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 Home > About Thailand > The Arts > Radio and Television

Radio and Television

Thailand has 480 radio stations. Many fall under the aegis of the governmental Public Relations Department which is responsible for Radio Thailand, the official government broadcasting station, which transmits the local and international news mandatorily broadcast by all Thai stations. Radio Thailand is also the official channel for government information.

Along with the Thai Television Company, Ltd., the Post and Telegraph Department, the Royal Thai Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Police Department, Kasetsart and Chulalongkorn Universities, and the Ministry of Education all operate radio stations. Except for the Education Ministry and Radio Thailand broadcasts, all other stations are commercial and rely heavily on advertising revenue to cover operating costs. Programming tends to resemble the commercial format popular in other countries, with music and talk shows the dominant fare.

In 1955 Thailand was the first country in Southeast Asia to begin the regular television services. Today their are 5 channels including Channel 9 and 11 which are run by the government, Channel 5 and 7 run by the Army leaving Channel 3 as the only Channel run by private enterprise. All stations except channel 11 are commercial.

The programmes therefore must meet with the acceptance and appeal of the audience at large, hence the selection and design of which must be properly done. Variety and talk shows are among the most popular and largely imported from the U.S. television series, the Chinese dramas and the Japanese cartoons. Equally popular are the locally produced serialized drama and the quiz and game shows. Among the younger audiences the U.S. and Japanese cartoons have won a sizable market. Similarly, the local programmes specially designed and created for youth and children are also doing well. Educational programmes which are introduced as a part of the courses offered by the open-university are broadcasted to enthusiastic audiences who pursue their studies for the academic degree through this media. Sports programmes, particularly local and overseas soccer, boxing matches, golfing and snooker from local sources and live telecast from overseas are among some of the items that seem to attract great appeal from the Thai public.

Besides the regular channels, Thailand has at last 10 privately owned cable television programmes which broadcast in both Thai and English.

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