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FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part II)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part II of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: Ben and Erwin Tulfo

The two Tulfo brothers began the year as hosts of their respective programs (Ben for ‘Bitag Live’, Erwin for ‘Punto Asintado’) on Radyo5 92.3 News FM. But after a highly-publicized feud with journalist Ed Lingao last June, Ben and Erwin elected to quit their jobs with Radyo5 and move over to PTV-4 (where they host ‘Kilos Pronto’ with Alex Santos) and Radyo Pilipinas full-time.

While Ben moved ‘Bitag Live’ to join its sister programs over to PTV-4, Erwin returned to newscasting with ‘Radyo Pilipinas Nationwide’ and ‘PTV News’ where he is joined by Weng dela Peña and Diane Querrer respectively. Erwin also brought his ‘Erwin Tulfo Live’ over to Radyo Pilipinas and started a talk show with President Rodrigo Duterte called ‘Sa Totoo Lang’.

NOT: Raffy Tulfo

Meanwhile, the lone remaining Tulfo on TV5 continued to butcher the already damaged reputation of its news division by changing the format anew of ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’. As a result, the erstwhile newscast became a full-on television counterpart to Raffy’s radio program ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ by emphasizing more on citizen complaints than actual news reports.

Notwithstanding the recent addition of Marga Vargas as co-anchor, it was clear that having Raffy on ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ is doing more harm than good to News5’s morale. Perhaps the departure of his brothers plus News5’s decline in quality may have taken its toll on Raffy, and giving him the walking papers may be inevitable.

HOT: DZMM TeleRadyo and Dobol B sa News TV

In April, a new-look DZMM TeleRadyo was unveiled to a nationwide audience, featuring an improved visual presentation and a new set for ‘Sakto’, ‘Good Vibes’, ‘On the Spot’ and ‘Todo-Todo Walang Preno’. They also added a selection of ABS-CBN News programs and two newscasts to the lineup in ‘Headline Pilipinas’ and an ‘early edition’ of ‘Bandila’.

Not to be outdone, rival Super Radyo DZBB 594 returned to television via ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ after a four-year hiatus. The station also started to cross over to social media by airing select programs live on Facebook, much like DZMM does on occasion.

NOT: News5 in General

The self-destruction of News5 continued throughout the year. Not only did the network lose Ben and Erwin Tulfo among other talents, they also cancelled ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ and shortened ‘Aksyon Tonite’ in favor of sports programming from ESPN5.

It also didn’t help that its leader Luchi Cruz-Valdes disappeared from radio and television altogether due to health concerns. Overall, the future does not look bright for News5 and the inevitability of dissolution draws even closer as each day passes.

HOT: 97.9 Home Radio

Call it a rebirth as the ‘old’ 97.9 Home Radio returned to the airwaves last July. Gone is the Top 40 style of previous years, and to the delight of its loyal listeners, Home Radio resurrected its familiar ‘easy listening’ format.

The reformat of Home Radio back to its roots should give 96.3 Easy Rock a run for its money. After all, with Easy Rock offering a bland Love Radio-like approach, a more diverse playlist is more than enough for listeners to switch to Home Radio instead.

NOT: 90.7 Love Radio

They may continue to boast that they were the No. 1 radio station in Metro Manila for nearly (self-proclaimed) two decades now, but the grip is slipping for 90.7 Love Radio. The loss of Papa Jack (now 106.7 Energy FM’s Papa Jackson) became too large of a hole to fill, and despite having the talented duo of Chris Tsuper and Nicole Hyala, this year overall is not a good one for Love Radio.

Getting surpassed by MOR 101.9 in the ratings is insult to injury to Love Radio’s psyche. And if that is not enough, Lloyd Cafe Cadena is no Papa Jackson, which is hard to accept for any listener of the said station.

HOT: FM1 and FM2

The two FM stations under the PCOO umbrella officially signed on this year: 104.3 FM2 in February and 87.5 FM1 in November. Within months, FM2 became the top-rated FM radio station among the upscale listening public thanks in large part to their diverse format featuring classic songs from the 70s up to the 90s.

As for FM1, the station is currently in test broadcast and is expected to launch early next year. Unlike FM2, FM1 will focus on the younger demographic with a format consisting of music from the 2000s onwards, which should give established stations like Magic 89.9 and Monster RX 93.1 a run for their money.

NOT: Retro 105.9

The original ‘retro’ FM radio station in Metro Manila faced new competition in the form of FM2 this year. Initially, Retro 105.9 was the top FM radio station among Metro Manila’s upscale listeners, but a surge from FM2 ended their reign.

Making matters worse is Retro 105.9’s latest rebrand that took place in November, dismissing almost all of its on-air staff in favor of a mostly automated approach. With FM2 imposing its will on the upscale market, it seems like the days of Retro 105.9 as the source of anything ‘retro’ music is being numbered by the day.

Part III of this four-part series is coming up this Thursday. Stay tuned.

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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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Mr. Fu Leaves Energy FM, Plus A New Jock for Barangay LS’ Wanted Sweetheart

An unlucky break strikes 106.7 Energy FM.

Just as the station added Papa J (formerly 90.7 Love Radio’s Papa Jack) and Chico Loco to its roster of DJs, one of their more popular jocks decided to leave for good. After weeks of speculation, Mr. Fu announced on social media that he will officially depart from 106.7 Energy FM in order to pursue other interests.

Mr. Fu (or Jeffrey Espiritu in real life) had been part of the Energy FM team for parts of seven years (three with 91.5 Energy FM, four with 106.7 Energy FM). At the time of his departure, he was the host of Energy FM’s morning program ‘Ang Tagabulabog ng Buong Universe’.

The departure of Mr. Fu was a huge blow to 106.7 Energy FM, who had been poised to rise in the ratings game thanks to the additions of Papa J and Chico Loco. Now that a possible ‘Big Three’ of Mr. Fu, Papa J and Chico Loco was formally aborted, what chances does Energy FM have in contending against more established competition?

Speaking of competition, Barangay LS 97.1 FM recently announced that a new DJ for its ‘Wanted Sweetheart’ program is on his way. Replacing the now-retired Papa Dan in the program is a long-time jock for sister station Barangay 102.3 General Santos, Papa Bol.

The Iloilo-based Papa Bol (Benjur Evangelista in real life) is no stranger to love advice talk radio shows, having hosted one for several years on Barangay 102.3 General Santos. However, as he steps into the shoes of the legendary Papa Dan, hosting a radio show with a national following will not be an easy task.

After all, the primetime scene on ‘masa’ radio is a competitive one. With 90.7 Love Radio’s Lloyd Cafe Cadena, 101.1 Yes the Best’s Rico Panyero and Lala Banderas, MOR 101.9’s Cha Cha and now 106.7 Energy FM’s Papa J all vying for the top spot, ‘Wanted Sweetheart”s newest jock will have his hands full in capturing the hearts of listeners.

It will be interesting to see how both 106.7 Energy FM and 97.1 Barangay LS will be able to cope with the changes in their roster. That said, expect a more heated summer in both booths as their quest for No. 1 continues.

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In 100 Words: Papa Jack (or Papa J) Joins 106.7 Energy FM

From Love to Energy.

After taking a break of over two months, the DJ formerly known as Papa Jack (John Gemperle in real life) officially announced his comeback on Facebook with a simple photo. In it came news that he will join 106.7 Energy FM as Papa J.

It can be recalled that John unexpectedly resigned from 90.7 Love Radio last December without citing a reason behind it. Following his resignation, John’s vacated timeslot was given to newcomer Lloyd Cafe Cadena (formerly of 93.9 iFM).

Papa J’s debut on 106.7 Energy FM will be on March 20. Still, despite his overwhelming popularity during his tenure at 90.7 Love Radio, it remains to be seen if he will help 106.7 Energy FM turn things around.

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In 100 Words: Papa Dan Leaves Barangay LS

One of Barangay LS 97.1’s longest-serving jocks has signed off for good.

Popular on-air personality Papa Dan officially called it quits following his final broadcast on February 10, 2017. A standout from his days with Campus Radio 97.1, Papa Dan hosted the primetime show ‘Wanted Sweetheart’ prior to his departure.

Papa Dan’s departure from Barangay LS 97.1 came nearly a month after rival jock Papa Jack resigned from 90.7 Love Radio. With the loss of two highly-regarded DJs, it is clear that a new era in primetime ‘masa’ radio is well underway.

One can only hope that Barangay LS 97.1 will find a suitable replacement for Papa Dan. After all, his shoes, much like that of Papa Jack on Love Radio, will be hard to fill.

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In 100 Words: Love Radio’s Replacement for Papa Jack

There is a new DJ who will run Papa Jack’s vacated slot.

90.7 Love Radio announced this week that former 93.9 iFM DJ Lloyd Cafe Cadena will take over the 9:00 p.m. timeslot in lieu of the departed Papa Jack. Following the announcement, LC made his Love Radio debut last night.

The arrival of LC to the 9:00 p.m. slot will be a huge test to Love Radio’s supremacy. With Papa Jack having turned the station’s 9:00 p.m. slot into must-listen radio, it will be up to LC to fill in those shoes and maintain these expectations.

LC may never replicate Papa Jack’s style, but one can only hope that he can be just as good as the popular DJ he replaces. Good luck.

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