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Radio Television Hong Kong
TypePublic service broadcasting, radio, television and online broadcasting
Hong Kong
OwnerGovernment of Hong Kong
Key people
Leung Ka-wing (Director of Broadcasting)
Launch date
1928 (radio)
1954 (gained independence from Government Information Services)
1970 (television)
1994 (online)[1]
12 January 2014 (Digital Terrestrial Television Service)
2 April 2016 (Taking over two analogue channels of Asia Television after their licence expired)
Former names
GOW (1928–1929)
ZBW (1929–1948)
Radio Hong Kong (1948–1976)
Official website
Traditional Chinese香港電台
Simplified Chinese香港电台

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) is the public broadcasting service in Hong Kong. GOW, the predecessor to RTHK was established in 1928 as the first broadcasting service in Hong Kong. As a government department under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Government, RTHK's educational, entertainment, and public affairs programmes are broadcast on its seven radio channels and three television channels, as well as commercial television channels.

Unlike other public broadcasters like the BBC and NHK, which are statutory corporations primarily funded by licence fees, RTHK is a government agency directly supported by annual government funding.


Hong Kong RTHK Radio live with Emma's Classical Music Radio Show

The British Hong Kong Government launched its first radio broadcasting station, known as "GOW", on 30 June 1928,[2] with a starting staff of only six people.[3][4] Several name changes occurred over the next few years, and it eventually became known as "Radio Hong Kong" (RHK) (香港廣播電台) in 1948.[3]

In 1949, broadcasting operations were taken over by the Government Information Services (GIS), but by 1954, RHK had managed to establish itself as an independent department. Up until 1966, the radio station was only on-air for three periods during the day; at morning, lunchtime, and evening. This was partly due to many of the presenters being part-time freelancers who had to fit their radio appearances in with their normal daily working schedule.

In 1969, the station's medium wave AM transmitting station was moved from a waterfront site in Hung Hom to the summit of Golden Hill in the New Territories. Although the new transmitters were much more powerful, the mountain-top site proved unsuitable for medium wave transmissions and reception in some areas has remained problematic ever since. In March 1969, RHK moved its headquarters to new purpose-built studios located at Broadcasting House (廣播大廈) in Kowloon Tong.

A Public Affairs Television Unit was established in 1970 to produce TV programmes for required broadcast by independent channels. At that time, RTHK did not have its own television broadcast transmitters.

In 1973, RTHK set up its own radio newsroom. Prior to this, all news had been prepared by Government Information Services staff. Until 1969, headlines were sent to the studios every half-hour by teleprinter from the GIS headquarters in Central District, while the three daily full bulletins were hand-delivered by a messenger. This arrangement became impractical following the move to the new studios in 1969, so initially a GIS newsroom was set up in Broadcasting House. This arrangement also proved unsatisfactory and RTHK's own journalists, who until then had been confined to producing magazine programmes, took over the entire news operation.

In 1976, the station's name was changed to "Radio Television Hong Kong" (RTHK) to reflect its new involvement in television programme production. In the same year, it began to produce educational television programmes for schools after absorbing the previously independent Educational Television Unit.[5][6]

In 1986, RTHK headquarters moved across the road to the former Commercial Television studios, which were renamed Television House. The station's first news and financial news channel, Radio 7, was established in November 1989.

In December 1994, RTHK launched its website and made its television productions, as well as content from its seven radio channels, available online. The website provided live broadcasts as well as a twelve-month archive (with the exception of HKCEE and HKALE broadcasts in RTHK2 due to copyright issues with the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority). The website, presented in English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese, initially offered free news via email three times per day, as well as online content.

In 2013, RTHK trialled and launched a new television channel. To support this new television operation, the government administration increased the station's funding by between HK$300 million and HK$400 million a year.[7]

In April 2016, RTHK took over the analogue channel frequencies of Asia Television (ATV) after the latter's free television licence expired.[8][9]

In March 2017, as the Hong Kong government decided to terminate DAB services in Hong Kong, RTHK said that it would integrate the existing DAB programmes into existing AM and FM radio channels. As the government claimed that RTHK would stop DAB service within six months, meaning DAB service would be terminated no later than 30 September 2017.[10]

With the termination of DAB+ in Hong Kong, RTHK announced in August 2017 that the broadcaster's relay of BBC World Service on Radio 6 would be reduced to 8 hours a day and move to an overnight slot on Radio 4; Radio 6 would instead relay China National Radio's programme 14 which targets Hong Kong. CNR's programme 14 was previously heard on RTHK DAB 2 until DAB services in Hong Kong were shut down.[11][12]

Since 2020, RTHK programmes are no longer broadcast on TVB channels. In February 2021 it announced it would cease entirely relaying BBC World Service radio broadcasts following Chinese government criticism of the BBC.[13] Leung Ka-wing, Director of Broadcasting, said it was his decision to follow Beijing's lead in shutting off BBC, and that "Hong Kong is part of China and Radio Television Hong Kong is a department of the HKSAR Government. The decision has nothing to do with news operations."[14]

In March 2021, it was reported that three executives had left the company within two weeks, two of whom left because they did not want to sign an oath declaring loyalty to the government.[15]



RTHK operates seven radio channels:[16]

Channel name Modulation Frequency Primary language(s) Features
RTHK Radio 1 FM (MHz) 92.6 (Mt. Gough), 94.4 (Kowloon Peak), 93.2 (Cloudy Hill), 93.4 (Castle Peak), 93.6 (Lamma Island), 92.9 (Golden Hill), 93.5 (Beacon Hill) Cantonese News and current affairs, information, phone-in programmes, and general programmes
RTHK Radio 2 FM (MHz) 94.8 (Mt. Gough), 96.9 (Kowloon Peak), 95.3 (Cloudy Hill), 96.4 (Castle Peak), 96.0 (Lamma Island), 95.6 (Golden Hill), 96.3 (Beacon Hill) Cantonese (primary) / Indonesian (additional programme) Arts and culture, entertainment, family and community programmes
RTHK Radio 3 AM
(kHz) 567 (Golden Hill), 1584 (Chung Hum Kok)
(MHz) 97.9 (Happy Valley, Jardine's Lookout, Park View Corner), 106.8 (HK South), 107.8 (Tseung Kwan O), 107.8 (Tin Shui Wai)
English (primary) / Nepali and Urdu (additional programmes) News, popular music, information, economic, sports and education programmes.
RTHK Radio 4 FM (MHz) 97.6 (Mt. Gough), 98.9 (Kowloon Peak), 97.8 (Cloudy Hill), 98.7 (Castle Peak), 98.2 (Lamma Island), 98.4 (Golden Hill), 98.1 (Beacon Hill) English (primary) / Cantonese (secondary) Classical music and fine arts and relay of BBC World Service
RTHK Radio 5 AM
(kHz) 783 (Golden Hill)
(MHz) 92.3 (Tin Shui Wai),95.2 (Happy Valley, Causeway Bay), 99.4 (Tseung Kwan O), 106.8 (Tuen Mun, Yuen Long)
Cantonese Chinese opera, elderly, cultural, education and children programmes
RTHK Radio 6 AM (kHz) 675 (Peng Chau) Cantonese and Mandarin 24-hour relay of China National Radio Hong Kong Edition (formerly a relay of BBC World Service)
RTHK Mandarin Channel AM
(kHz) 621 (Golden Hill)
(MHz) 100.9 (Happy Valley, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Tuen Mun North), 103.3 Tseung Kwan O, Tin Shui Wai)
Mandarin (primary) / other languages (secondary) News and finance, Community Involvement Broadcasting Service (CIBS)

Radio programmes[edit]



RTHK operates three television channels:

Channel (Digital) Channel name Contents Date founded
31 RTHK TV31 (31A for analog viewers) A general channel offering diversified programmes on current affairs, education, information, arts and culture, and minority interests. 13 January 2014 (launched)
2 April 2016 (added-in analog channel)
32 RTHK TV32 A live-event channel covering Legislative Council meetings and other important press conferences, news sports highlights and events of public interests 13 January 2014 (Digital terrestrial Television launched)
33 RTHK TV33 (33A for analog viewers) At launch, it was a simulcast channel of what is now CGTN Documentary. On 29 May 2017, it began relaying the programmes of CCTV-1 13 January 2014 (Digital Terrestrial Television launched)
2 April 2016 (added-in analog channel)

Television programmes[edit]

Public affairs[edit]

RTHK primarily produces public affairs programmes such as Hong Kong Connection (鏗鏘集), Headliner (頭條新聞), A Week in Politics (議事論事), Media Watch (傳媒春秋), Pentaprism (五稜鏡), Access (奉告), The Pulse and Police Report (警訊). These are also broadcast by Hong Kong's three commercial television channels, TVB, ViuTV and HKIBC, in addition to RTHK's own television network. The government has lifted the requirement since March 2020, therefore TVB no longer broadcasts them.


It has also produced TV dramas, including the classic Below the Lion Rock (獅子山下).


RTHK and the Hong Kong Education Bureau jointly produce Educational Television (ETV, 教育電視), a series of educational programmes for primary and secondary students – airing during non-peak hours on RTHK stations. ETV was first broadcast in 1971 for Primary 3 students and was extended to Primary 6 students in 1974. In 1978, it was extended to cover junior secondary (Form 1-Form 3) students. RTHK formerly broadcast these programmes on their stations during non-peak daytime hours.[citation needed]

While school programmes covering the topics of English, Chinese, Mathematics and Mandarin Chinese are provided to both primary and secondary students, Science and Humanities programmes are provided for secondary school students only and General Studies programmes are designed for primary students only.[citation needed]

There has been confusion between ETV and the ETV division of RTHK. Besides school ETV programmes, the ETV division of RTHK produces public educational television programmes for general viewers, such as Road Back (鐵窗邊緣), Anti-Drug Special (毒海浮生), Sex Education (性本善), and Doctor and You (醫生與你).[citation needed]

The nature documentary Biodiversity in Hong Kong (大自然大不同) follows the style of BBC Planet Earth but is narrated in Cantonese. It showcases the ecosystem and biodiversity of Hong Kong. [17]

The high production cost of school ETV programmes was criticised by the Audit Commission. In 2017–18, the production cost of school ETV programmes was a staggering HK$1.58 million per hour.[18]


see RTHK 2020 awards.

RTHK has received multiple awards for its reporting on the 2019 Hong Kong protests, such as from the 50th US International Film and Video Festival, the 2020 New York TV and Film Awards, and the 24th Human Rights Press Awards. [19][20][21]



In 2002, a former Chief Programme Officer was convicted of misconduct in public office. The charges related to approving salary increases for one RTHK employee without complying with procedures.[citation needed]

On 8 June 2006, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of Hong Kong arrested four people on corruption-related charges, including a deputy head of RTHK 2 and a disc jockey, who were arrested for committing scams totalling about HK$70,000 from 1995 to 2001. They were alleged to have conspired and sold scripts for various programmes that they did not write. Another former disc jockey and her mother were alleged to have aided the conspiracy by using their bank accounts by receiving payments from the radio station. All four were arrested and were released on bail.[22]

RTHK was also criticised by the Audit Commission of the Hong Kong Government for its problems on complying with regulations on staff management. The report especially highlighted the misuse of public funds by the RTHK staff on entertainment expenses, overtime claims and the outsourcing of services.[23]

In July 2007, the head of RTHK and Director of Broadcasting was accidentally spotted by a group of journalists in Causeway Bay along with an unidentified female. The journalists were actually waiting for singer Kenny Bee, who was in a nearby restaurant. On seeing the gathered journalists, Chu ducked behind his companion. Photos became the main page headlines in some of the major Hong Kong newspapers the following day. Chu, who was one year due to his official retirement from the government, subsequently decided to seek early retirement in the aftermath.[24]

Investigation and extension of RTHK reporter Nabela Qoser's probation[edit]

Qoser was made known by the public after she sharply and unremittingly questioned Hong Kong officials at press conferences following the 2019 Yuen Long Attack. While supported by many, her three-year long probation as a civil servant was extended by 120 days following a management decision to reopen the investigations on her performance, and she would be dismissed if she rejected the terms.[25] Members of The RTHK Program Staff Union has called the decision “unjustified suppression” and "baseless act derailing from established staff management regulations". Pro-Beijing groups have vilified Qoser, even directing disrespectful and racial slurs at her.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of RTHK". Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
  2. ^ Man 1998, p. 12.
  3. ^ a b "經典重溫頻道 Classics Channel --- 細說歷史 History". RTHK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  4. ^ Ng, Kang-chung (6 November 2018). "Exhibition on Hong Kong public service broadcasting at Heritage Museum in Sha Tin tells story of RTHK". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  5. ^ "經典重溫頻道 Classics Channel – 細說歷史 History". Archived from the original on 1 October 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  6. ^ The British Official Film in South-East Asia: Malaya/Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong
  7. ^ Siu Sai Wo (26 July 2013). "RTHK focuses on new channel". The Standard. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Hong Kong Government Strips ATV of Broadcast License". Variety. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  9. ^ "RTHK invited to provide analog TV service". China Daily. Archived from the original on 28 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  10. ^ Statement of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) on the termination of Digital Audio Broadcasting services Archived 20 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine, RTHK, 28 March 2017
  11. ^ National Radio to replace RTHK's BBC relay Archived 23 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine, RTHK, 11 August 2017
  12. ^ Radio silence: 24-hour broadcast of BBC World Service dropped in Hong Kong Archived 23 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 13 August 2017
  13. ^ "China bans BBC World News from broadcasting". BBC News. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  14. ^ "I followed Beijing's lead on BBC, says RTHK chief - RTHK". news.rthk.hk. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  15. ^ Press, Hong Kong Free (2 March 2021). "New RTHK head takes over after three senior officials quit". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  16. ^ "RTHK corporate brochure 2018" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 September 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  17. ^ "香港電台電視 大自然大不同". www.rthk.hk (in Chinese). Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Radio Television Hong Kong: Provision of programmes (Executive Summary of Director of Audit's Report no. 71 Chapter no. 5, Oct 2018)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  19. ^ "24th Human Rights Press Awards (2020) Winners". Human Rights Press Awards. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  20. ^ "2020 Winners Gallery". New York TV and Film Awards. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  21. ^ "US International Film & Video Festival Award Winners". 50th US International Film & Video Festival Festival. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  22. ^ Albert Wong and Mimi Lau, Four held on RTHK script con Archived 28 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Standard, 8 June 2006
  23. ^ Leslie Kwoh, Lawmakers chide RTHK managers[dead link], The Standard, 13 July 2006
  24. ^ Una So and Diana Lee, RTHK chief quits amid media frenzy Archived 30 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Standard, 10 July 2007
  25. ^ Grundy, Tom (27 September 2020). "RTHK reporter who grilled Hong Kong Chief Exec. Carrie Lam investigated again, probation extended". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  26. ^ "Decision to extend RTHK reporter Nabela Qoser's probation is 'very unfair,' union says". Coconuts. 28 September 2020. Retrieved 28 September 2020.


External links[edit]

Media related to Radio Television Hong Kong at Wikimedia Commons