news, Philippines, Sports, television

Is Sports Desk On the Way Out?

With the impending rebrand of 9TV to CNN Philippines, it appears that ‘Sports Desk’ is nearing its end.

Last Friday’s edition of ‘Sports Desk’ marked the final reports of host Jinno Rufino, who left the network as part of a reorganization of the said network. He made the announcement via a self-written article published on the 9News website the day before.

The departure of Jinno left Cesca Litton as the only remaining host of the revived program. Meanwhile, Jinno will continue to appear as an on-air talent for Basketball TV.

‘Sports Desk’ debuted on the then-Solar News Channel on December 3, 2012, with Jinno Rufino as the host. The program was also simulcast on SNC’s then-sister network Solar Sports, and later on, Jinno was joined by Cesca Litton as co-host.

When SNC was renamed 9TV in August of last year, ‘Sports Desk’ was one of the programs retained by the new network. As the ownership of 9TV was transferred from Solar Entertainment to Antonio Cabangon-Chua’s ALC Group, it created a conflict of interest for the show, as Jinno was a talent of Solar’s Basketball TV during the move and at the time, ‘Sports Desk’ was simulcast on Solar Sports.

But late last year, Solar Sports stopped simulcasting ‘Sports Desk’ due to its loaded sporting schedule, and as 9TV made the announcement to rebrand as CNN Philippines, the days of ‘Sports Desk’ seem to be numbered, since the possible 9TV to CNN move may include replacing ‘Sports Desk’ with a localized version of ‘World Sport’.

That said, Jinno’s departure was a huge loss for the show. ‘Sports Desk’ became successful thanks to his wealth of experience as a sports journalist, and without him, the show will have to compensate for his credibility among sports fans.

Whatever happens, viewers can only hope that ‘Sports Desk’ will hang on until the end. It will be a huge challenge for the show without Jinno, so good luck with that.

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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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Solar News Channel Out, 9TV In

Solar News, along with the Solar News Channel, will officially become 9News and 9TV, respectively. The change will take effect on August 23. (Logo courtesy of 9News)

Channel 9 on Philippine free TV has a new name.

On August 23, Solar News Channel will officially rename themselves as 9TV, leaving behind its iconic ‘sun’ logo and blue and yellow scheme in favor of a more generic blue and red branding. In addition, the Solar News organization will change their name to 9News.

The announcement was first made on August 13 through a Twitter post of 9News senior anchor Jing Magsaysay. According to the said statement, the network’s rebrand ‘marks the beginning of the channel’s thrust to reach a wider audience and to strengthen its presence on free TV RPN-9.

Other than the brand change, the staff, objectives and values, and programming will be retained. However, the previously announced Kids Weekend, originally slated to premiere last August 16, will now be launched this Saturday, alongside other programs aimed towards a bigger audience.

The seeds of Channel 9’s rebrand were first sown in November 2013, when Ramon Ang acquired Solar News and a stake on RPN-9 from Solar Entertainment. Soon after, SNC and ETC traded channels, with SNC moving to RPN-9 and ETC to SBN-21.

Then in late July and early August, all news programs of SNC dropped the ‘Solar’ name, while the ‘sun’ logo and Solar News signage were taken off the network’s studios in Mandaluyong. And in a sign of things to come, all reporters of the said network are now required to use the 9News name after every report.

That said, the rebrand of the Solar News Channel to 9TV will officially mark the end of Solar Entertainment’s decade-long relationship with RPN. Solar was essential in privatizing RPN after two decades of government sequestration, but the loss of finances also led to their sale of Solar News and RPN to Ramon Ang, who promptly changed the direction of Channel 9.

This Saturday will mark a new era in Channel 9’s storied yet tumultuous history. And for 9TV, it is time to start fresh.

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