Hei Ting WONG (University of Pittsburgh), Looking Through Headliner – Can RTHK Become “Hong Kong’s BBC”?, English / 27 pages, April 2017.


This project examines sessions of “current music video” – the combination of music, spoken words, and current issue images – of Headliner, one of Radio Television Hong Kong’s (RTHK) representative yet controversial political commentary programmes. Through studying the use of music for satirical expression which reflects Headliner's politics, this project aims to understand RTHK’s challenges in seeking to attain the status of a “public service broadcaster” (PSB). Beginning as an amateur radio station in 1928, RTHK has been a part of the colonial government since 1929. It has witnessed the social and political changes of Hong Kong, and these changes have affected its status and editorial independence, including the appointments of non-RTHK staff to be the Head of RTHK. In order to avoid political pressure on limiting its production autonomy, RTHK has been attempting to follow the “BBC model” and has sought privatisation since the 1950s; however, and to this day, it is still not an independent media institution. As a result, government officials have scrutinised some RTHK programmes, including Headliner. This project seeks to shed light on the possibility of RTHK’s transition to a “real PSB” in the current, post-Umbrella movement era.

Keywords: Headliner, Radio Television Hong Kong, Cantopop, public service broadcasting