entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs, talk show

Changing of the Guard on Philippine FM Radio

Times are changing in the field of FM radio in the Philippines.

The biggest news coming off the industry was the departure of Delamar Arias from Monster RX 93.1 last July 29. Her departure marked the end of an era for ‘The Morning Rush’, which has long been considered an institution in Philippine FM radio.

When the show took the airwaves on August 1, ‘Rushers’ are still trying to figure out a way to make the show interesting without Delamar. But it was not easy, considering that the chemistry between her and Chico Garcia (plus Gino Quillamor) was undeniable.

RX even tried to add Bea Fabregas to the show in hopes of replacing Delamar in the near future. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, and to this day, they are still scrambling to fill Delamar’s chair.

But Delamar is not the only FM radio icon to bid farewell. Two other long-time DJs also called it a day for good.

There was Carlo Jose, who announced his retirement via Instagram almost at the same time as Delamar’s. Carlo’s involvement in the FM radio industry spanned 24 years, dating from his time as a DJ on Magic 89.9 to most recently a station manager for sister station 99.5 Play FM.

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Then there was Martin D, who announced his retirement from ABS-CBN’s MOR 101.9 last Friday. Best known as the host of ‘Request Express’ and ‘Top Hits Express’ on the old WRR 101.9, Martin D lasted 20 years with the said station.

Finally, one veteran DJ chose to jump stations instead of calling it a career. On July 29, Tina Mendiola (known on air as Tina Ryan) announced her departure from Magic 89.9, her home station for close to 20 years, in order to join sister station 103.5 K-Lite.

It was painful to say goodbye to some of radio’s most cherished voices. But in an age where the listening demographics are changing, there is no other choice but to move on and give way to younger individuals.

Still, their voices will forever be remembered by many who have heard them all these years. Their contributions to the Philippine FM radio industry will never be forgotten.

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JRDV’s World Year In Review: PH Radio

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio.

Our friend JRDV’s World has more insights on the year 2015 in Philippine radio. Enjoy.

JRDV'S WORLD

With other blogs sharing their insights on Philippine Television in 2015, I will show you some big news in Philippine Radio.

CALM AFTER THE STORM

103.5_K-Lite.png After the various re-formats, 103.5 K-Lite settled in the Adult Contemporary format, which resulted in the station being #6 in Metro Manila ratings, based on figures released by Nielsen. (Photo: Advanced Media Broadcasting System, Inc.)

After the disastrous re-formats of 103.5 K-Lite (from AC on its launch last July 22, 2013 to CHR last April 21, 2014 to Adult Hits last August 18, 2014 (as a desperate attempt to compete against Retro 105.9 DCG-FM and 107.5 Wish FM) before settling in to the AC format last November 24, 2014), it seems that the listeners of 103.5 K-Lite have something to cheer on this year. A year after settling on the Adult Contemporary format, K-Lite was ranked #6 on Metro Manila FM Ratings, based on AC Nielsen…

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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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The Return of ‘The Hits and Lite Favorites’

The 2nd iteration of 103.5 K-Lite continues to pose headaches for listeners.

Last November 24, K-Lite reverted back to its original slogan and playlist as ‘The Hits and Lite Favorites’, This marked the station’s fourth slogan and playlist change in over a year, a sign that continues to hurt The Radio Partners’ (TRPI) reputation.

The never-ending change in format also affected its on-air staff. There have been 18 DJs who have manned K-Lite’s booth, and of the six in the current lineup, only two have been with the station since its relaunch.

Instability has been the name of the game for K-Lite these days, and unless they finally settle on a right format and slogan in the long term, it may be of the owners’ best interest to sell the network soon. That said, this is not good news for TRPI, especially now that sister station 99.5 Play FM is also struggling.

 

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In 100 Words: Home Radio is Back, Sort Of

97.9 Natural brought back the ‘Home Radio’ name in November. (Logo courtesy of Aliw Broadcasting Corporation)

There seems no end in sight for the embattled Natural 97.9.

Just recently, the Home Radio brand, which was supposedly retired in July, was brought back. This is already the fourth brand change for the Aliw-owned 97.9 FM frequency since the original Home Radio ended its broadcasts in March.

While the ‘re-re-re-rebranded’ Home Radio Natural kept the current Top 40/OPM format, the latest name change clearly showed the station’s lack of direction and identity. The owners seem to have not moved on from the proud and loud past that is ’97dot9 Home Radio’.

Much like 103.5 K-Lite, 97.9 Home Radio Natural is a headache waiting to happen. And it only gets even worse.

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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.

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