Philippines, radio, Uncategorized

Why W-Rock is Still Better than Easy Rock

In 2008, the Manila Broadcasting Company acquired the 96.3 frequency and renamed it Easy Rock. Though it shares a similar format as its previous incarnation W-Rock, it increasingly started to add songs from the Hot AC category that sister stations Yes! FM and Love Radio use. (Logo courtesy of Manila Broadcasting Company)

Before the Manila Broadcasting Company acquired the 96.3 frequency in Metro Manila, 96.3 W-Rock was the station of choice for a majority of the white collar, upper class audience. The format is basic and straight-forward, consisting of a combination of classic and modern hits from the Adult Contemporary and soft rock formats. On Fridays, older listeners tune in to Friday Classics, featuring hits from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. At 8 am and 8 pm, ballads and mid-tempo singles gave way to dance tracks, courtesy of the program Past Dance. And at 3:30 pm, listeners enjoy three straight songs from the same artist or band, known as Three of a Kind. In 2008 however, a change of ownership and style was about to unfold.

That year, ACWS-United Broadcasting Network sold the 96.3 frequency to the Manila Broadcasting Company. Subsequently the W-Rock name was dropped and MBC adopted the station name Easy Rock on the said frequency. W-Rock was briefly revived as an online station before it closed shop two years later. At first, Easy Rock featured almost the same playlist as its predecessor, along with a ‘less talk, more music’ feel, but for the past few years, they deemphasized up-and-coming and current AC hits in favor of older songs, some of which go as far as the 1970s. In addition, on-air jocks were also being used in an effort to widen their audience. This ‘change’ made me wonder if Easy Rock had turned into a ‘pang-masa’ station.

Listening to Easy Rock lately has been unbearable. They added songs that are more for the masses than for the upper class. To think that Easy Rock is a lite rock station is both an insult and a disgrace. MBC, who built 101.1 Yes! FM and 90.7 Love Radio to the top of the Philippine radio hierarchy, seem to influence the evolving playlist of Easy Rock. They managed to relegate some of current and modern AC songs in favor of power ballads such as those from Nazareth, Scorpions and Air Supply. Such a change made me realize that Easy Rock is becoming a more manipulated clone of MBC’s two other stations, albeit in a softer format.

In contrast, W-Rock features only a playlist aimed for A, B and C social classes. The latter is also well-polished, sweet and pleasant to listen to. In fact, back in my youth, I grew up listening to W-Rock because of its ‘less talk, more music’ feel, which means that music is the star of the station rather than the on-air personality. W-Rock’s playlist is also incomparable. You can listen to a pop ballad by a 90s boyband such as the Backstreet Boys first, then follow it up with a classic hit single from either the 80s or the late 70s, and so on. And they feature none of the excesses aimed at the masses. So when it comes to the best combination of the classic and modern Adult Contemporary playlist, W-Rock is the best.

To this day, I continue to despise Easy Rock for its adoption of a softer, older and less controversial playlist from its sister stations at MBC. And even with W-Rock already faded into history, it remains an influential station for listeners who still enjoy its playlist and approach.

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57 thoughts on “Why W-Rock is Still Better than Easy Rock

  1. James Ty III says:

    With the current format of Easy Rock, I won’t be surprised if Deo Macalma, Joe Taruc and Angelo Palmones of DZRH on that station. After all, there’s Radyo Singko already.

  2. Since the last 2 years, its playlist has downsized, removing most of the great songs & retained only the songs fit for the masses. Unfortunately…

      • James Ty III says:

        MBC kasi is after the money. Stations with pang-masa formats are the ones that really click with advertisers. MBC has pioneered in that format kaya it’s not surprising why ganito ang ginawa nila sa Easy Rock. Many of Easy Rock’s DJs worked with Yes and Love before.

  3. James Ty III says:

    Kaya nga nakakasawang pakinggan ang music sa Easy Rock. Si Justin Taylor na isa sa mga DJs nila, galing Yes FM dati.

  4. Nameless says:

    96.3FM became a junk station for me nowadays because of MBC’s acquisition. Masyadong friendly sa masa itong MBC. Why they don’t try to compete w/ Tiger22’s stations na mas focusing on today’s teenagers or sa 105.1 Crossover na nag-iisa na lang sa ere as All-Jazz Station na tila puro socialite ang listeners?

    • Well, yung MBC naman kasi gustong kumita ng malaki at mag-take advantage ng masa audience. And now that they have three stations at their disposal, they seem to earn more money than ever. As long as they’re earning well, there is no reason for them to give up those three stations.

  5. Another reason why MBC acquired WRock is that they want to expand Love Radio’s playlist, especially the Oldies. One Saturday morning, I surprisingly heard songs from Tina Turner & Johnny Hates Jazz (the not-so-mainstream oldies a few Hot AC stations have, notably Energy FM). Those tracks come from Easy Rock’s playlist.

  6. James Ty III says:

    That’s the only thing nice about Easy Rock. They may have the same songs as their 2 sister stations but they don’t resort to those cheap gimmicks. Some taxi and bus drivers listen to Easy Rock because of the music it plays.

  7. Jake Jacinto says:

    If this is the case, then I don’t know why Easy Rock became the no. 1 FM station “to tune in in the office.”

    At least, here in Cebu, WRock is still alive, and it’s my favorite FM station since 2013 (not Easy Rock). On the other hand, very few Cebuanos listen to 102.7 Easy Rock because of your opinion. They agreed with you. Also, Easy Rock Cebu has very few or no commercials on their breaks, aside from those of ACS Manufacturing Corporation. Even some of my favorite upscale things in Cebu, like Ayala Center Cebu and Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, doesn’t even advertise on Easy Rock. Why won’t they advertise on Easy Rock 102.7 Cebu if their target market is ABC+, just like WRock? Just asking.

    • Indeed. Easy Rock claims they’re a more upscale version of Love and Yes. But MBC’s ‘masa’ mentality is definitely affecting Easy Rock, from the ads to the music they play. It doesn’t really make sense.

      • Jake Jacinto says:

        Actually, I’ve been a WRocK listener since 2002, first by listening to it while riding taxis in Cebu. Today, I really enjoy listening to this station using my 1980’s Sony transistor radio, which my daddy bought at the old White Gold Superstore in 1985. After 30 years, the radio still works, and in our area, Lite Rock is still alive after over 20 years, through 96.3 WRocK Cebu. If you want to reminisce the best of Lite Rock, simply go to this website: http://www.963wrock.com

    • G546 says:

      WRocK Cebu is the sole remaining radio station owned by ACWS-UBN. Following 96.3’s sale to MBC, ACWS-UBN tried to keep WRocK alive as an internet radio service, but lack of listener and financial support forced ACWS-UBN to shutter the service in 2010 along with its Bacolod station DYKR. The year before, ACWS-UBN sold its Davao station DXKR to Trans-Radio Broadcasting Corporation (former owner of 99.5 RT), transforming into 95.5 Hit Radio (DXDJ) whose playlist consists of hits from the 60’s to the 90’s (predating Retro DCG in the classic hits/throwback music radio department in the Philippines).

      I think significant listener loyalty allows WRocK Cebu to keep on the air. That station has an active Facebook fan page.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        Before the loss of WRocK Manila to MBC in 2008, and the closure of WRocK Bacolod and Online in ’10, ACWS-UBN also once had an AM station, DWBC Manila, which operated in 1422 KHz. Since its inception in the 1970s, DWBC was formerly a music station which simulcasted with 96.3 (pre-WRocK era), formerly simulcasting in 940 KHz until the late 70s. DWBC reformatted in 1992 as a pure news and public service AM station. Unfortunately, it closed down in 2007, probably due to lack of operating funds and intense competition from legendary AM leaders DZRH, DZMM, and DZBB.

  8. James Ty III says:

    WRock Cebu has the same concept as the old WRock in Manila before MBC took over the latter. That’s the reason why Cebuanos like that station unlike Easy Rock na sobrang baduy na.

  9. Jake-jake Jacinto says:

    Speaking about the Cebu versions of Easy Rock (102.7) and WRocK (96.3), whenever I read in Sun.Star Cebu (my favorite newspaper in Cebu) ads about local or international singers performing in Cebu, usually in the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, when I check the media partners, I don’t see 102.7 Easy Rock on the list of media partners. Just 96.3 WRocK.

    Even if I don’t like Easy Rock, I also listen to it, but only for FM spying (similar to DXing). The worse part on Easy Rock (all) is that too much ACS Manufacturing Corporation’s products’ radio commercials are being aired on the station, as well as in Love Radio (all) and YES! FM (all). All means all of its stations nationwide.

    For me, it’s OK to have ACS Manufacturing Corporation advertise on the MBC stations, but except Easy Rock. Also, the ad loads of ACS Manufacturing Corporation’s ads in the commercial breaks of YES! FM Cebu (91.5) and Easy Rock Cebu (102.7) are too much, which cheapens these stations.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        The other companies that advertise on Easy Rock 102.7 (and probably also the rest of their stations) include TGP (The Generics Pharmacy), EO (Executive Optical), Biguerlai Tea, and Fujidenzo Appliances.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        Also, I heard another mass-oriented radio commercial on Easy Rock last year for Frooty Pop, a lollipop manufactured by Columbia, the same manufacturers of Potchi Candy.

        I won’t also be surprised if I hear a Maggi Magic Sarap or San Miguel Beer radio commercial being played on Easy Rock someday.

      • Vivo and Coke is also heard on A-C oriented stations like Magic, Play, RX and Mellow. To sound like a ‘masa’ station one can hear a Columbia or an ACS product ad to distinguish them as such.

  10. James Ty III says:

    Kaya nga Easy Rock is becoming pang-masa like Love Radio and YES FM. These products are also advertised on DZRH.

    • If that’s the case, then it is presumed that these products are also being advertised on Win Radio, iFM, Barangay LS, Energy FM and MOR, based on these assumptions.

      About the only good thing for Easy Rock is that they play some songs typically found on CHR and AC stations, albeit lighter ones to fit their theme. As masa-fied as they are, they still find ways to earn listeners with their mix-and-match style. We may disagree on them playing Air Supply, Nazareth and other performers’ songs found on ‘masa’ stations, but they are definitely more distinct because they also play some decently good songs.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        Another thing that a loyal WRocK listener, like me (although I listen to other FM stations except “masa”), would remember is the plug which contains this question, “Why does (artist’s name here) have Lite Rock on his/her/their radio?” The plug was usually aired as the last commercial in some of their commercial breaks, after the usual product ads. In the end of the plug, it’s interestin’ to hear the interviewed personality sing his/her/their rendition of a WRocK station jingle.

      • Some of the singers who did their own version of the WRocK jingle include the likes of Jose Mari Chan, Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Ariel Rivera and Bituin Escalante. Gary Valenciano did a rendition of the Easy Rock jingle last year.

      • Considering Easy Rock’s limited playlist and lack of appreciation for OPM, it’s no secret why they haven’t been able to attract some Pinoy talents to sing their jingles, unlike the WRock days.

  11. Jake-jake Jacinto says:

    That afternoon, while I was about to look for a skin clinic in Cebu City, while I was ‘DXing’ 102.7 Easy Rock Cebu, during its commercial break, I surprisingly heard a radio commercial from Bingo Corned Beef (the commercial’s theme was a community promo in partnership with Love Radio and Yes! FM).

      • James Ty III says:

        Many FX drivers like listening to Easy Rock. It’s simply because it’s from the same people behind Love Radio and YES FM. MBC rules the masa block.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        Then, as what you said, Mr. Sunday aside from almost becoming a Captain Obvious, gets wrong in some facts when posting his thoughts on TV or radio. I think Mr. Sunday is gonna be David Michael Lopez’s peg, though I don’t know if he’s using Wikipedia.

        I think there needs to be rules and regulations here in this blog. Ako nga, I’m trying my best to learn from my previous mistakes in this blog (ex.: comparing an 80’s show and “Gandang Gabi Vice”), and I have long been promising not to do those wrongdoings again.

      • Mr. Sunday won’t learn anything from his past mistakes. He would always state the obvious each and every comment and post, all because what he’s doing is go chase some ladies during a UAAP, PBA, NCAA or other sporting events instead of using his media pass for more appropriate reasons such as presscons for upcoming shows or movies. He doesn’t deserve to be credited as a showbiz reporter for all his shallow knowledge.

        Same goes to JC. I once called him Mr. News-It-All for he only knows news programming and nothing else. Not only that, he keeps on dragging the conversation by posting very long comments, and he keeps on asking too many questions when in fact he can just research.

        As much as I want to make an article on rules and regulations, I can just reprimand them through the comment box. It’s much easier this way since they can spot it quickly and respond accordingly. And besides, most blogs don’t even have an article about rules and stuff. That said, it would be much better if I can just remind them through comment about these rules.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        Wait a second. I think ”JC” is ”John Uriel Cabarrubias” on Facebook. The only thing I get annoyed to him is his posting of political-related topics in the Pinoy Nostalgia groups, particularly in ”The Other Pinoy Nostalgia Group.”

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  13. Easy Rock is a cheapskate version of Home Radio in their prime, with only an automatic DJ and shuffled music.
    Just like here in Baguio, they put DZRH, then cut it until 8:00 AM.
    I hope MBC upgrade their stations, just not lose their listeners to other stations.

    • Lately, however, Easy Rock has its own DJs. Then again, their playlists are not that formidable and repetitive at times. It’s like a rich man’s Love and Yes with lots of MLTR, Air Supply and David Pomeranz in there.

      Many listeners would be better off listening to Home Radio or even Wish 1075 due to its expansive playlist.

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