news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Of CNNPH’s Newsroom Junior Edition and Other News Programs for Teens

News reporting is not always exclusive to adults.

When CNN Philippines announced that ‘Newsroom Junior Edition’ will air starting this Saturday, it reminded this writer of the day when Philippine television used to have news programs hosted by underage boys and girls. While these shows were few and far between, they have at least made some valuable contributions to the world of media.

One most notable example was ‘5 and Up’. The Probe Productions-produced show ran for 10 years and was one of the standout shows of GMA Network during the ‘Rainbow Satellite’ era.

‘5 and Up’ was responsible for launching the careers of brothers Rodjun and Rayver Cruz, Chynna Ortaleza, Maxene Magalona and Atom Araullo. Of the five, Atom was the only one who continued his career as a journalist, although he did have a directorial credit in the film ‘Citizen Jake’.

But before ‘5 and Up’ became a cult favorite among the youth in the 90s, ABS-CBN once had its own kids’ version of ‘TV Patrol’. While ‘Junior Patrol’ ran for only two years, it did produce current ABS-CBN News reporter Doland Castro, who now serves on the news division’s police beat.

The most recent attempt at a kids’ news program came from CNN Philippines’ mother network RPN-9. ‘Newswatch Junior Edition’ may have only lasted a few episodes in the late 2000s, but this show did manage to launch the career of blogger, model and TV host Janeena Chan.

Now it is CNN Philippines’ turn to try this seldom-used trick of using kids as news anchors. In ‘Newsroom Junior Edition’ the network will have six teenage individuals who will tackle the world of news reporting.

The hosts are:

  • Dana Villano, 16
  • Emman Rivera, 16
  • Gabby Sandejas, 16
  • Isaac Dantes, 13
  • Janella Renner, 15
  • Nate Lopez, 14

Guided by the CNN Philippines’ team of anchors and reporters, these young boys and girls will have an opportunity to deliver the week’s latest local and international news, as well as sports, entertainment, weather, technology and lifestyle news. ‘Newsroom Junior Edition’ will air on weekends at 8:00 a.m.

At the end of the day, they are still kids (or in the case of ‘Newsroom Junior Edition’, teens). But at least they should gain some first-hand experience at what it is really like in the cutthroat world of journalism (or showbiz for that matter).

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news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Mike Enriquez to Take Indefinite Medical Leave from GMA News Programs

“Excuse me po!”

One of Mike Enriquez’s signature catchphrases has taken a whole new meaning Wednesday night. The veteran GMA News personality revealed on ’24 Oras’ that he is under an indefinite medical leave due to a kidney disease and an incoming heart bypass operation next month.

Here is Mike’s full statement regarding his current condition.

“I am issuing this statement in response to a growing number of inquiries regarding my prolonged absence from the radio and television programs that I host on GMA.

I am currently on medical leave. I am being treated for kidney disease and I am scheduled to undergo a heart bypass operation in mid-September. My doctors have told me that two to four weeks after my surgery, I will be able to return to my normal duties. In the meantime, it is best that I rest and avoid stress to avoid any medical emergency before my bypass. While I am not yet back on the air, I continue to perform my functions as president of RGMA Network Inc. and as Consultant for Radio of GMA Network Inc.

I thank everyone for their expressions of support and wishes for good health, and most specially for their prayers. My doctors are good and caring and God is great!

I will be back!”

Mike has been absent from his radio and television shows since last July which prompted questions from the audience regarding his whereabouts. In the meantime, substitutes such as Joel Reyes Zobel, Ivan Mayrina and Arnold Clavio have replaced him temporarily on ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, ‘Sino?’, ’24 Oras’ and ‘Imbestigador’ respectively.

A former disc jockey (his on-air name was Baby Michael), Mike Enriquez has been one of the key figures of GMA News since the late 1990s. He and rival ABS-CBN News anchor Noli de Castro are considered the faces of early morning radio and television primetime news in the Philippines.

Mike is also the self-proclaimed ‘Sumbungan ng Bayan’ ever since ‘Imbestigador’ was launched in 2000. And as mentioned earlier in his statement, Mike is also at the helm of RGMA Network, supervising the operations of Super Radyo AM and Barangay FM radio stations in the country.

From the Tube would like to wish Mike Enriquez a full and speedy recovery. Get well soon.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, television

Snubbed: 24 Oras Does Not Mention Coco Martin in Chika Minute Report on MMFF

It is obvious that GMA wants no part of Coco Martin.

The ‘Ang Probinsyano’ star will have an official entry into the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival starring alongside Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza. But in Wednesday’s news report from ’24 Oras’, Coco was not mentioned at all during the clip.

Also during that night, ‘TV Patrol’ aired a similar report about Coco’s upcoming film. Unlike GMA, however, ABS-CBN showed some respect to its rival by including the names of Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza in the clip.

Talk about getting humiliated. After all, when ‘The Cure’ ends later tonight, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will have conquered past nine different GMA teleseryes in a span of nearly three years.

But this is not about a rivalry between two of the Philippines’ top networks. It is about a collaboration between Kapuso (or Dabarkads in the case of Vic and Maine) and Kapamilya stars in a future MMFF entry.

Unfortunately for GMA, they failed to keep the peace or the friendly rivalry in order (at least for this clip). Their blatant disrespect for Coco Martin made it clear that the network is desperate to conquer its older and more accomplished rival at all costs.

Any mere mention of Coco’s name on GMA News reports would mean that Kapuso viewers may switch to Channel 2 just to see Cardo in action. That said, GMA is simply avoiding this predicament for the purpose of improving its ratings (which unfortunately hasn’t been in their favor for a long time now).

But what if Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes suddenly collaborates with, let’s say, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla in a future MMFF film? Would GMA also be willing not to mention KathNiel in a news report?

Or what if some of its young talent like Barbie Forteza and Jak Roberto join forces with the likes of Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano? Would GMA likewise not give LizQuen the proper treatment?

Perhaps GMA should change that notion and give its regards to a perennial adversary. There is nothing wrong with mentioning actors from another network as long as it is done with proper respect.

The same goes with ABS-CBN, although at least they did a good job in referencing Vic and Maine. Setting aside that hatred is worth a try.

In the end, GMA only made a long-standing feud worse by disregarding an actor of Coco Martin’s stature. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ may have dominated against its Kapuso rivals, but the lack of respect that GMA showed is so uncalled for.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Revisiting GMA News TV and Its Epic Failures on SONA Day

This is already becoming a habit.

For GMA News TV, their perceived indifference in important news coverage is undeniable. This was none more apparent than on the day the President of the Philippines delivers his State of the Nation Address.

In almost every year since the network rebranded from QTV in 2011, the tendency for GMA News TV is that they don’t always get involved in the SONA in more ways than one. Whenever the fourth Monday of July comes, all the network does is to air regular programming as if nothing important happens.

For instance, President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech this year started at 5:17 p.m. In the meantime, GMA News TV aired ‘Quick Response Team’ in the midst of the SONA (see video below).

It is understandable that GMA management wants to focus more on Channel 7 when it comes to live coverage of the SONA. But what the management do not realize is the overall purpose of GMA News TV (and of GMA News for that matter), which in the years since its launch has been largely neglected due to extracurricular activities not related to news coverage.

Considering that its rivals from Mother Ignacia (ANC/DZMM TeleRadyo), Shaw Boulevard (CNN Philippines) and Reliance (One News) worked a more extensive analysis on the day of the SONA, it is disgraceful to see GMA News TV stand pat and do almost nothing. It is as if they never wanted to be a news channel in the first place.

Perhaps if GMA News TV becomes a cable channel instead of going to free TV like they do now, such issues would have been mitigated. Such an arrangement would have allowed the channel to go 24/7, use English as the main language and cater to upper class audiences.

Unfortunately, the station is stuck on VHF channel 11 and can only play second banana to channel 7, another VHF station. And to make matters worse, GMA doesn’t even own the former due to broadcast restrictions; ZOE continues to own the channel while GMA only leases airtime.

If they are really that disinterested to remain a news channel, they can just rebrand back to QTV or become GMA+, a secondary entertainment channel of the mother network. Or GMA can just break their lease on Channel 11 and allow ZOE to move Light back to its original channel.

In many ways, GMA News TV is an undependable channel for all things news. What GMA did to this channel is so unglorifying that their boasting as the ‘no. 1 news channel’ does not make sense at all.

And on this SONA day, this channel simply failed to deliver when it mattered most. Shame on them.

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cable TV, entertainment, movies, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

Philippine Cable and Digital Channels Face Issue of Redundancy

Hero is one of several cable channels in the Philippines that was shut down this year due to redundancy in content. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

Redundancy has become a common theme for cable and digital channels in the Philippines.

In the first half of 2018 alone, viewers witnessed a closure of numerous cable channels in the country. On the local side of the spectrum, there was Hero, TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel, CT and 2nd Avenue, and on the international front there was Toonami.

There were also some rebrandings and resurrections of several channels as well. CPI made LIGA the second coming of Balls in time for the FIFA World Cup (replacing ARC, TAG and Hero in the process) while rebranding Lifestyle into Metro Channel, and then the MVP Group converted Bloomberg Philippines into One News.

So why do these things happen to our beloved cable and digital channels? The most cited reason is financial constraints, but it goes deeper than that.

When two channels air similar content with one another, redundancy happens. This is exactly the case that befell the likes of Hero, TAG, CT, 2nd Avenue and Toonami because they feature similar themes and genres with one or several channels.

Hero and Toonami, for example, became victims of cord-cutters and other channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, AniPlus, Animax and even Yey!, which show some anime and action series as well. Same with CT and 2nd Avenue who share some of the programming with sister channels Jack TV and ETC.

Going further back, CPI shut down Velvet in 2014 and moved some of its content over to Lifestyle. Four years later, Lifestyle was rebranded into Metro Channel and is now essentially a second coming of Velvet.

There is also LIGA, which was launched for the FIFA World Cup but is expected to face similar redundancy issues as Balls since its only other source of content are events that air on ABS-CBN S+A. Finally, the rebrand from Bloomberg Philippines to One News has made AksyonTV (a former news channel-turned-T5N clone) redundant, something the MVP Group must address moving forward.

However, redundancy is not limited to cable channels alone. Yey!, for example, has a movie block called ‘Kid Sine’, but some of the films shown here are also aired on sister channel CineMo (under the CineFantasya and CineKomedya blocks).

Yey! also airs reruns of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ while CineMo rebroadcasts ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Bagani’ on weekends. Such reruns should have been exclusive to Jeepney TV.

These are just some of the examples that face cable and digital channels today. Considering the competitive nature of this business, trying to stay unique and distinct in terms of content is not as easy as it looks.

So the best that these channels can do right now is to remain innovative and wide-eyed to the audience while keeping themselves afloat. This juggling act may be difficult, but when done properly, they can stay on the air for a long period of time.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, television

ABS-CBN Regional Cancels Agri Tayo Dito, MagTV Na

Not even the largest regional television network group in the Philippines is spared from the inevitable.

Just recently, ABS-CBN Regional announced the cancellation of its two weekend morning programs ‘Agri Tayo Dito’ and ‘MagTV Na’. The former, which was hosted by former ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ winner Ruben Gonzaga, had been on the air for six years, while the latter, starring various hosts in different regional networks, had been running for a decade.

Both ‘Agri Tayo Dito’ and ‘MagTV Na’ earned Anak TV citations for being child-friendly programs. They also won several KBP Golden Dove and UPLB Gandingan Awards among other accomplishments.

No reason was given behind the cancellation of both programs. However, it is likely that ABS-CBN Regional pulled the plug for cost-cutting purposes, given the need to improve and strengthen all of its regional outlets and bring it to a high definition-ready standard of its Metro Manila flagship.

It is also possible that ABS-CBN Regional will not field in a replacement for both shows due to these aforementioned reasons. Instead, they are expected to show ‘Kapamilya Swak na Swak’ and ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ direct from Metro Manila.

The cancellation of ‘Agri Tayo Dito’ and ‘MagTV Na’ came months after the shutdown of the ABS-CBN Regional Channel last January. It is clear that ABS-CBN Regional is eyeing toward the future, and considering that its stations are still not up to par with Metro Manila’s, they had no choice but to cut some operating expenses.

The fate of the shows’ hosts and staff will also come into play. Given their loyal service to ABS-CBN, they could either be given an honorable discharge or a new role within the company.

Still, it remains to be seen what plans will ABS-CBN Regional bring to the table next. But for the Kapamilya viewers in the provinces, both ‘Agri Tayo Dito’ and ‘MagTV Na’ will be sorely missed.

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