[edit]

ICRT regularly holds "bike days": public events in which hundreds of people gather to cycle on scenic routes across Taiwan. The events are curated by station DJs. ICRT held its first bike day in Tainan in June 2009. Since then, each year a bike day event is held in Northern, Central and Southern Taiwan respectively. In the four years since its inception, the ICRT Bike Day has been held 11 times.

Battle of the Bands[edit]

The ICRT Battle of the Bands event has been held six times, beginning in 2007. Local bands are invited to compete in front of a panel of judges and a live audience. The winning band receives a cash prize, musical equipment and the chance to be championed on ICRT. Previous winners of the competition have included High Tide (2008), who went on to perform at the Fuji Rock festival; I.O. (2009), later nominated for "Best Band" and "Best Newcomer" at the Golden Melody Awards; and most recently Trash (2012).

Criticism[edit]

In 2005, ICRT was sharply criticized by members of the Forumosa community for what they viewed as pandering to the local Mandarin-speaking community and abandoning its original audience and programming.

Awards and nominations[edit]

ICRT's Morning Show was the recipient of the 2008 Golden Bell Award in the Community Service category.

Language Links has been twice nominated for a Golden Bell in the Best Segment category.

ICRT's DJ Terry Engel was nominated for a Golden Bell in 2013 as host for his show Metal Mayhem in the Non-Mainstream Music Program category.

References[edit]

  • Fox, Butterfield (May 22, 1979). Taiwan Radio in English Beams Assurances on US Ties. The New York Times, p. A2.
  • Kristof, Nicholas D. (January 4, 1992). The Voice of Taiwan Speaks English. The New York Times, p. 4.
  • Leonard, Andrew (July 1992). Taiwan Twist. Columbia Journalism Review, p. 16.
  • Phipps, Gavin (May 16, 2004). A Quarter Century of Community Radio. Taipei Times, p. 18.

External links[edit]

Source: Pinyin translated by CozyChinese.COM