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60 years of broadcasting

FOR 60 years, Shanghai People's Radio Station has broadcast awesome moments in history, revolutionary songs to lift the spirit, commodity prices to keep merchants honest, morning gymnastics to keep citizens fit, comedy-dramas to make residents laughing and in suspense.

It has explained art, astronomy, even the end of feudal marriage in 1950.

Today, the air waves are filled with love songs and call-in shows about love and the vast radio spectrum features everything (almost) under the sun.

This week marks the 60th anniversary of Shanghai People's Radio Station.

Though basic radio faces enormous media competition from the Internet, TV and mobile TV, it's an irreplaceable channel for first-hand information, as in the case of the Sichuan earthquake last year and the savage blizzards of 2008.

Shanghai People's Radio Station was born with the liberation of Shanghai on May 27, 1949. Zou Fanyang, a first-generation radio editor, took notes about this exciting news, which was then read by Shi Yansheng, one of the city's earliest radio hosts.

"I had been waiting for days to read this news," the 80-something Shi recalls. "I was so excited that I couldn't sit down to broadcast."

The thrilling news of liberation quickly spread across the city and large crowds gathered in the streets to welcome the People's Liberation Army.

On the evening of this day 60 years ago, the Shanghai People's Radio Station was founded. Zhou Xinwu was the first director of the station, and his wife Xia Zhiping was the station's first host.

On October 1, 1949, the station also broadcast the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China.

Compared with today's huge spectrum of broadcast bands, in those bygone days there was only one band. But it featured a wide array of programs in addition to daily news reports.

"I was impressed by a daily choral program that featured beautiful revolutionary songs like 'The East Is Red' and 'Unity Is Strength'," Xia says.

As communication was limited, radio was fundamental and instrumental to change. It dramatically changed people's lives.

Audiences once learned about art, astronomy and literature through regular radio lectures.

Radio also broadcast commodity prices to prevent big price swings and market fluctuations caused by manipulation by dishonest merchants.

When China promulgated the Marriage Law in 1950, the radio station launched an interview program to discuss the ending of feudal marriage traditions.

Chen Chun, a veteran radio "voice artist" with more than 50 years' experience, has witnessed dramatic changes in the industry.

"In the early years, we had challenging working conditions," Chen says. "We didn't have much technical support. When we transmitted the radio time signal, our staff had to strike coins on his own to imitate the sounds of a chime or a bell."

Many popular brand programs were produced in the 1980s-1990s, such as the "Weekly Radio Concert," "East Music Award" and the comedy-drama "Wang Xiaomao."

The industry faces competition from television and new media, but radio broadcasting is not expected to pass from the scene because of its live and almost simultaneous coverage of big events, low cost, wide signal coverage, easy access and the popularity of radio call-in shows and talk radio.

"Our successful reports on the Sichuan earthquake and earlier snow storms show the vitality of the radio industry and its big influence," says broadcaster Wang Tao, who received last year's China Gold Mike Prize.

But he calls radio broadcasting "a lonely process" compared with TV hosting, and says few people remember most radio hosts.

"Overnight fame is impossible in radio," says Wang. "Passion and perseverance are the main ingredients to success."

After integrating the resources of the industry, Shanghai Media Group in 2002 set up its Radio Center, which includes a news center and a culture/entertainment center.

The Radio Center has launched a series of programs for the anniversary celebration, including a grand gala, a national radio DJ contest and a forum on radio broadcasting innovation.

The gala with performances by local radio artists, pianist Kong Xiangdong and the Water and Wood band will be aired on Dragon TV at 7:30pm today.

A forum attended by the country's veteran radio producers and media critics looked back on Chinese radio and discussed its future. A book on this forum will be published later this year.

Last night, the Documentary Channel launched a three-part series titled "The Epic Story of Sound" about Shanghai's radio industry. The second two parts can be seen at 8pm today and Friday.

"To satisfy our audience's increasing demands, we will integrate resources from other media platforms," says Lin Luohua, vice president of Shanghai Media Group. "The radio industry needs to change its traditional approach and create some new programs to nurture our loyal audience."

2009 China Fashion Awards on TV

Dragon TV will broadcast the 2009 China Fashion Awards live from Beijing on June 6 at 7:30pm. It is the first time the awards have been hosted outside of Shanghai.

The star-studded gala will feature foreign and domestic entertainment stars, fashion celebrities and designers.

South Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, Hong Kong actor Louis Koo and Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun will perform.

Since its debut in 2003, the ceremony honors people who have made big contributions to China's fashion industry. The gala will feature three fashion shows by designers Anna Sui, Guo Pei and Ji Cheng.

Organized by Enjoyoung Media Co Ltd, the fashion awards is part of the series of media events catering to fashion lovers, says Bao Xiaoqun, general manager of Enjoyoung.

During the 12th Shanghai International Film Festival from June 13 to 21, the media company will present a film exhibition and workshop on women's films at Fudan University.

Enjoyoung plans to broaden its business to new media and e-commerce, and launch more Enjoyoung cinemas and clothing stores in the city.


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