hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

103.5 KLite’s Identity Struggles

103.5 KLite underwent a third reformat in over a year, this time with the more recent hits (90s-2000s) dominating its playlist. (Logo courtesy of Tiger 22 Media Corporation)

103.5 KLite’s endless turnover continues.

In what has become a continuing theme, the embattled station decided to change its format again. Under the tagline of ‘Metro Manila’s Official Take Me Back Station’, the playlist now leans more on the 90s and 2000s tunes rather than the current ones.

The format change also featured a revamped cast of DJs. Among the new hires of the station was Fran (Monica Tobias in real life), a long-time DJ on Monster Radio RX 93.1.

As a result, KLite’s new format now resembles that of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM, albeit in a younger tone and in an adult contemporary spin.

It is clear that 103.5 KLite is becoming a shell of its former self. In a competitive industry such as Philippine radio, finding an identity and a niche are crucial ingredients in the viability of a particular station, and so far, KLite has not done that.

In fact, I went as far as dubbing 103.5 under the name ‘Wow, It’s Heart to the Max na KLite’, due to the station’s recent history of format changes. Since Tiger 22 took over management of DWKX 103.5 in the mid-90s, the station endured nine format changes and four different brand names, with the original KLite lasting the longest at 11 years.

On the other hand, sister stations Jam 88.3 and Wave 89.1 basically kept their respective alternative and urban formats with a few tweaks in between, while DWRT-FM 99.5 (as 99.5 RT, 99.5 Hit FM, Campus 99.5 and 99.5 Play FM) maintained their brand of contemporary hit radio despite several changes in identity.

If KLite were to reformat again (assuming that they decided to do the unthinkable after six or seven months), it would be best for them to combine the formats of their previous incarnations (Heart, Max, Wow, original KLite) and integrate into the current KLite.

Under the proposed format, KLite should add a select number of dance tunes (from Max), R&B singles (from Heart), rock songs (from original KLite) and ‘masa’ hits (from Wow) to their trademark adult contemporary playlist. It may be a combustible mix, but this is the best that KLite can do.

But right now, 103.5 KLite is a station that is suffering from an identity crisis. And unless they finally settle with a format that is distinctly theirs, things will only get worse.

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concerts, entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

103.5 K-Lite Remains a Work in Progress

The newly-revived 103.5 K-Lite continues to be a work in progress as it entered its ninth month on the air.

Since returning to the airwaves in August 2013, 103.5 K-Lite has endured numerous changes in both personnel and programming. This quick change of pace was a far cry from the first incarnation of K-Lite, and for listeners of the old K-Lite, the adjustment period is not what they were used to.

When K-Lite was reintroduced last August, none of the DJs from the previous incarnation were hired, save for Carl (of Alamid fame). What they hired instead were several industry veterans that have nothing to do with the old K-Lite, and some young jocks looking to find their own niche.

So instead of Jessica Zafra, the Blade, Ron South and Vitto Lazatin (all of whom moved on to other jobs), they got NU 107 vets Mondo and Trish, RT’s Sonny, Scarlet and EJ Electric, and Max/Wow/Heart talents Janice, Max Speed, Jacob and Tim Kong. With a new cast of characters, it all seemed a matter of time before K-Lite recaptures the flame that they once stoked in its original incarnation.

But over the last few months, the station suddenly had to deal with the departures of both Carl and Mondo, who decided to focus on their bands. And more recently, Sonny (better known as the voice-over talent of ABS-CBN Sports + Action) was assigned to 99.5 Play FM. Whether or not they were unhappy with the direction that K-Lite is taking remains to be seen. The turnover of talent was not the only problem for K-Lite, however.

Its recent programming changes also became a source of frustration for listeners. In its first few months on the air, K-Lite revived its old programs such as ‘Lite Wave’, ‘Faster than Lite’ and ‘Black & Lite’, but were axed at the beginning of 2014. They also attempted to do an all-oldies day called ‘Classic Lite’ on Mondays (a different version from the all-classic rock show aired on the original K-Lite), but it was also axed. The reasons behind their cancellations remain unknown.

As it turned out, K-Lite’s current programming lineup is clearly different from its original incarnation. No longer boasting of programs that either play only specific musical genres or feature all-talk formats, K-Lite’s programs now run in the same vein as those from its sister stations on the Real Radio umbrella, featuring their brand of hot adult contemporary music mixed in with DJs talking about various topics of interest. And for loyal listeners of the old station, it is difficult to accept.

But like all aspects of life, the show must go on. Consider this as a ‘new era’ in K-Lite, a different identity, a different approach. The departures of its DJs and the change in programming are all part of the evolution. By all means, this K-Lite is different from the one that once identified themselves as ‘The Right Kind of Lite’ and ‘Manila’s Lite Alternative’. But after nine months on the air, K-Lite continues to be a work in progress, and with stability still in question, expect more changes in this station within the next few months.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio

The Return of 103.5 KLite

103.5 KLite returns after a seven-year absence, using the lite alternative format of the early years.

The DWKX 103.5 frequency returned to its original brand after a seven-year absence. The KLite brand re-debuted on July 22, 2013, playing the lite adult contemporary brand from its early years. Though many clamor for the return of the lite alternative format of the later years, Quest Broadcasting decided to go back to KLite’s roots as the lite alternative and rock format is currently used by sister station Jam 88.3.

In the seven years between the two iterations of KLite, the 103.5 frequency was known by its three brands: Heart 1035, 103 1/2 Max FM, and 103.5 Wow! FM. The Heart 1035 brand lasted from January to June 2007, playing soft R&B and adult contemporary music, similar to what the ‘masa-fied’ station 96.3 Easy Rock is playing these days, albeit with less emphasis on the older music. From June 2007 to August 2010, the 103.5 frequency was branded as 103 1/2 Max FM, playing both classic and modern Top 40 Pop and Adult Contemporary, before shifting to house music and dance later on. Then from August 2007 to July 2013, the frequency was known as 103.5 Wow! FM, playing ‘masa’ music consisting of Hot Adult Contemporary, OPM and classic rock ballads typical of stations such as 101.1 Yes! FM and 90.7 Love Radio. The face of Wow! FM has been Mr. Fu; however the brand’s demise was assured after Mr. Fu’s resignation and return to 106.7 Energy FM.

Which leads to the return of the 103.5 K-Lite brand that is now playing on the radio. The returning brand started airing at 6:00 a.m. of July 22 with ‘The Morning Buzz’ hosted by DJ Electric. Soon after a mix of fresh blood and veteran voices began to take over the K-Lite booth, including a pair of veterans from the defunct NU 107 in Mondo and Trish, Alamid frontman Carl McFly, and Max Speed from the Max and Wow! eras. The station’s return to form was a needed boost for Philippine FM radio that is being invaded by ‘masa’ stations.

The second KLite brand is nearly a month into the airwaves, and so far, many of the old listeners and some of the new ones were impressed with its playlist. It was like having a second wind, a station desperately needed by listeners who were disenchanted by the ‘masa’ stations that is overwhelming the industry. With it comes the responsibility of keeping it on air for several more years, provided that listeners were satisfied with the brand of music that KLite is playing.

KLite is definitely back, and stronger than ever. It remains to be seen whether it will stay on air for a longer period of time, but with further positive feedback from listeners, the brand will remain as long as the listeners like it.

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