By Lee Tae-hoon
Lawmakers criticized public broadcaster KTV over its lack of popular appeal, Monday, saying that tens of millions of dollars are wasted by the state policy promotion agency.
The viewer rating of the 10 year-old channel in 2008 stood at a mere 0.069 percent, much lower than the industry average of 0.161 percent, according to independent lawmaker Song Hun-suk.
"Taxpayers' precious money has been poured into the station. Yet, its outcome has been completely devastating", Song said.
"KTV, whose operating costs reached 20.2 billion won ($17.2 million) last year, must improve its management and broaden its appeal to the public".
Rep. Han Sun-kyo of the governing Grand National Party also criticized KTV for its poor rating, saying the station does not have its own identity or appealing shows.
"YTN is known for its uncut, uncensored approach and MBN is recognized for its extensive coverage of the economy and stocks", Han said.
"In order for KTV to raise consumer awareness, it should develop unique programs that can take advantage of its strength as a channel that can comprehensively deal with national policies".
The viewer ratings of YTN and MBN were 0.46 percent and 0.33 percent, respectively, as of August, according to Han.
The lawmaker also said KTV should incorporate more cultural programs, which currently account for only 11.5 percent of its total shows.
The shutdown of KTV was one of President Lee Myung-bak's policy proposals during his campaign in December 2007.
Its budget, however, was increased in 2008 by 1.6 billion won and it has been airing President Lee's national addresses on a regular basis.