10 Questions: Joon-ho Lee, President of TBS
Joon-ho Lee considers himself a very lucky man. He began his career as a reporter with KBS, and his appointment as president of TBS (Traffic Broadcasting System) a few years ago means that he will be ending his broadcasting career at the top of his game. But it’s not only his business success that makes him happy. Rather, it’s his conviction that his work is worth doing and is rewarding. In this interview, Mr. Lee shares more about how TBS is providing a valuable service to English-speakers in Korea.
1. In Japan, TBS is the Tokyo Broadcasting System, and in the US, it’s the Turner Broadcasting Station. What is TBS in Korea?
TBS stands for the Traffic Broadcasting System, a media outlet supported by the city of Seoul that encompasses five separate services. First, there’s FM 95.1, a Korean-language radio station which provides information about traffic on the streets of Seoul, among other things. Next, there’s a TBS TV station. More relevant to your readers is 101.3 eFM, an all-English radio station for foreigners in Seoul. We also have TV and radio stations offered on DMB. Up until recently our DMB radio was broadcast in Korean, but in mid-March we switched over to English-language content.
2. Some of our readers might not be sure what DMB is. Can you explain what it is?
Of course. DMB, which means digital media broadcasting, is a Korean technology that allows video and audio to be streamed to mobile devices, car navigation systems, laptops, and other devices. Korean smart phones and even a lot of ordinary phones can use DMB, and it means that you can listen to radio programs without a radio receiver.
3. TBS eFM has only been in operation since late December 2008. How did the radio station come to be?
Our listeners should be grateful to President Myung-bak Lee, who decided that Seoul needed a good English-language radio station. When the Korea Communications Commission sent out a call for businesses to manage the station, we were quick to apply. In the end, our access to information about the city of Seoul and our twenty years of experience in the radio business, along with generous funding promised by Seoul Mayor Se-hoon Oh, helped make our bid successful.