Thai Time not ready to fold up
New investors sought in order to continue broadcasting
The curtain might have fallen on the Thai Time news programme on FM 94, but the news agency is ready to talk with interested "open-minded" investors, the news agency's director Piroon Chatwanichkul said yesterday.
During a joint press conference with GMM Media's managing director Saithip Montrikul Na Ayudhaya, Piroon said the cancellation of the five-month-old programme was due to money troubles and not politics. "Nobody ordered Thai Time to shut-up shop. We provided balanced news stories. We also gave both the opposition and the government a platform to voice their opinions," he said.
He denied news reports that caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and GMM Grammy Plc chairman Paiboon Damrongchaitham had discussed cancelling the programme.
Saithip said Open Radio's income had failed to meet its target since it opened on January 1. Moreover, while the news station required Bt10 million a month, Thai Time's programme received only 10-20 per cent of the targeted commercial spots in its first two months of airtime. She said at the moment no decision had been made regarding what kind of programmes would be aired by the station to replace its news programmes.
However, the company has had a better track record with entertainment programming.
Piroon said he would like to hold talks with interested investors, with the exception of FM 94.25, which he said he would refuse any offers from.
FM 94.25 is a community radio station that is noted for its pro-government and anti-opposition standpoint.
He said his 30-year friendship with Paiboon was still in place despite the fact that the agency will no longer be professionally associated with GMM. Piroon said on Wednesday that Thai Time reports for the Open Radio station and the decision about using Thai Time is solely up to GMM.
Reacting to the news that the Campaign for Popular Media Reform had offered its help, he said finding a new radio station for the agency to air its programme would be the best way to help at the moment.
He said the agency would take good care of its personnel who will lose their jobs.
The radio station was expected to be pro-government because of Paiboon's close relationship with Thaksin.
However, the programmes provided by Thai Time often invited individuals who held anti-government views to appear as guests on its chat shows.
Two journalists turned radio hosts, Yuwadee Thanyasiri and Ampa Santimethaneedol,
cancelled their programmes in March amid criticism they were being influenced by pro-government politics. They denied the reports.