The Thaiger is the bearer of sad news today as we announce the closure of our provincial Phuket FM radio station. Bad news for the island’s dedicated listeners but good news for The Thaiger.
The station will play its final song over Phuket’s airwaves on June 30, 2019.
In announcing the wrapping up of The Thaiger 102.75 FM, company CEO Tim Newton said it sounded like sad news but was actually an important step in the maturing of brand ‘Thaiger’.
“I know it sounds crazy to turn off the island’s most popular FM station but it’s smart business; we can’t be emotional about it.”
“Whilst The Thaiger 102.75 FM was our launch product the company has swiftly evolved into a more contemporary and profitable online business. We neither owned the frequency or the transmitter so it was never realistically a business we could grow to sell one day.”
“As our website traffic has grown dramatically, the profit-shift has been equally profound. Online is the only media future and we need to continue our investment in the brave new world.”
The Thaiger 102.75 FM first went to air on October 1, 2016. The young company then went on to purchase the digital assets from Phuket Gazette and evolved to become a national online portal with business partner, Singapore-based, DBV.
“Phuket is still where The Thaiger is based and the island is an important part of the Thai economy – we will remain the leader in the island’s local news delivery, in English and Thai languages. But having a Phuket-only radio station just didn’t fit into our national and regional future.”
There’s also been a big shift in the island’s tourist and expat demographics as the numbers of native English speakers continue to dwindle.
“This is just another sign of the island’s growth and maturity, we can’t be complacent to the changes. Tour operators, international schools, hotels and small businesses are adapting to the change – so are we,” said Tim.
Tim Newton started doing radio in 1983 in Melbourne and has been rarely off the radio ever since.
“I love radio, I’ve done just about everything in that side of the industry but, like newspapers, magazines and CDs, FM radio too must step aside to the tsunami of online growth. ”
Breakfast DJ Garry Holden has been the station’s ‘wake up’ man for over a year.
“I have loved being part of the Thaiger family and to be able to wake up Phuket every morning has been something I really love doing. The listeners have been fantastic and I know they’ll be waking up with Garry somewhere else, sometime soon.”
Tim says that Garry stepped up to the plate at an important time for the young radio station.
“Of course we were happy to have Garry on the team. He has been an island favourite a lot longer than I have lived on Phuket. Garry will always be considered a part of our extended Thaiger family.”
Tim says the hardest thing about turning off the popular station is letting down the legion of active listeners.
“We feel really bad about leaving the loyal listeners in the lurch but they have Spotify, iTunes, their own playlists, thousands of online stations and countless local FM stations to choose from – they won’t be lonely.”
“The whole Thaiger radio team did an amazing job – we started with nothing but an idea, with 24 hours a day to fill. That the company has grown into such a large media portal, beyond its provincial radio station roots, is exciting. But now we have to stumble forward, not look backwards.”
The Thaiger 102.75 FM will continue to broadcast its full services up to the final day on June 30, including the island’s only seven-day-a-week local news service.
“We must acknowledge the people that were a part of Thaiger Radio in Phuket for the past two and a half years – Garry, Gerry, Dave, Christine, Donna, Tom, Jay, Al, Darren, Hayden, Sue, Max, Ivan, our dear friends at Feature Story News, our syndication partners and fantastic sponsors that made it all possible.”
Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods
PHOTO: Cook’s Illustrated
Thailand’s Excise Department and Public Health Ministry is considering a levy on salty foods in an attempt to tackle the sodium-rich diets of Thai citizens, and the health consequences.
The director general of the Excise Department, Patchara Anuntasilpa says the tax would be calculated based on the amount of salt in a product, with the proposal being sent to Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana by year end.
Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years.:234 It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly south east Asia and Taiwan. Following widespread recognition of its ability to impart a savoury umami flavor to dishes, it has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks.
“If the tax is approved, we will allow entrepreneurs one or two years to reduce the salt content and launch a less-salty version of their product.”
The World Health Organisation and the UN both recommend taxing foods with a high salt content, saying increased sodium intake leads to high blood pressure, cancer and kidney and heart disease.
The Nation reports however, that while the proposal is to levy the tax on frozen and canned foods, along with processed items such as instant noodles, seasoning such as fish sauce and snacks like potato chips would be excluded.
The Federation of Thai Industries has pledged to cooperate with the government’s effort to improve the health of Thailand’s citizens, but its head Wisit Limluecha says he is not in favour of taxing popular seasonings, snacks, frozen or instant foods.
“Research has found that these foods represent only 20% of what we eat each day, and everyone has different eating habits, so the better solution would be to advise consumers on how to eat healthily.”
Wisit warns that the tax may damage the country’s competitiveness in the food sector both overseas and in Thailand, where imported products are easily available. He also voices concern that small businesses will suffer if unable to afford ingredient and packaging changes.
SOURCE: The Nation
500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies
Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.
Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.
A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.
Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.
“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.
The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.
The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President
“Thai Airways will have to modify its rehabilitation plans to survive in the face of tight competition.” This frank admission by the airline’s president Sumet Damrongchaith.
The national carrier is now carrying a total debt of over 2.45 billion baht and losses of more than 20 billion, despite being able to reduce its debts by 48 billion baht over the past five years.
Sumet says the first step will be to restructure the airline’s management and finances as well as reconsider its plan to spend 1.5 billion baht on 38 new aircraft. He admits the biggest problem is that Thai Airways has low capital but a high debt-to-equity ratio of eight times.
In order to maintain its competitiveness, the carrier will have to reduce its debts versus assets and boost its working capital with support from the ministries of Transport and Finance. Hence, it plans to borrow approximately 3.2 billion baht in fiscal 2020 in line with the budget limit set by the Office of Public Debt Management.
This loan will be taken to support the airline’s investments as well as for its working capital, to update equipment and maintain existing aircraft, but will not be used to repay old debts.
The Nation also reports that the airline is also concerned about maintaining its liquidity because at the end of June this year, its revolving credit line stood at 13.4% of the total revenue forecast for 2019.
Sumet admits that, though the original rehabilitation plan has a set framework, the situation has now changed due to the appreciation of the baht, so in order to achieve goals, the work method has to be redesigned, such as finding a way to procure more passengers.
“We are now in the process of analysing new markets.”
Meanwhile, Thai Aiways’ board chairman Aek-Niti Nitithan-Praphas says the board is reconsidering plans to procure a new fleet taking into consideration the state of the global and domestic economies as well as the US-China trade war.
“The growth of the tourism industry and the airlines’ financial status needs to be reviewed in line with strong competition and routes that are no longer popular. It’s better to carefully revise the plan instead of exposing the airline to greater risk. The target should be reduce expenses by 20%.”
Meanwhile, Thai Airways aims to boost the sale of tickets, find ways of increasing online shopping of duty-free goods and reducing unnecessary expenses by 10%without affecting the quality of service in the last three months of 2019.
The airline is also negotiating the option of cutting down overtime expenses and is looking into curbing losses incurred by it’s semi-budget offshoot Thai Smile by increasing its flying hours to 10.5 hours daily. These steps are expected to help the airline reach breakeven point in the short term.
The airline is also considering long-term goals such roping in more passengers by offering greater benefits to Royal Orchid Plus members, focusing on digital marketing, retiring non-performing assets as well as increasing revenue from related businesses such as kitchens and aircraft repair centres.
SOURCE: The Nation
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