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Overview of PNoy’s Final SONA Coverage

Eyes will be on President Noynoy Aquino as he makes his final State of the Nation Address. (Photo credit: Philstar.com)

Welcome to SONA Monday.

Held every fourth Monday of July, the State of the Nation Address is an annual event where the President of the Philippines addresses the public of his accomplishments and plans for the nation. While the SONA is not a national holiday, it remains an important political event in the country, ranking just above the presidential inauguration and the national elections.

This year’s SONA will be the last for President Noynoy Aquino, and it will be interesting to see how he will respond to the recent string events that have plagued his administration. As always, it will be greeted by protests from those against his administration.

Television and radio coverage will once again be at the forefront of this annual event, so without further ado, here are the plans for some of the stations covering the SONA.

ABS-CBN

The SONA coverage on Channel 2 will proceed after ‘Flordeliza’. ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737 Gold’ and ‘Mission Possible’ will be preempted, while ‘Kapamilya: Deal or No Deal’ may be preempted in case the SONA runs overtime.

ABS-CBN will use three different broadcast teams for their coverage. Channel 2 will be led by Ted Failon and Lynda Jumilla, ANC will be led by Tony Velasquez and Karmina Constantino, and DZMM TeleRadyo and Radyo Patrol 630 will be led by Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja.

A live and uninterrupted feed of the coverage will also be streamed on abs-cbnnews.com. It is unknown if the SONA coverage will also be seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, since the NCAA will no longer be in conflict with the SONA.

TV5

The SONA coverage on TV5 will proceed after the Marvel animation block. ‘Hi-5 Philippines’ will be the only show preempted, as ‘Movie Max 5’ only airs as a filler program.

TV5 will utilize a parallel broadcast approach for the coverage. Erwin Tulfo and Cheryl Cosim will anchor TV5’s coverage of the SONA on four different platforms: TV5, AksyonTV, Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and News5Everywhere.

GMA

The SONA coverage on GMA will proceed after ‘The Half-Sisters’. ‘Buena Familia”s premiere will be moved tomorrow, while ‘Healing Hearts’, ‘Alisto’ and possibly ‘Birth of a Beauty’ will be preempted.

The press release of the network only indicated that Mel Tiangco and Mike Enriquez will anchor Channel 7’s coverage. Whether or not it will be a parallel coverage or a separate coverage on Channel 7, GMA News TV, GMA News Online and Super Radyo DZBB 594 remains to be seen.

All AM stations, save for specialty ones, will also pool their resources for the SONA coverage. Updates on the event will also be provided by a few FM stations.

Net 25 will also cover the SONA, but since it takes place on the same day as the Iglesia ni Cristo’s 101st founding anniversary, the primary focus of the station could be on the latter. UNTV will also handle their own coverage of the event.

Finally, the neophyte CNN Philippines (formerly Solar News Channel and 9TV) will join in on the SONA fun for the first time. Their coverage of the SONA will be anchored by Jing Magsaysay and Pia Hontiveros.

Regardless of the station, the entire nation will pay attention to the statements made by President Aquino. His last SONA will be very important, so keep an eye on what he says.

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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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FTT Year 2014 in Review: Other Networks

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the minor TV networks in the Philippines.

Highlights

A transitional period from the Solar News Channel to CNN Philippines got underway in August. Temporarily known as 9TV, the network was launched on August 23 after Antonio Cabangon-Chua purchased the network from Solar Entertainment’s Wilson Tieng; CNN later signed an agreement with Nine Media Corporation to rename the station as CNN Philippines early next year.

Net 25 also unveiled a new look, featuring a logo inspired from an eagle’s wing (in reference to its parent Eagle Broadcasting Corporation). The station then joined forces with sister station INC-TV 49 to cover the events surrounding the centennial of the Iglesia ni Cristo, including the Grand Evangelical Mission at the Philippine Arena that opened the centennial celebrations.

And finally, UNTV broke ground on the new broadcast center that will open in two years. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the station’s 10th anniversary (13th if the rock music format of UNTV were to be included in its history).

Lowlights

In June, IBC-13 and Asian Television Content Corporation joined forces to launch the ATC @ IBC block, featuring a lineup consisting of telenovelas, lifestyle and travel programs, and sports events. Low ratings and loss of revenue caused the block to be cancelled, though ATC later returned to broadcast the PBA Developmental League’s Aspirants Cup on IBC-13 in late October.

Solar Entertainment’s problems continued after the loss of 9TV to the ALC Group. Weeks after the sale of Solar News to Chua’s group was announced, Solar lost another partner in RMN and BEAM Inc. after the latter ceased its affiliation agreement, resulting in the loss of Jack City from free TV 31 in favor of religious programming and O Shopping block.

PTV-4 also made some drastic steps to improve their programming. While ‘Oh Ja Ryong is Coming’ was launched as planned, ‘K-Pop Idol Search – Pinoy Edition’, a partnership between PTV and HBKOR Inc., remains in limbo, as its launch date remains uncertain.

Outlook

The transition to digital television in a few years represents numerous challenges for the minor networks, some of which involve budgetary concerns. Still this is an obstacle that can be overcome, especially now that Philippine television is headed into a new era.

Both the ATC-IBC and PTV-HBKOR deals are at a crossroads, while Nine Media’s new venture as CNN Philippines is about to get underway. This and more as 2015 begins in earnest.

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Remembering Sunday Chinese Theater on RPN-9

Before there were Asianovelas on the big networks, and before the news invaded RPN-9 (now 9TV), there was ‘Sunday Chinese Theater’.

During the 1990s, RPN-9 aired the said program block at around 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. As the title suggests, the program featured Chinese drama series that were undubbed and with little edits.

‘Sunday Chinese Theater’ primarily catered to the Chinese Filipino community, considered as one of the largest ethnic groups in the country.

One of the more popular Chinese dramas aired on ‘Sunday Chinese Theater’ happen to be ‘Justice Bao’, whose title sequence was iconic among older television viewers.

The series focused on the legend of Bao Zheng, a Chinese government official during the Song Dynasty. Bao was instrumental in upholding justice and honesty in ancient China, while punishing various erring citizens for their troublesome deeds.

‘Justice Bao’ lasted 236 episodes in total, and ran for much of 1993 in Taiwan. RPN would later air the series during the mid-to-late 90s, after which ABC-5 (now TV5) picked up the series (as ‘Judge Bao’) and aired it from 2007-08, albeit dubbed in Filipino.

In addition to ‘Justice Bao’ and other Chinese dramas, ‘Sunday Drama Theater’ also aired a cooking show hosted by the legendary Fu Pei-mei. Older viewers should recall the famous banner written in Chinese characters as part of its set.

Fu’s cooking show was aired to close out ‘Sunday Drama Theater’ for several years. And along the way, thousands of dishes were featured and created thanks large part of Fu’s iconic wok.

After its initial run on RPN-9, ABS-CBN picked up the series and aired them after ‘Honey, Watch Out’ on Saturday mornings. Both Fu’s cooking show and ‘Honey, Watch Out’, like ABC-5’s airing of ‘Justice Bao’, were dubbed in Filipino (see example of a Tagalized version of Fu’s cooking show above).

Today, undubbed Chinese programs are now seen on the Chinese Entertainment Channel (CEC), which is exclusive to SkyCable subscribers.

Gone but not forgotten, ‘Sunday Chinese Theater’ will always be identified among RPN-9’s best shows. For any kid who used to channel surf in the 90s, looking at a bearded Chinese judge wielding a stick and a chef tossing her ingredients in a steel wok for a few moments will always be remembered in their minds, and in their hearts forever.

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With Jack City Now Cable-Exclusive, Jack TV’s Future Becomes Uncertain

Jack City became a cable-exclusive network on September 1, ending Solar Entertainment’s affiliation with BEAM Channel 31. (Logo courtesy of Solar Entertainment Corporation)

It was another loss for Solar Entertainment.

A week after selling the Solar News Channel (now 9TV) and part of the Radio Philippines Network (RPN-9) to Aliw Broadcasting’s Antonio Cabangon Chua, Solar’s Jack City channel decided to part ways with affiliate Radio Mindanao Network (BEAM Channel 31). As a result, Jack City became a cable-only entity while BEAM freelanced with other blocktimers.

That left Solar Entertainment with just two free TV channel affiliates: ETC on the Southern Broadcasting Network (SBN-21), and 2nd Avenue on the Rajah Broadcasting Network (RJTV-29).

With Jack City becoming an exclusive cable channel, what will the future hold for Jack TV?

Let’s face it. Jack TV is becoming a shell of its former self. Instead of capitalizing on the funny and breathtaking side of television, as Jack TV had emphasized in their early years, they have reverted back to where they were a decade ago: a mashup of Solar USA’s old format and Jack TV’s own.

Jack TV’s identity crisis is starting to become a cause of concern for Solar, and yet they insist that the network will be fine. But it is clear that the name Jack TV (and its red and yellow motif in particular) no longer fits the type of programming they have now.

The same cannot be said of Jack TV’s sister channel, Jack City. Their black and white motif is more fitting to their darker and more mature set of programs, which in essence pay tribute to their predecessors Solar USA, C/S and CHASE.

Simply put, Jack City is an even more superior channel than that of Jack TV. And while Jack TV can still put up a strong set of programs on a daily basis, it is obvious that the said channel is starting to become a liability with the presence of its sister channel.

That said, a merger between the two channels needs to be considered, if not implemented soon. Should this happen, the old format of Jack TV will have to be integrated into one of Solar’s existing channels, while Jack City will be retained, both in name and in format.

Merging the two networks will greatly benefit Solar Entertainment, since they will only lose one of their channels. Revenue issues have become well-documented for the Solar group, especially in the aftermath of their sale of SNC and RPN to Aliw, and a possible merger between Jack TV and Jack City will help alleviate such stress.

Still, it will be up to the company’s management for that to make it happen. For now, Jack TV and Jack City will remain separate entities, at least for the foreseeable future.

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IBC-13: Repeat Offenders of the MTRCB Ratings System

IBC-13’s disregard of the MTRCB’s current ratings guidelines only adds to the network’s ongoing misery. (Logo courtesy of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation)

The Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13), already dubbed as the ‘sick network’, has another problem to deal with.

The said network has become infamous for their inability to completely implement the current television ratings system that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) mandated in 2011. While all other networks have taken advantage of the new approach, IBC-13 has not taken the MTRCB’s ruling seriously.

As of today, September 1, the following current IBC-13 programs have not adopted the MTRCB ratings system:

  • The Gospel of the Kingdom (of Sonshine Media Networks International)
  • Cooltura
  • Tipong Pinoy
  • Retro TV
  • Tagamend
  • Home Shopping Network (9TV’s airing of HSN is currently rated PG)
  • EZ Shop

Recently, IBC-13’s rebroadcasts of Ninoy Aquino documentaries also failed to follow the current MTRCB ratings system, when in fact they should have implemented it considering the sensitive subject matter of these documentaries.

Making it worse is the fact that the MTRCB has not reacted in any kind to IBC-13’s defiance of their ratings system. Rather than giving the network numerous warnings with regards to their guidelines, they simply stayed quiet.

It is always the duty of the MTRCB to strictly enforce these classification ratings. All networks must take this current ruling seriously in order to provide a more responsible viewing experience.

But in the case of IBC-13, it is clear that they are not enacting some sort of responsibility to their so-called ‘viewers’ , if there is any, simply because their programming is mediocre.

IBC-13’s blatant disregard of the MTRCB television ratings only adds to the network’s recent reputation as an unreliable, incompetent and disorganized broadcast group. While the addition of the Asian Television Content Corporation (ATC) as a blocktimer saved IBC-13 from further embarrassment, it is still not enough to make the network relevant to viewers.

In the end, more problems than solutions await the embattled management of IBC-13. And once the MTRCB finally decides to act on this matter, things will only get worse for the staff inside Capitol Hills, Diliman.

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