Radio broadcasting services in Thailand are in transition and face an uncertain future. This situation has arisen from enforcement of the 2010 Frequency Allocation and Telecommunications Business Act and the establishment of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) as a single, combined regulatory body for broadcasting and telecommunications. The Act brings in significant changes through ‘liberalization’ in telecoms and broadcasting markets. Key events expected in the future, such as the implementation of AEC in 2015 and the transformation from analog to digital systems will have significant detrimental impact on the Thai broadcasting industry. These changes will affect 524 AM and FM radio stations and around 7,000 community radio operations. This paper argues that the survival of radio stations in Thailand after 2015 will depend on: 1) Its own history. Formally, Thailand has more than 500 radio stations, all owned by state agencies. Private businesses run stations in the form of concession contracts. These stations are already becoming digitalized. Among nearly 7,000 community radio stations, one quarter are financed and run by local communities. Investing in digital equipment is too expensive for these local community operations. Moreover, modern digital technologies such as smart phones and computers are lacking among the community radio audiences. 2) NBTC could adopt and enforce policy and regulation for promoting free and fair competition.
This paper provides views from different types of radio business and their readiness for the digital transition.
Key Words: digitalization, community radio, broadcasting
Kanyika Shaw, ASEAN Media and Communication Studies and Research Center, Thailand
Stream: Media Studies
This paper is part of the MediAsia2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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