Filed under: Soma Norodom
On December 8, 2011 I had the opportunity to interview an icon of Cambodian broadcasting, Mr. Glen Felgate, General Manager of CTN (Cambodian Television Network). With a name like Glen Felgate, I know he is not Khmer, and as a courious journalist, my first question would be; “How did you get the opportunity to create CTN, the #1 television channel in the country, and you are not Khmer.”
Mr. Glen Felgate is British, and has traveled and lived around the world. His father was in the oil business and Glen was able to study in the U.S., at the University of San Francisco, where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications in 1986. In 1993, Glen studied at Highbury College of Technology, in Portsmouth, UK, and received the National Council for the training of Broadcast Journalists Diploma (NCTBJ).
Glen Felgate’s CV is as impressive as a former guest speaker I interviewed last summer, Mr. Ralph Begleiter, former CNN World Correspondent. From his early career as a radio reporter, producer, presenter for BBC local radio and VOA (Voice of America), Glen later worked for Reuters in London. From 1993-2000, Glen was a Senior Producer and Intake Editor, and worked alongside some of media’s biggest names like Nic Robertson and Martin Bell. He has interviewed political leaders including United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, Palentinian Chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The opportunity to create a new television network in Cambodia came in 2002, when Glen was working as a Producer for ESPN & STAR in Singapore. At that time, Mr. Kit Meng, a businessman who established Mobitel, a mobile telecom service, had an idea to launch the very first terrestrial UHF television service in Cambodia. This unknown territory of a new television station would make Glen Felgate accomplished a goal few have tackled and succeeded, and make a name for Kit Meng, now a household name and Cambodia’s richest entrepreneur.
In March 2003, CTN launched in Cambodia and its programming consists of entertainment, educational programmes, documentaries, dramas, sports, and concerts. Today, CTN is the most popular television station in Cambodia, and the 10 other television stations have followed in the style and formats of CTN. During the interview, my comment about the other tv stations mimicking CTN would be considered a form of flattery, and Glen, who was modest, said it was better for the viewers as their competitions have risen up to the standards of good entertainment.
Targeting the younger audience, as Cambodia’s population of adults under the age of 25 is over 60 percent, CTN launched its sister channel, MYTV, in January 2008. MYTV is a commercial-free-to-air television channel aimed primarily music programmes and local teen dramas and educational documentaries. “CTN’s popularity is such that we have had to turn away commercial bookings because of limitations on our air time. MYTV will play a dual role of catering to a demand for new programming from the youth as well as advertisers trying to reach that particular market,” stated Felgate.
CTN is a mass-market television station, while MYTV is the first terrestrial television channel aimed at a niche market. Many listeners anticipated the interview of Glen Felgate that we had questions the day before for him posted from FACEBOOK fans. Several listeners wanted more educational programs from CTN, and one listener asked about the influence of Korean pop stars and their music on young Cambodians, and how this might affect the Khmer culture. Korean music videos and the pop singers are a phenomenon in Asia, especially Cambodia. Glen stated that CTN is not here to change the Cambodian culture, as the wave of K-Pop is all around us. This is what the viewers want to watch, and the reason why CTN is popular, is because they give the viewers programmings requested by them. Another popular types of programs are the Chinese and Korean dramas. This is kind of like the soap operas in the U.S., very addictive. I concur.
After the interview, Glen and I chatted for an hour talking about the media in Cambodia. As a journalist, Glen and I have a lot in common. He initially was only suppose to be in Cambodia for a year, and now it has been 10 years. Time flies when you are having fun, and doing something worthwhile here in Cambodia. Glen Felgate is a pioneer of the Cambodian broadcast industry, and I hope to cross paths with Glen in the future.
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