hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

Home of the Millennials No More: 97.9 Home Radio Returns to Old Easy Listening Format

The final logo of 97.9 Home Radio during the ‘Home of the Millennials’ era. (Logo courtesy of Aliw Broadcasting Corporation)

It is back to basics for 97.9 Home Radio and its affiliates.

After over three years playing both hot adult contemporary and top 40 songs, Aliw Broadcasting Corporation decided to convert Home Radio back to the more popular easy listening format. The unveiling was quiet and unexpected; there was no announcement nor press release to accompany this change.

It can be recalled that in March 2014, Aliw turned Home Radio into a ‘masa’ station akin to more popular standouts such as 90.7 Love Radio. Initially keeping the Home Radio name, Aliw rebranded the station to Natural 97.9, a move that did not sit well with listeners.

In July, the ‘Home Radio’ name was brought back, while any reference to the ‘Natural’ brand was gradually dropped. Along the way, Aliw realized that the ‘masa’ format was not working out, and they decided to convert Home Radio into a contemporary hit radio station similar to those used by Magic 89.9.

Despite some aggressive social media promotion, the use of student DJs, and catchphrases such as ‘Home of the Millennials’ and ‘The Music of Now’, 97.9 Home Radio failed to catch on with the millennial market. Thus another revamp is needed, one that will bring them back to their roots.

Thus on Friday, June 30, the original format of 97.9 Home Radio was brought back, much to the delight of loyal listeners who were disenchanted by the network’s foray into the ‘masa’ and top 40 market. Despite that, the website and social media accounts of the station were not updated as of today, thus putting the station on ‘test broadcast’ mode until further notice.

Still, the prospect of a return to form gave listeners some glimmer of hope. With the emergence of classic hits stations in 104.3 FM2 and Retro 105.9 DCG-FM, Aliw found out that tapping back to the listener market of 30 and older is the best path for Home Radio moving forward.

Listeners can only hope that the return of Home Radio into its familiar adult contemporary format will be one of the most successful comeback stories on Philippine radio. It may be long overdue, but it should be all worth it.

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35 thoughts on “Home of the Millennials No More: 97.9 Home Radio Returns to Old Easy Listening Format

  1. Home Radio is now my official background while doing homework. Aside from Easy Listening here in Legazpi 92.3, they airs news block and the replay of DWIZ’s Pusong Pinoy hosted by Ka Freddie Aguilar that airs every Wednesday from 8:30 to 10:00 pm on 92.3 Home Radio Legazpi.

  2. Jason says:

    Sinu-sino pa la yung mga on-air staff nila ngayon? Hindi na kasi nila in-uupdate yung website and FB page nila eh.

  3. Drew says:

    In other news, Hillbilly Willy silently left as Station Manager of Retro DCG about a month ago. Their 10-2 slot is now vacant. They also seemed to drop Club Retro
    and now only operates 19 hours a day ☹

      • Drew says:

        Retro “encourages” late night listeners to continue online after 12…that’s where they advertise that they are 24/7. Kinda disappointing. They seemed to cut back on a lot of people and programs.

      • Drew says:

        Could it be a sign of a permanent sign-off soon? Correct me if I’m wrong, but some radio stations eventually rely to online streaming, and then they silently kill the switch. Don’t want them to go anywhere anytime soon, though, as I’m a convert from Easy Rock, which also happens to be heavily relying on oldies music (though on a romance-y angle).

      • We’ll never know at this point. As far as Easy Rock is concerned, they’re influenced from parent company MBC’s style, that’s why you’ll hear a lot of Air Supply and MLTR at times (especially during Friday Classic).

        Stations such as Home Radio, RJ 100 and even classic hit stations such as FM2 and Retro 105.9 balance things out by working on a deeper library of songs, something that the masa stations are not used to doing for sake of cheapness.

      • More like sacrificing the quality of music you play for money and ratings. Speaking of which, Easy Rock is on apparent panic mode and even played one of their Christmas jingles and IT’S STILL FREAKING JULY! CHRISTMAS IN JULY ON EASY ROCK!

        And Home Radio plays fewer commercials, unlike Easy Rock with barrage of ACS commercials and MBC promos, which still aired in Tagalog. Home’s new slogan is “It Feels Good To Be Home.”

      • Maybe they wanted to go ahead and play Christmas songs this early. Anyway, there are plenty more AC stations in the market, like RJ 100 and Wish 107.5. Even FM2 and Retro 105.9 are also classified as AC, even though they’re more into the classic hits branch. And WRock in Cebu is also available, provided you have internet.

        There are lots of options than just Home Radio and Easy Rock. And while the market is still on ‘masa’ and CHR, AC is also a format that is growing so to speak, and the return of Home Radio to its roots only adds to the increasing popularity.

    • Interesting comparison. Both stations had to endure plenty of scrutiny once they changed formats that eventually alienated their audience. Now they’re back to what they do best, and it’s a good thing.

  4. And it’s back to the basics on Home Radio. At least easy listening fans who are sick and tired of Easy Rock’s repetitive Love Radio-inspired playlist (MLTR pa more! Air Supply pa more!) have an alternative station to listen to, but on this case, it’s the station that everybody loved, especially WRocK Manila signed off.

    I think I find Home’s current easy listening playlist is somewhat a mix of common easy listening favorites, as well as some songs we’ve never heard of, as well as OPM, including the likes of Ted Ito and Jessa Zaragoza. And I believe Home’s return to easy listening will last long like its first stint as an easy listening station.

  5. Isel Ramos says:

    94.7 Home radio is ok for anyone who wants listen on a radio including younger listeners same with RX 93.1

    • You got it all wrong, Mr. Wrong Grammar. FYI, Home Radio is not at 94.7. That belongs to Mellow. And if you’re not up to speed, they just reformatted back to the ‘easy listening’ genre, way different from RX 93.1’s CHR format.

      All of us here are now fed up with your lack of intellect and inability to improve your grammar. We kept on telling you to improve those writing skills, but you just don’t care. I suggest you stop reading this blog and don’t visit ever again. You don’t belong here. You may not be a hoaxer, but your writing skills suggests that you act like one.

  6. Jose Tiamson says:

    I guess Aliw may have learn their lesson. Never change a gear that is still working. I hope this change can gain and regain listeners who are fed up and tired of the masa stations & other sorts of crap.

  7. Because of ‘earthquake’ in Jakarta radio business, I came here to learn a bit about Manila radio stations. Yeah, I figured out that changes of Manila radios in this year is just, as much as Jakarta.

    If your city has Easy Rock, Home Radio, etc. – our city didn’t have it yet for a long time, until Kis 95.1 reformatted into easy-listening, slow AC. We have Brava 103.8 but the songs mixed with upbeat songs, which is what I don’t like. We used to have Delta 99.1 and Female 97.9, but they inserted EDM “to attract more fans”, leaving laidback session on night (8pm-12am UTC+7)

    Also there were 2 channels broadcast love songs weekly but all day long. They are in the same parent company: Kis 95.1 on Wednesday, Mustang 88.0 on Saturday (but discontinued).

    Now I often stream Home Radio Manila, since Kis 95.1 plays same song over and over again, also Brava 103.8 songs are ‘too old’. Most Radio 105.8 that used to be planned as a laidback radio, now changes into oldies radio, dominated by (hard) rock since Rock Weekend in Kis 95.1 discontinued, made anger of fans.

    So, why not streaming to Home 97.9?

    [note: even frequency in Indonesia is common, nearest radio to the Philippines in Miangas island broadcasts on 88.6 MHz]

    • Easy Rock doesn’t have a great playlist overall given MBC’s influence. Home Radio has a deeper library and does not suffer from the same redundancy that Easy Rock endures. If you want an AC station that doesn’t repeat the same songs often, Home Radio is the best choice.

      • Yes, now I often tune to Home every Saturday through streaming, since I lost my favorite laidback session in Jakarta.

        When I need local songs, I just turn off the stream and tune into 89.6 I-radio (Jakarta’s 95.5 Pinas FM, all Indonesian songs).

        In Jakarta, almost all radio stations are going masa. We have twice more than metro Manila (52 stations) because the spacing is 0.4 MHz, but almost every channel here play Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift over and over again.

      • In Jakarta, only pirate stations, campus radio, and soon-to-dead radio (low listenership) that have deep-dug library. People here don’t listen to radio much, car listeners are reduced since more people convert into Commuter Line, and soon MRT-LRT.

        The owner decided to change radio formats into “repeating songs over and over again”, even for throwback hits station.

      • Internet radio stations are aplenty and available, not just Filipino-streamed stations but also others in the U.S. and U.K. If you’re too fed up with said country’s direction on FM radio, there’s the internet for you.

  8. The products that are being advertised on Home Radio include Fortune Life, Eternal Plans, Petron, Silka and New Zealand Creamery. Though ACS dominates Easy Rock’s commercial break, it is the ALC Group of Companies dominating Home Radio’s commercial break. I listen to 96.3 and 97.9 at the same time.

    • 9.79’s owners are the Cabangon-Chua group, who also own DWIZ 882 AM and Nine Media’s CNN Philippines. That’s why it’s easy to spot an Eternal Plans commercial just by listening to 97.9.

  9. I just wanna repost this comment:
    Ralph, BTW, speaking of easy listening stations, even MOR 101.9 was a clone of Easy Rock and Home Radio from the late ’80s to the mid-90s. It was then known as Radio Romance. For you to remember that branding, listen to this jingle:

  10. And Home welcomed 2018 by phasing out songs from 2000 and later (?). Looks like Home might go to a Classic Hits route, with softer approach than its pop-dominated competitors FM2 and Retro DCG.

    I wonder if Home’s fortunes change this time around after becoming #8 on the recent Nielsen survey.

    • For some reason, the ‘retro’ trend is ticking upward, that’s why Home may have pursued this latest change of format. Let’s see how they fare with this tweaked playlist and find out if this will pay off.

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