For the fifth time since Solar took over operations of the Radio Philippines Network, Channel 9 will take on a new identity. The all-news network Solar News Channel will move to RPN starting tomorrow, featuring the same programming along with upcoming dialect-based news programs and talk shows.
Meanwhile, its previous iteration ETC has taken over SNC’s place at SBN 21. ETC previously called channel 21 home from 2008-11, and was one of Solar’s erstwhile cable networks to embrace the move to free TV.
Solar’s history with RPN started as a blocktimer in 2007. At that time few people knew about the network’s financial problems. Initially the agreement with Solar was made in hopes of revitalizing RPN. But as the years went by Solar gradually took over RPN’s programming, save for the network’s self-produced ‘Newswatch‘, and by 2010 virtually every program on RPN belonged to Solar Entertainment.
The end came near for RPN when Solar acquired 34% of its shares, after which most of the network’s employees were laid out in favor of Solar’s staff. As it turned out, RPN was absorbed under the Solar umbrella, and ‘Newswatch’ ended production by 2012.
The RPN-Solar block was initially called ‘Prime Shift’, before it transitioned to C/S and then C/S 9. All three iterations were catered to a more masculine audience, and normally featured crime, suspense and reality-based programs. In 2009 it adopted a new identity as Solar TV, adding entertainment and talent-based programs. Then in 2011 the Solar TV name was dropped in favor of ETC, and removed most male-based programs to cater to a more feminine audience.
While the Solar TV name was inactive, Solar executives continued to operate the network in absentia. Then in late 2011 Solar began integrating its own news operations into the fledgling Talk TV network, which eventually evolved into the Solar News Channel. By the middle of the year SNC’s flagship programs ‘Solar Network News‘ and ‘Solar Nightly News‘ were airing on channel 9 in between ETC’s programs, hinting at a possible transfer.
SNC’s move to channel 9 should benefit the said network. With a reputation for delivering straight news without the excesses of sensationalism, the professionally sound approach of SNC is a great alternative against the mainstream networks’ tabloid-based journalism. More importantly, the move to the VHF band will help improve SNC’s reach and clarity, in an effort to become more competitive.
In a few hours Solar News Channel will go on air in its new home. It may have been a daring move by the Solar management to finally go national after a few years of building its news department, but it should be all worth the wait.