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

FTT Year 2013 in Review: FM Radio

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2014, 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 the emphasis on the reformatted stations and DJ lineups.

Reformatted Stations

In July, two FM stations started airing under new on-air identities. ABS-CBN’s DWRR 101.9 rebranded from ‘Tambayan’ to ‘MOR: My Only Radio for Life’, in the process adopting the brand of its regional FM networks. While they still air masa-based music, they started to adopt more love advice shows in the vein of DZMM‘s ‘Dr. Love with Jun Banaag’, which other stations soon adopt.

Advanced Media Broadcasting‘s DWKX 103.5 reformatted from ‘Wow FM’ back to ‘K-Lite’. The rebrand came as a result of the departure of its lead DJ Mr. Fu.  Upon returning to the ‘K-Lite’ brand, they decided to adopt the station’s late-1990s adult contemporary format as opposed to the rock-laden format of later years. Veteran DJs Mondo Castro (from NU 107), Carl ‘McFly’ Guzman (original K-Lite) and Alex ‘Max Speed’ Gotinga (Magic 89.9) would form the core of the new ‘K-Lite’, alongside rookies and other established voices.

DJ Lineup Changes

Magic 89.9 created a huge roar from the radio community when they suspended ‘Good Times” Mo Twister, Tin ‘Suzy’ Gamboa and Noelle Bonus in June for an alleged sex-related joke. As a result, Sam Oh and Gibb from 99.5 Play FM filled in to host ‘First Thing in the Morning’. Mo would later return from suspension last December to co-host the program.

Meanwhile Noelle was moved to Play FM to co-host ‘The Playground’ with Nikko Ramos, while Suzy was reinstated by Magic to host ‘The Big Meal’ with CJ ‘the DJ’ Rivera. Suzy was moved because of Riki Flores’ transfer to ‘PopStop’. Riki was moved to pair with Andi Manzano after Jessica Mendoza left Magic for her post-graduate studies in Boston.

Other notable DJ departures include RX 93.1’s Jinri Park (studies), Play FM’s Tim Yap (other commitments), and Jam 88.3’s Julz Savard (vocalist for Save Me Hollywood). And as mentioned, defunct Wow FM’s Mr. Fu resigned before the reformat, eventually finding a new home on 106.7 Energy FM.

Outlook

The FM radio landscape for 2014 will be more or less predictable. Some stations will reformat, while notable faces will either move to other stations or depart entirely. And the worst part of it all is that 90.7 Love Radio and 101.1 Yes FM will continue to boast their claim as the top two stations. Nevertheless, the incoming year should bring hope and prosperity for radio stations trying to reach out to a specific audience, and to maintain the kind of music they play.

 

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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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