hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

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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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

RPN Has a New Owner, But It’s Not Ramon Ang

9TV is now under the ownership of Aliw Broadcasting’s Antonio Cabangon-Chua, who also took over as chairman of RPN. (Photo credit: Fortune Life Insurance official website)

The Solar era on the Radio Philippines Network is officially over.

At 12:00 a.m. today, 9TV signed on as a replacement to Solar News Channel. But while cable viewers were able to witness the changing of the guard, those without it had to wait until 6:00 a.m. to see the change take effect.

Meanwhile, contrary to what was written previously on From the Tube, Ramon Ang did not actually acquire Solar TV and a stake on RPN. Instead, he was only interested in acquiring the network’s shares prior to his partial acquisition of GMA Network.

It was later revealed that the entirety of Solar TV and a portion of RPN’s shares were acquired by Antonio Cabangon-Chua, owner of Aliw Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, Cabangon-Chua was elected chairman of RPN, replacing Solar Entertainment’s Wilson Tieng.

This will be Aliw’s first foray into the television industry. The company started in 1991 with DWIZ 882-AM as its flagship station, before expanding into FM radio with Home Radio (now Natural).

In addition, Cabangon-Chua owns and publishes the broadsheet BusinessMirror and tabloid Pilipino Mirror under the Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing, Inc. banner. The former ambassador to Laos has also invested in insurance, banking, and real estate, among other ventures.

The recent acquisition of RPN by Aliw followed the tie-up that the two parties forged in January. It can be recalled that both RPN and Aliw signed a memorandum of agreement to have a selection of DWIZ radio programs air on RPN’s national Radyo Ronda AM stations.

Cabangon-Chua also plans to rename Solar Television under the Aliw banner. Should the plan bear fruit, it will officially cease any association with the previous ownership.

It is indeed the dawn of a new era in the storied yet tumultuous history of RPN. Now the question is, what’s next for the station? Only time will tell.

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entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

After NU and Win, It’s P.S. on 107.5

107.5 P.S. FM, an easy listening station, will officially launch on August 10. (Logo courtesy of the Progressive Broadcasting Corporation)

For the third time since 2010, DWNU 107.5 has a new name and a new format.

After the hard rock and alternative approach of NU 107, and the masa-based Hot AC style of 107.5 Win Radio, the station has decided to go the softer route.

Starting this August, 107.5 will now be called P.S. FM. A grand launch for the said network will take place on August 10 at the World Trade Center.

107.5 P.S. FM will play mostly easy listening and adult contemporary songs, similar to 96.3 Easy Rock and defunct stations such as Mellow Touch 94.7 and 97.9 Home Radio.

The rebrand of 107.5 actually began on June 26, when Daniel Razon took over the management of the station from Manny Luzon. Win Radio held its final broadcast on that day, while Razon’s Breakthrough and Milestone Productions International, Inc. held a soft launch for the upcoming station at the World Trade Center.

Luzon and Win Radio then moved to the 91.5 frequency, formerly known as Big Radio, on June 27. 91.5 Big Radio was once Win Radio’s sister station before Luzon left 107.5.

Despite the rebrand, the studios of both Win Radio and P.S. FM will remain inside the AIC Gold Tower at Ortigas Center in Pasig City, though plans are in the offing for P.S. FM to move into the current UNTV headquarters in Philam Homes, Quezon City.

Razon’s takeover of 107.5 coincided with the 10th anniversary of UNTV (actually the station’s 13th but Razon and company disregarded any technicality). In addition to the rebrand of 107.5, UNTV broke ground on a new broadcast center on the former Plantersbank branch on Philam Homes, North EDSA, Quezon City, with the future site expected to house UNTV’s studios, equipment and production rooms, as well as the radio booths of both P.S. FM and UNTV Radio La Verdad 1350 AM.

The new station is expected to compete with 96.3 Easy Rock in the easy listening pop format.

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105.9 Radio High Bows Out

Radio High 105.9 is expected to reformat after the Holy Week, in which it will be renamed as Retro 105.9.

While frustrated listeners are still recovering from the reformat of 97.9 Home Radio into a ‘masa’ station, another radio station has decided to undergo a similar process.

105.9 Radio High, whose format consisted of smooth jazz and adult contemporary music, decided to end its broadcasts after three years on the air. The station, owned by Francis Lumen, was the fourth to occupy the 105.9 frequency, after the rock-oriented LA 105.9, hip-hop based Blazin’ 105.9, and the rock-oriented RJ Underground Radio 105.9.

Replacing Radio High will be a classic hits radio station known as Retro 105.9. The upcoming station will be helmed by some of the industry’s ageless veterans like Jimmy Jam, The Mole, and the Triggerman, and will essentially be patterned after another competing radio station in RJ 100.3. Retro 105.9 is expected to debut after the Holy Week.

Radio High, as the tagline suggests, was basically ‘not for everyone’, as it only targeted a more sophisticated part of the population. The format itself was influenced by Lumen’s previous experience in running Citylite 88.3 and Joey 92.3.

Unfortunately for Lumen, his reentry into the industry came at the onset of a ‘masa’ revolution, in which several stations eschewed niche radio formats in favor of the revenue-generating hot adult contemporary (‘masa’) format. And with financial losses looming, Lumen had no choice but to end his lease on the 105.9 frequency.

Radio High’s brief three-year run was, in essence, another forgettable chapter in the history of radio. In an era where ‘masa’ is becoming the norm, a few niche-based radio stations have managed to weather the storm by maintaining a loyal audience and finding other ways to survive. Unfortunately for Radio High, they were unable to do just that. And as a result, its departure only adds pressure to its successor in Retro 105.9.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

97.9 Home Radio Shuts Down

97.9 Home Radio ceases to exist after 14 years.

The end of February saw another radio station in Metro Manila sign off for good. 97.9 Home Radio (DWQZ), owned by the Aliw Broadcasting Corporation, ended its broadcasts after a 14-year run. Its replacement has yet to be announced.

Home Radio’s format was basically similar to rival 96.3 Easy Rock (DWRK), playing mostly adult contemporary songs. But unlike Easy Rock, Home Radio’s playlist lean more towards the most recent singles in order to draw younger listeners. On Sundays, Home Radio eschews its AC format in favor of contemporary hit radio for ‘Variety Hits Sunday’. As the name suggests, the playlist featured dance, rock and pop tunes not normally heard on the station.

Home Radio also operated without the use of disc jockeys, but later in its run they would employ DJs to their staff. Despite that, the DJs at Home Radio speak less than other stations, as Home Radio emphasized its ‘less talk, more music’ style.

Sadly, the growing influence of the masa-based Manila Broadcasting Company to Easy Rock proved to be Home Radio’s undoing. With Easy Rock now playing a more ‘masa’ style, Home Radio simply failed to keep up, and on February 28, it was decided that Home Radio will be shut down, and a new station will take its place.

Home Radio tried its best to attract a new generation of listeners who crave a different brand of ‘light and easy’ music. But while it was never able to create a worthy following, its attempt to stay afloat amid the growth of so-called ‘masa’ stations will always be remembered. And Home Radio’s legacy as a station that ‘likes it easy’ will never be forgotten.

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