Radio broadcasting varies all over the world, and in this series of blogs, I will discuss radio in different countries. Our second stop is China – an East Asia country home to 1.4 billion.
The first radio station in China was the Radio Corporation of China (also known as the Osborn Radio Station). American E.G. Osborn started the station in early 1923, but the station was shut down by the Northern Warlords by 1927. Around the same time that the Radio Corporation of China was ending, the first Chinese-run radio station was established in Harbin, China. By early 1927, privately run stations were founded in Shanghai.
During the time Chinese radio was taking off, the new technology heightened the struggle between the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party of China (CPC). In 1928, the Nationalist Party established the first legit infrastructure radio known as the Central Broadcasting System. A few years later in 1940, the CPC found the Yan’an Xinhua Broadcasting station. Over the years, the Central Broadcasting System was renamed to the Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC). Today, BCC is a privately owned company under a government contract. Likewise, Yan’an Xinhua Broadcasting was renamed many times and now is known as the China National Radio (CNR). The CNR currently has 17 channels and streams almost 200 hours a day through satellite.
China Radio International
One international broadcasting station in China is the CRI, China Radio International. This state-owned station was founded in 1941 and has grown to have 32 overseas correspondents. According to the CRI’s website, the first broadcast was aired from a cave, and the newsreader had to frighten away wolves with a flashlight.
The CRI is very popular because it streams over 2,700 hours every day, including 24 hours in English. Unlike other broadcasters, the CRI offers the latest news on current affairs, the economy, culture, politics, and technology. Alongside of English, the CRI streams in 65 different languages and Chinese dialects. The People’s Republic of China, or the state of China, owns the CRI.
The Chinese government has a substantial control over broadcast stations, but it is remarkable how radio in China has grown over the past century. Be sure to check back soon for another article examining radio around the world!
Mitch Levy has spent nearly 30 years in radio and sports broadcasting after earning a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse. Read more of his advice for the radio industry or check out his Twitter!