Sunday, August 12, 2012

News Article: CRHK CEO Stephen Chan cancels Eileen Cha’s radio show; Elaine Ng chosen as replacement

Here's another interesting article from this week's issue of Mingpao Magazine.  I'm actually going to hold off on my comments about this article until later, as there have been some updates in the past day or two since this article was published.

(Basically, the latest is that Eileen Cha will be hosting a television program for TVB now that her radio program at CRHK was cancelled.  Hmmm.....).


CRHK CEO Stephen Chan cancels Eileen Cha’s radio show; Elaine Ng chosen as replacement

Translation:  llwy12

Ever since former TVB GM Stephen Chan (陳志雲) became CEO of Commercial Radio (CRHK) back in March, the station has gone through significant changes – to the point that rumors of him doing ‘major housecleaning’ [firing long-time CRHK employees and replacing them with people he favors] have been running rampant for months. Following the departures of CRHK’s head of production Vincent Wong (黃永) as well as artists / hosts Jerry Lamb (林曉峰) and Stephanie Che (車婉婉), it was rumored that singer/DJ Jan Lamb (林海峰) intends to quit as well due to dissatisfaction over the way his brother Jerry Lamb was ‘forced out’ of the station. However none of this seemed to faze ‘CEO Chan’ as he is used to seeing these types of ‘waves’ in his position – his plans to make CRHK a more ‘youthful’ station does not seem to be affected at all. Mr. Chan’s latest ‘target’ in his plans to ‘revamp’ the station is veteran radio personality and HK entertainment guru Eileen Cha (查小欣) – her radio talk show《巴巴閉邊個夠我查篤撐》, which has been on the air for 15 years, has been cancelled and will be replaced by the new radio show 《可圈可點》 hosted by actress Elaine Ng (吳綺莉).

It’s reported that CRHK’s commercial sponsors had already received promotional material introducing Elaine’s show – the timeslot indicated in the material is the exact same slot where Eileen Cha’s show is currently airing, which signified for them that Eileen has officially been ‘kicked out’.

Even though the new radio show doesn’t officially start until August 27th, Elaine Ng has already been preparing for the broadcast, attending various meetings at CRHK and also doing test runs of the program. On Thursday, our [Mingpao] reporters were finally able to catch up with Elaine as she showed up at CRHK’s headquarters to attend a meeting. Upon seeing our reporters waiting for her, Elaine was shocked and immediately made a phone call – a few minutes later, CRHK’s CEO Stephen Chan showed up to ‘help’ her. Asked whether he was ‘reforming’ Eileen Cha’s long-standing radio program, Mr. Chan frankly admitted it, explaining: “The primary reason is because the program has been on the air for a long time already, close to 15 years, so it’s time to rejuvenate it and make it more ‘lively’. The new program will have a different direction and will be much more diversified – in addition to information related to the entertainment industry, it will also dive into other areas as well; it will be more fast-paced and will also include various guest hosts.”

Transferred to ‘behind-the-scenes’ role

Asked whether Elaine Ng will essentially be replacing Eileen Cha then, Mr. Chan replied: “A lot of reports claim that CRHK is ‘firing’ Eileen Cha, but in reality, that’s not the case at all. Eileen will be one of the hosts of the new radio program as well and also will continue to host《娛樂酷辣辣》 [TN: a short ‘newsflash’ type segment summarizing the latest entertainment news headlines]. Also, her ‘professional entertainment critic’ status won’t change and if there are interview segments suited for her, she will continue to do them. Audiences will hear less of her voice on the air, as she will be working on more projects for us behind-the-scenes.” (What types of ‘behind-the-scenes’ projects?) “Tell you more about it later, as there are some new ideas that she will be taking the lead on. Actually, right now there really isn’t a separation between ‘cast’ and ‘crew’ – those behind-the-scenes might jump to the front and help host programs while those formerly in front might do behind-the-scenes work. Eileen has been in this profession for a long time already, so she has deep understanding of the entertainment industry and has her own network.”

Actually, there were already rumors awhile back ago that Eileen Cha’s ‘position’ at CRHK was in danger. An insider at CRHK revealed: “With Eileen Cha’s vast network in the entertainment industry, she should be able to take her show to a higher level, but unfortunately, it has remained quite stagnant. Other than relaying the latest entertainment news, the guests that she has come on her show are usually sought out by the behind-the-scenes crew – plus most of the guests are either singers or TV actors/actresses who usually go on to promote their latest projects. Therefore, our understanding is that CRHK was already seeking to make changes awhile back ago.”

With her regular radio program, Eileen originally had 1 ½ hours of air time all to herself, however with the new changes, her air time will be reduced to less than 30 minutes. The situation is actually very similar to the way CRHK’s former head of production and radio show host Vincent Wong’s air time was significantly reduced a few months ago when his program《在晴朗的一天出發》was cut and he was transferred behind-the-scenes as well – it was rumored at the time that his transfer was CRHK’s way of indirectly ‘forcing’ him out. Asked whether he is afraid that Eileen Cha might quit just like Vincent Wong did, Stephen Chan expressed: “Eileen has been in the industry a long time and is a very mature person. When I told her about the plan, she already knew that she would have other responsibilities to take on. I didn’t sense that she was unhappy about it.”

Happy to be compared

Elaine Ng was asked if she was afraid of constantly being compared to Eileen by the general public, to which she replied: “Eileen is my senior and she has lots of experience, how can I compare to her? If people truly do compare me to her, I would actually be very happy – after all, it’s Eileen!”

Elaine revealed that for the interview segment of her new program, the theme for the first show will be ‘Life Choices’ – she hopes that through candid conversation with her guests, she can bring to light some of the struggles, concerns, regrets, etc. that they had to go through when making certain life choices. Asked if she will invite her own friends as guests, she expressed: “I hope to have a variety of guests on the show – doesn’t matter if they are my friends or not, as everyone has their own life experiences and stories to tell. I actually feel that it’s better to interview non-friends because then you can spend time studying that person and understanding them more – with friends, there’s more pressure because you have to be careful what types of questions you ask and whether they will be unhappy if you ask certain questions. If I don’t know the person, I feel more comfortable asking difficult questions, as I don’t have to worry about whether the person will be mad at me afterwards. I also prefer not to set boundaries as to what questions I can or can’t ask because I feel that’s too limiting – pretty much interviewing for the sake of interviewing, no sparks at all! I’m actually still learning because my personality is more straightforward – I prefer for the interview to be more like a conversation between friends rather than a question and answer session.”

Need to be straightforward and brave

Stephen Chan also praised Elaine for being an enthusiastic person who throws herself completely into her work: “The amount of time and energy she throws into her work left a deep impression on me. She’s truly very passionate about her work – for example, if she’s doing a 30 minute interview, she doesn’t just work for that 30 minutes, but also she spends a lot of time preparing beforehand, having meetings with various people, giving her feedback and suggestions, etc. With this type of work, having enthusiasm is very important.” (How about her personal network?) “Every person has their own personal network and social circle.”

In addition to the interview segments, Elaine will also be doing a live chitchat segment with one of her co-hosts Terry Leung (梁泰來) in which they will discuss some of the ‘hot topics’ of the day. Even though she hasn’t officially started her program yet, Elaine has already expressed that there are many areas where she needs to improve: “During the test runs, I found that there were certain areas where I could make the content more colorful and interesting – also, I realized that I’m a bit long-winded, so that’s one area I’ll need to improve. Also, I tend to hold back a little when I ask questions, so I need to learn to be more straightforward and brave in my questioning.” Asked whether she would avoid topics related to Jackie Chan (成龍), she expressed: “Nope! I’ll still cover the topic. I’m just a normal person, what is there to be afraid of? Doesn’t matter who is the guest or what type of topic – it’s part my job.”

Hacken Lee to co-host a segment

For Elaine Ng’s new program, Stephen Chan plans to invite people from various industries and walks of life to serve as co-hosts. Explaining his plan, Mr. Chan states: “The program will consist of various short segments and so the pace will be quicker, sort of similar to the concept of an entertainment and lifestyle supplement to a magazine, except it will be the radio version. This style is very suitable for the new media toolbar because audiences can skip around to only the segments they are interested in listening to. Some segments will also be available in video format as well. As for seeking out people from various industries and walks of life, that’s because we want to expose audiences to more diverse content and make the listening experience more memorable. “

Even though Mr. Chan refuses to reveal who some of the co-hosts will be, insiders revealed a few ‘names’ that were discussed, such as: singer Hacken Lee (李克勤) – who, even though he has a rocky relationship with CRHK, still agreed to host a segment about life attitude; former singer/actress Cally Kwong (鄺美雲), who will talk about jewelry; singer Leo Ku, who will talk about the latest fashion trends. There will also be segments about topics such as feng shui, social etiquette, etc.

Jan Lamb has not tendered his resignation

Since becoming CRHK CEO, there have been endless rumors of Stephen Chan making significant changes to the station. The latest rumor is that due to Stephen Chan’s intention of reforming’ Chik Chak 903’s musical direction and policies by adding a new ‘artists’ management’ department as well as requiring them to start collecting commission, many of the staff from the 903 station are upset, including veteran DJ and singer Jan Lamb – it is rumored that Jan is thinking about leaving CRHK. Towards this, Mr. Chan expressed: “The rumor about collecting commission is baseless, as there was never any plans for that. As for creating an artists’ management department, the purpose is to more effectively and professionally promote our staff – those who do entertainment-related work as well as those who focus on lifestyle-related projects -- to audiences and sponsors so that they can have more exposure and opportunities outside of CRHK. For example, we have some staff who specialize in particular topics – with more professional and structured management for those staff, perhaps they can venture outside of radio and do some talk shows or even stage performances, which would give them more exposure overall.”

He continues: “As for the rumors of being at odds with Jan Lamb and that he will be leaving CRHK? No such thing! Those are fabricated reports, as I have not received a letter of resignation from Jan.” (So will you truly be ‘reforming’ Chik Chak 903?) “I feel that 903 has always been a station with its own direction and attitude -- its mechanism is effective, as songs are awarded based on airplay and the process is transparent – I don’t see the need for much change in this area. As for whether the format of some music programs need to change – well, I feel that any company needs to constantly be thinking about the possibility of improvement and whether there needs to be new direction in certain areas…there are still some discussions going on right now, however I have no intention of changing 903’s musical direction, as 903 already has its own position and niche.”


CRHK recent changes: Timeline of events

Since becoming CEO of CRHK in March 2012, Stephen Chan has made quite a few changes to the station in the span of 5 months. Some people have expressed dissatisfaction with the changes and quit while others have returned to ‘help out’. Here’s a quick timeline of events:

March 2012
Author / host and former actor Wong Yee Hing (王貽興) was the first person to follow his ‘mentor’ Stephen Chan in joining CRHK – together with Jim Yan (少爺占), he currently hosts the radio program 《讀賣Sunday!》.

April 2012
TVB’s reality show Bride Wannabees《盛女愛作戰》becomes a highly rated overnight sensation. Almost immediately, Stephen Chan hires one of the main ‘stars’ of the show Bonnie (繆婉嫻) as well as ‘life coach’ Winnie to host the newly created radio program 《大龍鳳》.

In addition, Stephen Chan also convinces celebrity chef (and renown host / DJ) So Sze Wong (蘇施黃) to return to CRHK and host 2 new programs.

June 2012
DJ and head of production Vincent Wong (黃永) and assistant deputy chairman Eric Yeung (楊振耀) are forced to withdraw from their hosting responsibilities for 《在晴朗的一天出發》and are transferred to different positions – their show is replaced by 《左右大局》which is hosted by Leung Wai Ling (李慧玲) and Kwok Chi Yan (郭志仁).

Also, Jerry Lamb and Stephanie Che’s radio show《巴巴閉Afternoon D》is criticized for having low ratings and is abruptedly cancelled at the end of June. Both artists also hosted a weekend show, however after their regular show was cancelled, both of them decided to leave CRHK.

July 2012
Stephen Chan invites Wayne Lai (黎耀祥), Anthony Wong (黃秋生), Elaine Jin (金燕玲), Andy Hui (許志安), Elisa Chan (陳潔玲), Nikki Chow (周麗淇), Alfred Hui (許廷鏗), Kary Ng (吳雨霏), etc. to participate in the special 45th anniversary edition of CRHK’s long-running radio drama 18th Floor, Apartment C 《18樓C座》, in the hopes of attracting a younger audience to tune in to the drama.

August 2012
Eileen Cha’s long-running radio show is cancelled and replaced with Elaine Ng’s new show.


  1. hmm..."I have no intention of changing 903’s musical direction, as 903 already has its own position and niche."

    Will see about that, who know whether SC will turn 903 awards into another JSG rigged awards (Oh the horror of that!)

    On the other hand if SC is willing to push for a 3 radio station joint awards then it'd be awesome. Sorry I don't consider TVB to be one they are a tv station not radio station and have no ways of calculating results credibly not to mention the huge favoritism for their own actors and EEG singers.

    1. @sport3888: I'm sorry, but I can't help thinking that somehow, Stephen Chan is still in 'cahoots' with TVB behind-the-scenes (though in what capacity I can't really pinpoint for sure)....yea, call me a conspiracy theorist if you'd like, but it just seems like too much of a 'coincidence' that some of the people he got rid of are showing up at TVB....

      And I really don't buy the whole thing about Eileen Cha not being unhappy about the changes and that she had actually wanted to do something different -- I mean, her program has been on for 15 years...if she really didn't want to do her program anymore and was "desperate" to work with TVB on a talk show (as some news sources reported), why wait until now to do it? The timing just seems like too much of a coincidence (SC becomes CEO of CRHK and the minute he starts making major changes, Eileen suddenly "doesn't want to do the show anymore"....hmmmm).

      I also agree with you in that I don't believe SC will keep his hands off of 903 the pace he's going now, I would be surprised if we didn't see any changes to the music department within the next couple months.

      I also highly doubt that SC would push for a 3 radio station joint award show because when he was at TVB, he was opposed to this idea when it came up a few years ago, so it doesn't make sense that he would change his mind now all of a sudden. I actually don't think any of the radio stations or TV stations in HK will ever take this step because honestly speaking, it's the least profitable option from a business point of view -- unless the station truly has the goal of developing music for music's sake and doesn't care about profit (which as of right now, none of the stations would ever choose to take this route). I don't think we'll ever see such a concept (joint award show from the 3 radio stations) in HK in our lifetime!

    2. Then how come other places can have joint award of radio stations but no in HK? What do you think is needed for that to happen?

    3. I also feel there's a conspiracy going on between SC and TVB. It'd be really sad to see how SC would mess with 903 awards. That's what I'm most worried about because 903 has the best music award production, and are almost always the first to award those who are talented in music before everyone else.

    4. @sport3888: Well, first off, all the record companies need to be on board because as much as we may not like it, the reality is that all of the record companies (especially the 'big name' ones) have huge influence on the radio stations and TV stations in HK. This is where the biggest difficult lies because to be honest, the record companies are never going to unite together to push for a combined awards ceremony because it's not in their best interests. One combined awards ceremony means several things: 1) the "rules" for choosing who wins what award would change big time, since currently each radio station has their own way of determining this and the standards are different for each -- getting all the stations to agree on 1 criteria will be extremely difficult, especially given that they all seem to play by a different set of rules; 2) one award ceremony means fewer awards (for example, there would only be 1 album of the year type award and 1 winner versus 4-5 similar awards with each of the stations and possibly 4-5 different winners. Fewer awards to go around means fewer artists will get awards which also means that the record companies will get less money, since an award usually brings some type of profit to the artist and company in some way, shape, or form (be it more performance opportunities, commercials, higher salaries, or just plain more noteriety, etc.); 3) the record companies can no longer enjoy the 'privilege' they have now of influencing the awards ceremonies by giving certain favors / benefits, etc. behind-the-scenes / under the table in 'exchange' for awards (despite what the record companies and radio/TV stations might say, it's obvious that these types of 'bribes' and such does happen, it's just done in a way that is borderline legal so that they can't get in trouble for it)....the leverage that these record companies 'enjoy' is definitely not something that they would be willing to give up that easily....

      Personally, with the way the entertainment industry is right now, a combined awards ceremony will never happen because the HK music industry isn't united enough and probably won't be in the future -- everyone is looking out for their best interests only and could care less what happens to others. The whole 'unity' thing is actually one of the things that many of the veteran singers have 'complained' about consistently -- many of them lament that the HK music industry isn't as united as it was back in like the 80s and 90s because more and more, everyone is looking at making a profit as more important than making music for music's sake (plus the HK music industry lost many of the 'big name' artists who really had the ability to influence everyone to come together and unite for a cause --there are very few of these types of artists left in the industry and by themselves, they can only do so much...)