hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

The Sad Saga of Wave 891 and Natural 97.9

Wave 891 went back to basics in September, beginning with a return to their old logo from 2008 and a revised programming format. (Logo courtesy of Tiger22 Media Corporation)

103.5 K-Lite is not the only radio station that is suffering from an identity crisis.

K-Lite’s sister station Wave 891 and Natural 97.9 are also enduring the same fate. Like K-Lite, both stations have shifted from one format to another while maintaining their on-air identity.

Just last month, Wave 891 decided to reformat anew. While they retained their brand of hip-hop, RnB and urban music, they cleaned house by reverting back to their 2008-13 logo, replacing the likes of King DJ Logan with younger, less experienced voices, and restructuring their program lineup.

The revamp on the Wave camp came as a result of rising costs in both talent and programming. As a result, ‘Tsunamix’, ‘Soul Review Countdown’ and ‘The Rowdy Empire’ were axed in favor of new programs, the schedules of which can be viewed on the official Wave 891 Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Natural 97.9 was off to an inauspicious start. After 14 years as the adult contemporary station Home Radio, they reformatted to a hybrid ‘masa’ and Top 40 sound last March, keeping the Home Radio name in the process.

But amid backlash from once-loyal Home Radio listeners, the management finally gave in to pressure, and dropped the Home Radio name in favor of its slogan Natural. The makeover didn’t stop there however, as they reformatted into a traditional Top 40 sound akin to Magic 89.9, Monster Radio RX 93.1 and 99.5 Play FM, just in time for the arrival of musicians Duncan Ramos and Jimmy Bondoc to the station.

Both Wave 891 and Natural 97.9 now realize how difficult it is to compete in an industry that is gradually declining in quality. With ‘masa’ stations obliterating the landscape one-by-one, it is clear that the more specific genre-based radio stations are at a disadvantage, especially with the popularity of digital downloading and MP3 players.

That said, it will be a more daunting task now for both stations to stay alive in the light of continuous changes within the music industry.

Whether or not their new formats will last in the long term remain to be seen. But for now, listeners should look forward to a different brew on Wave 891 and Natural 97.9.


73 thoughts on “The Sad Saga of Wave 891 and Natural 97.9

  1. RGG says:

    The Aliw-onwed Natural will finally have its first countdown show named “Today’s HOTTEST HITS 24/7 Nationwide”. Time will tell when it will have any impact on Natural’s active listener count.

    Wave has entered the ‘throwback’ competition on Philippine FM radio with the launch of ‘B.I.T.D. (Back In The Day) Wednesday’, which Wave will air only older hits on Wednesdays. Wave also has a new jingle. Wave too has a new countdown segment on ‘The Wild Side’ named ‘Throw Down’, listing the top 10 urban singles of the week, regardless of the singles’ first release to shelves.

    • Good for Natural as they try to establish themselves as a Top 40 station.

      Actually, Wave is no stranger to all-day throwback programming. In fact, they used to have Wave Back Wednesdays prior to last year’s move to Fridays. They simply went back to Wednesdays just to oppose RX’s Riot again.

      In essence, Wave simply went back to basics, and the revival of the old logo explains why.

  2. James says:

    If they went all masa in the first place, it would have been better for Home Radio to just drop everything off including the name itself from the very start. They may have thought the transitioning to a new format while retaining the old name would be smooth sailing as they were supposedly attracting the same demo of listeners as the rest of the masa stations.

    No use trying to retain long-time listeners while attracting new ones. It just doesn’t work that way.

  3. James Ty III says:

    In faIrness to Wave, they kept a lot of their old DJs and got only one new DJ in Margaux, who handles the 3-6 pm time slot.

    Aside from Logan, other Wave DJs who left the station were Ron Poe, Kel, Marlon, Jada, George and Pam. George is now on K Lite on weekends while Jada moved to Jam 88.3.

  4. Nameless says:

    This article was written 1 month ago. And today is November 2014 na, and since last week, parang ibinalik na rin ng Natural 97.9 ‘yung monicker na “Home Radio” eh. So ‘yung official name nila seems like (based on what I heard): “Natural 97.9 Home Radio”. Despite their ala-Play FM na playlist with matching few OPM hits sometimes, parang nahihirapan ako sa condition nila on identity problem. And their theme song, since they’re on a Tag-Lish medium, they should change its Tagalog lyrics. But this station is much better than those pang-masa frequencies, if you’re looking for an alternative one.

    Parang present pa rin sina KC Montero sa Wave 89.1 but sad to say, they are now playing some Tagalog rap songs like “Biglang Liko” regularly.

    • Confused talaga itong Aliw, period. They’re fine with the Natural name, pero they seem to not get over with Home Radio.

      As for Wave, ok lang na magpatugtog sila ng Tagalog rap songs, dahil sariling atin naman nito. Dapat laging proud tayo sa OPM music, whether we like it or not.

  5. James Ty III says:

    King DJ Logan appears to be more at home in Retro 105.9 than Wave 891. He obviously likes retro music more than R&B. And he finds himself competing versus his former Wave co-host Chiqui Lacson.

  6. James Ty III says:

    As I posted before, Sgt. Pepper is the new station manager of Wave. The station still plays the same hip hop and RNB tunes but it is now pronounced as Wave 89.1 and has discarded the old station ID and jingle sung by Jay R. As for the DJs and programming, it’s still the same.

  7. James Ty III says:

    Someone just told me that Wave 89.1 has started to play some pop music since Sgt. Pepper became station manager.

      • JRDV says:

        Magic 3.0 na ba ito sa Wave? The Veras are getting more and more desperate. They can’t even manage its five FM stations properly. Mabuti pa ang three FM stations ng MBC, not only that they are well-managed, but also making lots of money as well, despite the resignation of Chico Loco and the absence of Papa Jack. Much better for Veras to divest one of their stations.

  8. James Ty III says:

    I just got word from Pinoy Exchange that Back in the Day Wednesday has been scrapped by Wave and its DJs now go on board for four hours daily. Another change under Sgt. Pepper’s management.

  9. James Ty III says:

    Based on the Facebook page of Wave, the station’s logo has been changed. It’s now WAVE 89.1. One of the changes under new station manager Sgt. Pepper.

  10. James Ty III says:

    Here is the new DJ sked of Wave 89.1:

    10-2 pm DJ CODY and GEE CANLAS
    2-6 pm ANNE GOSUICO
    6-10 pm H TOWN
    10-2 am DASH CALZADO
    2-6 am JASON


        Anyways, I was asked to come back, but I believe Sarge will do great with Wave, and I will be supporting that because Im looking at the greater and bigger picture. Pls stay tuned and see what will happen. While Im working on opening my own international stations, I am working w Sarge helping him take Wave to great heights.

        Something Great is happening 🙂

        Thank you for your continued support and I would love to meet you guys sometime.

        God Bless

        InnovAsia Global
        Blockbuster Broadcasting
        Wave 89.1

      • We appreciate you effort sir. And yes, it’s only our opinions to begin with. But we always welcome your rebuttal.

        Hopefully Wave will come out strong with Sarge. There may be criticisms with the format along the way, but that should help motivate the station in the long run. Good luck with that.

  11. robertwave891_fan says:

    I came across this article while searching about the latest happening in Wave. Medyo hirap pa rin tanggapin na iba na format nila, pero sabi nga nila nothing is constant in this world but change. I’ve been an avid listener of Wave since 2003, panahon pa ni Joe 🙂 I really liked their format back then, easy listening and of course their dreamsounds, which I really misses (madalas kong gamit na background music pag kausap si crush ^_^) sayang lang talaga at nawala na yung mga ganitong music nila except Sundays. Talaga bang nasa Wave pa si Jason? kasi kahit madaling araw mix music pa rin napapakinggan ko.

    • I’m not sure if he’s still there. Regardless, Wave appears to take on a more pop-oriented route after so many years playing RnB and later hip-hop. The Veras wanted more money, kaya ginawang mostly-pop ang format ng Wave once Sgt. Pepper came in.

      • robertwave891_fan says:

        Haay… pag business talaga ang pinagusapan wala ka magagawa. Sayang lang talaga yung dati nilang format. I just listened last Sunday, and it seems pati yung sunday slow down nila eh wala na rin quiet storm na lang yata ang meron, baka evnetually mawala na rin yun. Wave will not be the same anymore, imbes na ma-relax ka tuwing midnight dahil sa dreamsounds nila ayun, madaling araw na hip hop pa rin ang tugtog. Iba pa rin talaga yung wave dati, 10PM pa lang dreamsounds na until 4AM minsan hanggang 6AM pa, tapos every Wednesday wave back, classic songs and of course mga dating DJ’s especially kay Pam. 🙂

      • True that. Halatang ginagaya na ng mga Veras ang scheme ng MBC, albeit in a more upper class style. Wave is more like Easy Rock in that they seem to play a different format, but when you listen, mukhang pareho naman sa kapatid niyang istasyon.

      • JRDV says:

        oh well, it’s hard for the Veras to manage five FM stations in the Metro, unlike sa MBC na stuck pa rin with just three.

        when the time comes, they should divest one of its loss-making stations and sell that to another company (like Brigada, Viva or others).

      • We’ve been emphasizing that for awhile. Sell any of their existing stations in favor of new owners, such as the hard-luck Brigada team.

  12. robertwave891_fan says:

    Hanggang 2009 lang pala si Lindy naging part ng Wave pero minsan naririnig ko pa rin yung voice niya as voice over sa mga ads nila. And Sgt. Pepper pala was with 103.5 bago siya naging Wave. Hmm, so pag-take over niya dun nagsimula baguhin yung image ng Wave? Haay, sayang talaga. Sabi ni HTown, Wave doesn’t have any problems with keeping up with the market then why changed it?

    • Pepper then went to Retro 105.9 for a brief while, but it didn’t work out. And I agree with HTown. It doesn’t make sense for Wave to become more ‘pop’ in the vein of its sister stations. Parang Easy Rock na ang dating nila pagdating sa format change na ito.

      • James Ty III says:

        Former Wave jock Anne is now with 97.9 Home Radio. She handles the 6-10 am time slot.

        Pepper is making Wave a Magic and Play FM clone because he used to work for both those stations before he went on a long leave from radio only to be lured back by Retro when he made a guest appearance on SRO.

  13. James Ty III says:

    Speaking of PLAY FM, former NCAA courtside reporter and one-time PTV newscaster Bianca Saldua is now a PLAY FM jock. She started handling the 12 nn to 3 pm time slot today.

    • Going back to Wave (more appropriate since this article is about that station), we might as well rename that station at this point. Since Wave 891 WAS about RNB and hip-hop, they should have made a name change if they were to make it a pop station. It doesn’t make sense to hear the name Wave 891 as a pop-oriented station. Same thing goes with Easy Rock when they were renamed from WRock after the MBC purchase.

      • James Ty III says:

        Agreed. Sgt. Pepper is an example of a station manager who wants to make Wave earn just like its other sister stations.

      • JRDV says:

        Oh well. Wave 891 = Vera’s desperate attempt to mimic MBC’s Easy Rock. The Veras are now getting more desparate. Baka sa susunod, for sale na ang mga himpilan nila except 89.9.

  14. robertwave891_fan says:

    Yeah, I guess a name change is appropriate since kung follower ka nila ever since they early 2000’s pag sinabing Wave RnB, Hip-hop and dream sounds. 🙂 I’ve heard of Pepper’s name way back 90’s I think bago siya naging Magic nag 93.9 DWKC (I am not 100% sure though)

    • Same thing also goes to Home Radio. The name was synonymous with the AC music format they used to have. Now as a Top 40/CHR station, it doesn’t make sense anymore.

      Kung magbabago ka ng format, palitan rin ang pangalan. Simple as that.

      • JRDV says:

        About Home Radio, kahit sabihin natin na ang kanilang pangalan is synonymous to the AC format, Home Radio Cebu and Home Radio Davao were already Top 40/CHR stations before the disastrous Home Radio Natural rebranding.

        Sa totoo lang, Home Radio is now trying its best to fill in to the Top 40 bandwagon, unlike on its first year as Home Radio Natural na gustong sumali sa masa bandwagon, pero hindi kinaya dahil sa sobrang dami ng competitors.

  15. James Ty III says:

    I think Wave should change its name to Hit 89.1. I remember, 99.5 RT used to be 99.5 Hit FM before it moved back to RT and now, Play.

      • badofilada says:

        Kaso nga lang, baka magalit mga R&B at hip hop fans, kung bakit pinarerename yung 89.1.

      • Dapat magalit rin sila kung bakit ginagawang pop station ang 89.1. It’s just right for the said station to rename itself if they pursue a format change in order to preserve the legacy of one incarnation. Kung pinalit ang format pero hindi ang pangalan, maraming consequences ang mangyayari. Just look at Home Radio as an example.

        Wave’s problems are similar to the one faced by NU 107 in its final weeks. Konti lang ang audience ng rock and alternative music, and with declining ad revenues, walang choice kundi ipasara ang NU and reformat into a masa station. Same thing goes to Wave, they can’t go on forever with hip-hop and RNB because they have fewer fans than pop or Hot AC music.

  16. James Ty III says:

    Bado, haven’t you noticed that Wave 89.1 is playing a lot of pop hits like those being heard on Magic and Play FM? That’s because they’re all sister stations.

      • JRDV says:

        Format-wise, ganyan nga. Yung Easy Rock, since 2012, halos parehas lang ang playlist ng Easy Rock sa Love Radio kahit Just The Rite Rock ang slogan at Easy Rock ang pangalan. Fast forward to 2015, gustong maging Magic ang Wave 89.1 dahil sa pop playlist.

        This proves that the Veras now want to mimic MBC, but on a desperate move after another. Selling 103.5 to Brigada or 89.1 to Viva would do the trick.

  17. James Ty III says:

    Hip hop and RNB music is not that much accepted kasi by many listeners. They would rather listen to bubblegum pop.

    • In short, it’s an underground but a booming industry. Jeepneys with loud sound systems tend to play indie hiphop and RNB songs. However, lack of mainstream recognition in the country is hindering it.

    • JRDV says:

      blame masa stations and technology for that. sa susunod, for sale na ang mga himpilan ng Vera at may mga magsusulputang buyers like Brigada and Viva.

      • Not to mention pirated recordings na pine-play sa mga jeepney at mga mumurahing parties. Yung genre ng hiphop at RNB umuusbong na sa underground all because of pirated recording techniques.

  18. badofilada says:

    Expected na ipe-play din ng Wave yung One Direction, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, and the other pop artists.

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