FTT Year 2014 in Review: FM Radio

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the FM radio stations of Metro Manila, with a recap of the news that occurred within the industry.

105.9 Goes Retro

March saw the launch of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM. The station played nothing but classic hits from as far as the 60s to as close as the early 2000s, and featured radio industry veterans as the station’s voices.

Retro 105.9 became an immediate hit with listeners, so much so that other stations took notice of its emergence. As a result of Retro 105.9’s success, these stations either shortened their throwback programs (e.g. Magic 89.9’s ‘Friday Madness’ and Saturday Slam’), or restricted their playlists to cater towards younger listeners, (e.g. RX 93.1’s ‘Riot Wednesday’).

From Big to Win to Wish

June 26 saw the final broadcast of 107.5 Win Radio, as Daniel Razon purchased the station from Manny Luzon. As a result, Luzon was forced to move Win Radio to 91.5, replacing erstwhile sister station Big Radio.

Then on August 10, Razon’s new station was christened as Wish 1075, an adult contemporary station. Wish immediately filled the void vacated by another recently reformatted station.

Home Radio Becomes ‘Natural’ and Back

The original 97.9 Home Radio signed off for the last time on February 28. Then on March 17, Home Radio Natural!, now with a more ‘masa’ playlist and DJs named after fruits, was launched.

What happened next was a saga of rebrands and format changes within 97.9 that baffled the entire FM radio community. First, ‘Home Radio’ was dropped from its name in July, only to bring it back in November, and then in August, the format changed from Hot AC (‘masa’) to Top 40 Contemporary Hit Radio.

K-Lite’s Endless Rebrands, Plus Wave and Play FM’s Continued Problems

Speaking of a saga of rebrands and format changes, 103.5 K-Lite also endured the same routine as Home Radio Natural!, albeit at a more extreme pace. The station went from CHR to classic hits and back to AC, all within a span of eight months, while constantly shuffling its on-air staff.

The issues surrounding K-Lite were not the only problems that Tiger22 faced this year though. 99.5 Play FM again endured some more changes in its on-air staff, while Wave 891 returned to an R&B/rhythmic format after experimenting with a more hip-hop playlist the previous year.

In Other News…

95.5 Pinas FM officially became an all-OPM station in October, becoming the first and only FM radio station in the country to do so.

As mentioned earlier, Magic 89.9 cut short its broadcasts of ‘Friday Madness’ and ‘Saturday Slam’ in June. This paved the way for the three-hour remix programs that followed both blocks: ‘Slamma Jamma’ (Fridays) and ‘Saturday Night Take Over’ (Saturdays).

RX 93.1 also made a change to its throwback block ‘Riot Wednesday’. Gone is the remix program ‘Riot Remix’, while ‘Back to the 80s’ was replaced by ‘Throwback: The Year That Was’.

And finally, Barangay LS 97.1 was reformatted anew, both in programming and in overall presentation. At the same time, GMA decided to rename its regional radio stations to the Barangay brand, in a reverse response to ABS-CBN’s rebranding of 101.9 to the regional stations’ MOR name.

Outlook

An eventful 2014 should be followed by an even more intense 2015, as the Metro’s FM radio stations try to improve from their previous year’s performances. That said, expect more of these shakeups, rebrands and changes once the new year rolls on.

 

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88 thoughts on “FTT Year 2014 in Review: FM Radio

  1. Positive turn-out for Retro and Wish this year, but negative turn-out for Natural & KLite, ganun na rin sa Play FM at Wave. Even 99.5’s all-Red logo, hindi ko gusto. Masyadong cheap na. I guess, si Lil’Joey din ang gumawa ‘nun. 97.9 should be integrated na with 9TV/ CNN next year, in order to reflect ALC’s presence over Aliw, BusinessMirror at RPN. As for KLite, sana bilhin na lang sila ng Viva. Pinas FM should operate in 24 hours na, since they’re more with OPM na eh.

    Next year, Love Radio will turn 40 years na and I predict 2-3 stations will be reformatting again.

  2. You also forgot to mention, Ralph, the departures of a lot of DJs this year like the K Lite DJs who quit after only a few months on the air, as well as Wave DJs moving to other stations.

    Magic 89.9 saw Carla Dunareanu leaving and being replaced by Joyce Pring while Julz Savard was hired by RX as part of its Baddest Chick on Radio search. But Julz is on leave now to concentrate on her recording career with her band Save Me Hollywood.

    • I guess you’re not reading this very well. To make it short, K-Lite, Play and Wave made changes to its on-air staff. Simple as that.

      I didn’t mention names of DJs who left this year because they don’t impact the changes that occurred during the year. Plus I tried to make it as summarized as possible. I did it last year, but not this year.

  3. Any updates on who’s on top of the surveys? parang wala pa ata lumabas for 2014. The last one that came out from AC Nielsen was for October 2013. love radio still undisputed after 12 years, going on 13. For sure, there will be minor changes in the rankings, (top 10 mostly held by masa stations, love, yes, mor, easy rock, i fm, barangay LS, star fm. Win radio. only a few shake ups for those remaining..(usually they only get few points and are only a few points away from each other unlike those in the top 10) with the emergence of dcg fm and the various rebrandings that happened.

    • Usually AGB Nielsen’s focus is on TV. News regarding ratings for radio stations are rare in the country these days, since radio is no longer a primary source of news and entertainment.

    • They’re merely a low-power radio station. If they can acquire a better frequency than their current 104.7, it would help them. Right now, though, they are considered a minor threat.

      • Speaking of which, may plano ang Brigada na maglaunch ng FM stations sa Olongapo at Pampanga. Sa Olongapo, they will use 93.5, but IDK sa Pampanga kung ano ang gagamitin nilang frequency.

        Ewan ko kung may guts sila na kunin ang 103.5.

      • Brigada News Pampanga will use 92.7, according to their website. IDK kung aabot yan ng northern Metro Manila.

  4. My radio has no 104.7 frequency so the signal is very poor. I don’t think it will be a threat to Radyo Singko.

  5. On the ratings game, would it help if those doing the surveys separate the “masa” and “upscale/niche” stations into two separate charts. You really cannot compare the two kinds much less put all of them into one chart. I believe doing this will help the so called ratings game.

    • I think so. It’s unfair comparing niche and upscale stations to the masa one, especially when the latter, which Love Radio belongs, usually have the tendency to boast their claim as the top radio station in all of the Metro.

      • And with so many FM stations with various formats on the air, it’s time to put them into separate ratings. It would be nice to see how Monster Radio, Magic and Play FM fare against each other.

        For me, RX is the leader by a mile because of its other programs aside from its music shows like Heard on Thursdays and RX Concert Series. Magic imitated the latter into Local Vocal.

    • Once you split the charts and thus how stations are pitted against each other and the subsequent ratings, you can change the way you think about FM radio. Will there be a need for constant albeit frequent rebranding and reformatting? Hopefully advertisers will also see it this way after all don’t products / brands also have specific target markets and maybe then no station will be left out of the revenues game.

      • Agree with that. There should be fair competition amongst all radio stations. The Love Radios, Yeses, MORs and Barangay FMs go in one place, while the Magics, RXs and Mellows go in another.

  6. Honestly speaking, I hate those pang-masa stations. Their jokes insult the listeners. Even their radio names are not nice to hear.

  7. As of my writing on this comment wall, Home Radio DJs are now broadcasting in full English. But still, medyo awkward for me because they’re still using their Tagalog theme song of Home Radio in every hour. But I like their mala-Play FM na playlist.

  8. Lil Joey is leaving 99.5 PLAY FM. His last day is today.

    I think PLAY FM will slowly fade away. This station is paying the price of being a clone of Magic. I think it’s time for the Veras to sell the station or better yet, revive 99.5 RT by merging with K Lite. The 103.5 frequency should be given to another owner.

    • Selling both 99.5 and 103.5 is much better for the Veras. Both stations have nowhere to go these days. It’s definitely draining for the Veras if they keep both stations.

    • Aalis na si Lil’ Joey? Ehem. He pioneered everything sa Play FM, lalo na ang kanilang mga naging logo + his signature Top 30 countdown every week. Medyo masamang senyales na ‘to for Play FM, despite being trusted by Hollywood celebs as official media sponsor sa mga Hollywood concerts dito.

  9. Speaking of Magic, Andi 9 has gone on maternity leave and she will be replaced temporarily by Nikko Ramos of Sports5, who regularly goes on board from 2-6 am.

    Over at Monster Radio, almost all of their DJs are on vacation in Japan. The only ones who stayed here were Delamar, Jinri Park, Lexy Angeles, Jay Abastillas and the Radio 1 jocks. Some RX shows like Heard on Thursdays and Countdown Top 7 were replays. Regular programming on RX will resume on Monday after the vacationing DJs arrive tomorrow.

    Julz Savard has resigned already from RX to concentrate on her career as lead singer for the band Save Me Hollywood. RX has hired a new DJ Cara Eriguel who joined Jay in The Daily Survey last Thursday and yesterday.

    Cara is a host on the O Shopping Channel on Skycable.

  10. I think you forgot to mention Jam 88.3’s “Fresh Filter”. For me, that program helps to revive the dying Philippine music industry. It also lets people to discover new Filipino talents, though independent. Most of the songs originally played there are added to the station’s regular playlist & to the Republik playlist every Sunday. The program became a success that it went 4x a week this year from once a week & that it also hosted such event as “Fresh Filter Live”.

  11. Scarlett AKA Menchu Macapagal has left K Lite to concentrate on CNN Philippines. Chalk this up as another bad break for K Lite.

  12. I’ve been wondering about Mellow 94.7 for perhaps the longest time and why they have spinners Mr. Tzing and Mr. V alongside DJs while other stations do not. It appears Mellow DJs are heavily reliant on spinners. What would happen if these DJs transfer to another station for some reason, won’t they become helpless?

  13. Still on FM radio, I’ve noticed that Retro 105.9 is playing mostly music now and their DJs don’t talk much. King DJ Logan has already left.

    I think the problem with Retro is stability. The 105.9 frequency has undergone many changes before Retro came in. If Retro was in a nearer frequency, this instability would not have happened.

    That instability, especially with ads and the change of DJs, was what may have prompted KDL to leave and migrate abroad.

      • Sayang na ang mga niche stations. Blame it all on the popularity of masa stations (and their desire for money), as well as mp3, iPod, music streaming and mobile phones.

      • Technology does kill a radio star kung baga, kaya nagkakaleche-leche na ang FM radio industry sa bansa. The best-case scenario now is to propagate more FM radio stations with a news and talk format like Radyo5 and Brigada FM.

  14. Yung morning show ni Sgt. Pepper sa Retro, he does not talk much unlike King DJ Logan. At wala pang DJ sa 6-10 pm time slot.

    Sa ibang mga stations, nag-resign na si DJ Pat sa Magic 89.9 samantalang inilipat si DJ Margaux Cortez from Wave 891 to 99.5 Play FM.

    • In a few years, news will be the ‘in’ format on FM radio. May technology na tayo for MP3s and music, so for struggling radio stations to adapt to the changing times, a news format is all the more enticing.

      • Yes. It is a good opportunity na gawing mala-Radyo5 o mala-Brigada ang format since may technology na tayo pagdating sa music. In the few years, magaagawan ang Radyo5 at Brigada kung sino ang #1.

      • Indeed. A mostly news format on radio will keep the medium alive in our country. Kahit sa US may mga talk radio na rin sa FM, kaya growing trend na rin ito.

      • Sa US kasi, some FM stations simulcast AM stations. Examples include WFAN-FM in New York simulcasting WFAN-AM, WCFS-FM in Chicago simulcasting WBBM-AM, and KFRC-FM in San Francisco simulcasting KCBS-AM.

        I think na perfect time na rin sa struggling FM stations to simulcast their AM stations na mostly news ang format, since nagstruggle na rin ang AM stations pagdating sa demographics. Younger listeners prefer FM, at may FM tuner na sa most phones, unlike AM. In the future, hindi lang Radyo5 at Brigada News FM ang maghahari, pati na rin ang AM simulcast. I can imagine Home Radio 97.9 simulcasting DWIZ, iFM simulcasting DZXL, Barangay LS simulcasting DZBB, MOR simulcasting DZMM or Love Radio simulcasting DZRH.

  15. MOR hooks up with DZMM kapag may special coverage like bagyo and elections. LS simulcasts with DZBB whenever there is a Manny Pacquiao fight.

    • Now if they can simulcast TV Patrol and 24 Oras on their respective FM stations, the better. As JRDV suggests, it’s high time for FM stations to allot more time to their sisters from AM, considering the former’s advantages and the latter’s limits, not to mention advancements in music technology.

      • I guess that’s the best way for MOR and LS to get more listeners. LS used to be a pop station but they became a masa station because that’s the trend. At least, by hooking up with BB for 24 Oras, they can diversify. Same with MOR hooking up with MM for TV Patrol and also for UAAP basketball and volleyball.

  16. Radyo Singko has already started this trend. The PBA radio coverage was moved to FM so that Sports5 can save money. Before, Sports5 was a blocktimer when the PBA radio coverage was aired on DZSR

    • They didn’t. PBA simply moved from DZSR to Radyo5. We’re talking about simulcasts of AM radio programs on sister FM stations, examples of which are those of ABS, GMA and MBC.

  17. Regarding Brigada, they have acquired 91.5 in Davao from Primax and will broadcast in the first half of this year, just like its two Mega Manila repeaters: 92.7 in Pampanga and 93.5 in Olongapo.

    Kailan kaya i-give up ng Vera ang isa sa mga weak performers nila?

  18. Right now, the Veras are trying to strengthen Wave 89.1. New station manager Sgt. Pepper has moved KC Montero back to the 6 am time slot.

    • Still, they’re increasingly becoming a mirror image of the MBC FM stations. If Magic is Love Radio, and Play is Yes FM, then Wave’s mirror image is Easy Rock.

      • I brought the Vera-MBC comparison just to see how well they mirror each other. For comparisons sake, here are some observations:

        1) Magic and Love Radio (tried and tested formulas in terms of playlists and genres)
        2) Yes FM and Play FM (both copied the older sister’s playlist style)
        3) Wave and Easy Rock (claimed to be different from their sister stations, but are now mimicking their approach)

        That said, it seems that the Veras are borrowing the very model in which MBC’s FM outfits became famous (or controversial) for. Three stations, but one genre to say the least.

      • Whatever happens, MBC will remain the king, ratings-wise and income-wise. For Veras, may Magic stations sila nationwide, but THEY REALLY NEED TO FIX THEIR OPERATIONS IN METRO MANILA FIRST, especially on 103.5.

      • One station too many ang mga Veras, kaya one of them has to go. We’ve been saying this too many times already. Vera-owned stations and MBC, malayo ang agwat nila popularity-wise and structure-wise.

  19. Especially with Wave 891 already becoming an imitation of Magic and Play FM after Sgt. Pepper became its station manager. Wave has already ditched some of its hip-hop and RNB songs, resulting in DJ Anne leaving the station after the Holy Week.

  20. Sgt. Pepper will launch The Bass Hour on Wave starting midnight tonight. Part of the changes he has instituted at Wave since he became station manager. The Bass Hour was also aired before on Magic and Max FM where he was also the station manager.

      • Pepper is trying to bring back what he used to do at Magic. It is obvious that he is trying to make Wave an imitation of Magic. It was also obvious that he was not at home at Retro.

        Probably, he may also want to get his former DJs at Magic and Max FM to join Wave like Andrei Felix.

  21. But if I had a choice, I would prefer Wave over Easy Rock. Wave does not play mushy love songs unlike Easy Rock.

    • I don’t entertain requests, so please refrain from doing so. Kahit si Timow nga on the fly nang nagiisip ng article. You might as well create your own blog if I were you. But with all due respect, I’ll entertain this, pero next time don’t do this again. Pwede kong makuha yung info from the group pages, just don’t make any personal suggestions to me.

      As for Delamar, it’ll be a big loss. That said, RX may need to take some time thinking about her replacement.

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