Commercial Radio has cancelled its annual pop song award ceremony citing safety concerns.

The station announced the cancellation of January’s Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation in a Facebook post on Wednesday. The cancellation is unprecedented since the current format was adopted in 1995.

Commercial Radio said it has looked into different plans to ensure the safety of all participants at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation 2018
Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation 2018. Photo: Commercial Radio screenshot.

Protests first sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition law have continued since June. They have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police action, calls for democracy, and anger over Beijing’s encroachment.

Commercial Radio said that 43 awards will be given to winners via other means. “We are sorry that we have yet to find the most appropriate way,” the station said.

The annual awards included a section for fans to vote for their favourite song, as well as their favourite male and female singers. The vote will take place as normal, Commercial Radio said.

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Supporters of the Hong Kong protests have been urging fans to vote for Glory to Hong Kong, a popular protest anthem, in the hope it will bag a prize.

But the song has only been played a few times on air since late November, reported Ming Pao.

RTHK & Metro awards

The cancellation of Commercial Radio’s event came after the RTHK and Metro Radio’s own annual pop song award ceremonies were axed.

Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award Presentation 2018
Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award Presentation 2018. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

RTHK also said that the cancellation was made because of the recent social atmosphere and safety concerns. A special, multi-platform programme will be broadcast in late January next year, RTHK said.

Metro Radio said that although its physical award ceremony will be cancelled, it will be still be carried out online.

TVB’s Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards is the only remaining award presentation ceremony set to go ahead.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.