news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

News5 Anchors Go Solo, But Is It Worth the Risk?

News5 is making changes, sort of.

As reported yesterday by MediaNewser.com, three of TV5’s ‘Aksyon’ newscasts will have just one anchor each. The anchors for each newscast are:

  • Cheryl Cosim (Aksyon sa Umaga)
  • Raffy Tulfo (Aksyon sa Tanghali)
  • Ed Lingao (Aksyon Tonite)

This was in reaction to the recent departures of several News5 talent (e.g. Martin Andanar and Cherie Mercado), some of whom were hired by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. As for ‘Aksyon Prime’, they will retain a two-anchor setup with Erwin Tulfo and Luchi Cruz-Valdes.

The one-anchor setup actually got underway with ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, when TV5 chose not to give Raffy Tulfo a replacement partner starting July 18. However, the possibility of just one anchor on the newscasts was not realized until Cheryl Cosim hinted recently on Instagram of her last remaining days as co-anchor of ‘Aksyon Tonite’.

‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, the other newscast that Cheryl anchors nowadays, will be most affected by the new setup. The show will lose co-hosts Grace Lee, France Noguera, Renz Ongkiko, Jeff Caparas, and Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, and viewers could feel concerned about the impracticality of one anchor handling a long 90-minute newscast.

Despite the decision, criticism continued to haunt News5, especially their decision to retain Raffy Tulfo for ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’. As noted previously in Part I of News5 Needs a Revamp, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ was mostly sensationalized and similar to Raffy’s radio show ‘Wanted sa Radyo’, thanks in large part to the ‘Itimbre Mo Kay Tulfo’ segment.

Many also criticized News5’s decision to drop Atty. Mel Sta. Maria from ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’. Considering that both Cheryl and Atty. Mel were praised for giving new life and credibility back into the newscast, this was a decision that will undoubtedly question News5’s commitment to improve its news programs.

The truth is, Luchi Cruz-Valdes should have done a lot more. Using just one anchor for three of the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts will not change how viewers negatively perceive News5, especially when the presence of the Tulfo brothers were brought up to the discussion.

That said, it is obvious that a full-scale revamp is still a necessity for News5. Unless they promote more deserving reporters to anchor status, hire fresh graduates from journalism and mass communications courses, and change their approach to news reporting to a more ‘global’ approach, News5’s negative reputation will continue to haunt them in the years to come.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

News5 Needs a Revamp (Part II)

The problems surrounding TV5 has also spread to the news department.

In Part I, FTT discussed the various dilemmas that surrounded News5 in recent months. These problems range from questionable personnel decisions and content criticisms to programming issues.

Now on Part II, we discuss what steps are needed to resuscitate News5 from its doldrums. These solutions may be risky for the division, but in the long term, it should help them regain their former glory.

With that, here are the following ways to fix News5:

Hire and Promote Younger Reporters

News5 really needs some young blood to shore things up. With that in mind, an aggressive recruiting plan is needed to acquire younger journalists (preferably fresh graduates from mass communications and journalism courses) who could help them in the long term.

Of course, it would be best to avoid the so-called ‘entertainers masquerading as journalists’ (EMAJ) at all costs. If so, demote them to reporting showbiz news.

In addition to that, they may need to promote some of their long-time reporters to anchor the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts on a regular or a temporary basis. Reporters like Maricel Halili, Renz Ongkiko, Maeanne Los Baños, France Noguera, Carla Lim and Trish Roque could get some airtime as anchors in the near future.

However, that will only be possible if News5 does something drastic to ‘Aksyon’. Which leads to this much-needed solution.

Reformat ‘Aksyon’ (save for ‘Aksyon Tonite’)

For the most part, ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ and ‘Aksyon Prime’ are similar to the newscasts of ABS-CBN and GMA: mostly sensationalized in nature. This is contrast to ‘Aksyon Tonite’, whose content is more on hard news.

Getting rid of the sensationalized reports and focusing more on hard news should be a priority for News5 in restructuring the ‘Aksyon’ brand. Of course, a personnel shuffle is needed as well; after all, no one wants to be the next Raffy Tulfo, who turned ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ into a ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ in newscast form.

Find someone equal to ‘Aksyon Tonite”s Ed Lingao and Cheryl Cosim, and a more reenergized ‘Aksyon’ newscasts are ready to go. But if TV5 wants to make their news available 24/7, they need to go to this route.

Establish an All-News Channel on Cignal

AksyonTV’s glory days are long gone. The former 24-hour all-Filipino news channel is now airing more sporting events than ever, and TV5 may need to give its sister channel a much-needed rebrand (preferably renaming it as the Sports5 Network or AKTV).

A news channel is still a necessity though. But instead of airing it on free TV like before, what TV5 needed now is a Cignal exclusive news channel, complete with the simulcasts of all Radyo5 programs, ‘Aksyon’ newscasts and public affairs shows from TV5 (don’t confuse it with Bloomberg TV Philippines, as it is strictly a business news channel).

In order to do that, however, more shows on Radyo5 and TV5 are needed. Which leads to:

Create More Shows on Radyo5 and TV5

Radyo5 92.3 News FM may be the only news-oriented FM station in the country, but its programming is still a far cry from that of AM radio counterparts DZBB and DZMM. With that in mind, the station needs to add more programs in addition to hiring new hosts.

The same can be said to TV5, whose only active public affairs shows are ‘Alagang Kapatid’ and ‘ReAksyon’. Adding new shows could take a while, however, since the network is busy managing the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

These solutions should help News5 regain its former glory. But rebuilding is not easy, however, so all it needs is patience, perseverance and faith to get the job done.

News5 has a potential to be a great news organization. However, with all the problems they countered, it’s easy to see why they’re still lagging behind the others.

Hopefully they do this right as soon as possible. The fate of News5 is on the management’s hands.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Remembering the NCAA on TV5

Adios, NCAA on TV5.

In one month, the 91st season of the NCAA will get underway. The league will have a new (or old) media partner going forward, as they joined forces with ABS-CBN Sports beginning this season.

But before we look ahead to the league’s return to the Kapamilya group, let us reflect on the three-year relationship between the NCAA and TV5.

Ambitious Beginnings

The NCAA joined forces with Sports5 prior to Season 88. The games were first broadcast on the AKTV on IBC-13 block, with a Monday-Thursday-Saturday schedule and a 4:00 p.m. start time.

The league also held a pair of provincial playdates in an effort to attract new fans. But to fans’ dismay, neither of the out-of-town games were aired on AKTV, a predicament that continued the next season with AksyonTV.

AKTV also employed full-time sideline reporters as opposed to student representatives/OJTs used by ABS-CBN Sports. They also deviated from ABS-CBN’s practice of showing cheering squads at halftime, and instead used the time to read netizens’ tweets and talk to fans of opposing schools.

And of course, a new partner means a new broadcast staff. Sports5 elected to employ a younger cast of announcers, as opposed to a more veteran-laden team during the ABS-CBN era, in hopes of connecting to younger fans.

Brewing Troubles and Change of Stations

The first sign of trouble for the NCAA on Sports5 took place in the Season 88 Finals. Game 3 of the San Beda-Letran series was aired on TV5 but on a more unfavorable early afternoon slot, a scenario that was repeated in the following year’s finals between the same two teams.

Then in May 2013, Mediaquest and TV5 decided to end their blocktime deal with IBC-13. This forced Sports5 to move the league’s games to AksyonTV, a decision that didn’t sit well with the viewers due to the station’s poor reach and accessibility.

Worse, the lack of an online livestreaming platform only exacerbated the situation, especially during heavily prioritized live news events such as the State of the Nation Address. Although Sports5 managed to provide a livestreaming platform by Season 90, the damage was already done at that point.

A Last-Ditch Effort By TV5

Season 90 saw a select number of games aired on the flagship TV5, in hopes of addressing the need for wider access. Still, a few games that ran overtime were cut off TV5 in favor of Aksyon Prime (a decision known as the ‘Heidi Moment’), something that was not experienced when ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23, now ABS-CBN Sports+Action) had the rights.

The TV5 games also featured the infamous Moneyball game that was first implemented during the network’s PBA coverage. The presence of Moneyball took away the school spirit aspect of the game, as it prevented the league’s fans from watching the performance of the cheering squads at halftime.

Even though TV5 aired a select number of games that season, AksyonTV still had a major presence on the NCAA coverage. The addition of TV5 did little to increase attention to the league’s games, despite a major promotional campaign that signified the NCAA as ‘Ang Larong Tunay’ (A True Game).

Aftermath

In the end, the ambitious plans of TV5 for the NCAA backfired. The demise of AKTV proved too much, as it affected whatever grand plans the Kapatid network has had in making the NCAA more competitive and attractive to viewers.

Promotion of the league was also a problem, as Sports5 continues to prioritize the PBA. Furthermore, the constant change in channels, along with the use of unorthodox gimmicks such as Moneyball, the lack of modern technologies, and the use of full-time reporters as opposed to student representatives, only hastened the decline.

The final straw for the NCAA on TV5 took place once their regular on-air announcers were elevated to the PBA. In hindsight, it was clear that TV5 has had enough; even though they tried to offer an extension, the NCAA felt the time to move on was now.

And so it did. From now on, it’s ABS-CBN Sports’ turn once more. And the NCAA couldn’t be happier.

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Philippines, radio, Sports, television

A Full-Time Return to TV5 for the PBA

The defending grand slam champions Purefoods Star Hotshots (formerly San Mig Super Coffee Mixers) and 11 other teams will once again wage war as the PBA kicks off its 40th season on the TV5 family of networks. (Photo credit: Purefoods Star Hotshots official Facebook)

The Philippine Basketball Association is definitely back on TV5.

Starting with the 2014-15 season, all games of the PBA will now be seen on the flagship TV5 network every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Kapatid network last aired a full slate of PBA games during the 2007-08 season, when it was still under the ABC branding.

As a result of the PBA’s full-time return to TV5, here is the new schedule that will be implemented during weekday games:

4:15 p.m. – PBA first game

6:30 p.m. – Aksyon Prime

7:00 p.m. – PBA second game

9:15 p.m. – Wattpad Presents

9:45 p.m. – The Amazing Race Philippines 2

There will be no changes to the schedules on Saturdays and Sundays, as the PBA games usually occupy the more vacant slots.

In addition, Radyo5 92.3 News FM will now air a majority of the PBA games for its radio listeners. As a result, here is the weekday schedule for Radyo5 during PBA game days:

6:00 a.m. – Orly Mercado All Ready

7:30 a.m. – Punto Asintado

9:00 a.m. – Bitag Live

10:00 a.m. – Aksyon Solusyon

11:00 a.m. – Cristy FerMinute

12:30 p.m. – Relasyon

2:00 p.m. – Wanted sa Radyo

4:15 p.m. – PBA first game

6:30 p.m. – Aksyon Prime

7:00 p.m. – PBA second game

9:15 p.m. – Remoto Control

Radyo5 will also air Sunday games in lieu of its all-music program ‘Sunday By Heart’. However, it remains to be seen if they will also carry Saturday playdates, since the majority of these games will be held in the provinces.

In a related development, Sports5 announced that AksyonTV will once again simulcast the PBA games. Last season, AksyonTV carried the bulk of the PBA schedule, which unfortunately, brought not only criticism but also confusion from the viewing public.

This time around, however, the simulcast of the PBA games on AksyonTV seem more like a need rather than an option for the embattled station. Following the demise of AKTV and the integration of Sports5 events to AksyonTV, the station has been criticized for airing too many re-runs whenever there are no sports events to cover, since the ‘AksyonTV originals’ were cancelled just for this move.

For cable subscribers, Fox Sports Asia will continue to air the PBA games on Wednesdays, with English-language commentary from Sports5 announcers. They will also air the cup finals in its entirety.

Hyper will also air replays of the PBA games, albeit exclusive only to Cignal subscribers. And finally, for online subscribers, the PBA can now be seen via livestreaming on the official PBA on Sports5 website.

In two days, the 2014-15 PBA Philippine Cup gets underway. For the 12 teams participating, and to the TV5 family of networks, good luck in giving the fans a whole lot of basketball action all season long.

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Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA on TV5 Digs an Even Deeper Hole

The NCAA on TV5 received its latest black eye.

Monday saw two eventful matches with contrasting results. In the first game, the Perpetual Altas stunned the San Beda Red Lions 76-75, after which the Red Lions filed a protest claiming that Joel Jolangcob’s three-pointer at the end of the third quarter should have been nullified on the grounds that the Altas committed a prior 24-second shotclock violation.

But it was the second game between the Mapua Cardinals and the EAC Generals that stole the show, for all the wrong reasons.

With 28.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and EAC leading 86-77, Generals playmaker John Tayongtong punched Mapua guard CJ Isit. Teammate Leo Gabo came into Isit’s defense and shoved Tayongtong, after which the bench-clearing brawl began that eventually stopped the game.

The Mapua-EAC game was shown on both TV5 and AksyonTV. But just as the arena announcer began to make an announcement regarding the player penalties and the official conclusion of the game, TV5 elected to cut the game short in favor of ‘Aksyon Prime’, and in one final measure, the station’s announcers urged viewers to switch to AksyonTV.

This is not the first time that TV5 cut its NCAA coverage short in favor of the news. Over two months ago, the closing minutes of a first-round game between Lyceum and Mapua was abruptly cut in favor of an impromptu speech by President Noynoy Aquino, which essentially kicked off ‘Aksyon Prime’.

Their latest act, while more excusable than the first, is just another way of treating the NCAA like a second-class citizen. Yes, they may be focusing their energies more on the Gilas basketball team of late, but they should have been treating the NCAA equally like their other broadcast properties.

Honestly, TV5 should have finished the airing of the game. The official announcement was seconds away, and yet they decided to do what is infamously known as a ‘Heidi moment’ in television lore, which is unacceptable to viewers.

With still a few more games to go, TV5 needs to learn from these mistakes as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the NCAA will have to find a new partner for next season.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, radio, Sports, television

For TV5, It’s All About ‘Aksyon’

On July 21, TV5 will officially integrate their newscasts under the ‘Aksyon’ banner. The newscasts will be titled ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, ‘Aksyon Prime’, and ‘Aksyon Tonite’.

But prior to the relaunch, several other TV5 programs and entities have used the word ‘Aksyon’ since the brand was launched in 2010.

Aksyon JournalisMO

The first late night news program of TV5 following the sale to Manny V. Pangilinan, ‘Aksyon JournalisMO’ was first anchored by Martin Andanar, Cherie Mercado and Jove Francisco. Andanar was later replaced by Atty. Mike Templo, followed by Paolo Bediones. The newscast ran from October 25, 2010 to February 17, 2012, and features online opinions of citizens regarding various national issues.

Aksyon Solusyon

The public service program has been airing on Radyo5 92.3 NewsFM since 2011, and was first hosted by Cheryl Cosim and Richard Gordon. Cosim was later replaced by Amelyn Veloso, before current host Alex Tinsay took over the program in late 2012. Tinsay is now the sole host of the program after Gordon’s departure in early 2013. ‘Aksyon Solusyon’ also airs on AksyonTV.

AksyonTV

Named after the flagship newscast, AksyonTV was launched on February 21, 2011. Once hailed as the first 24-hour free TV news network in the Filipino language, AksyonTV later cut its operational hours due to rising costs. The network currently airs a mix of Radyo5 programs, ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, News5 programs, and Sports5 events.

Aksyon Weekend

The weekend edition of ‘Aksyon’, it first aired on April 10, 2010. The original anchors were Andanar, Mercado and Francisco, all of whom would go on to anchor ‘Aksyon JournalisMO’. Amelyn Veloso, Naomi Dayrit and Maricel Halili later took over Mercado’s vacated seat.

Initially an early evening newscast, it was moved to late nights on October 10, 2010 to make way for ‘Willing Willie’. Twenty days later, Atty. Templo replaced Andanar, after which the newscast was renamed ‘Aksyon Sabado’ and ‘Aksyon Linggo’. They were later replaced by ‘Pilipinas News Weekend’ in August 2012.

‘Aksyon Weekend’ was revived on January 16, 2013, with Raffy Tulfo and Grace Lee as anchors. Unlike the previous version, however, ‘Aksyon Weekend’ only aired on Saturday afternoons, mainly due to sports coverage and weekend entertainment programs. The revived ‘Aksyon Weekend’ ended its broadcasts on July 12, 2014.

Aksyon Sports

Hosted by Dennis Principe and Ron delos Reyes, ‘Aksyon Sports’ has been airing on Radyo5 92.3 News FM since 2011. The program also aired on AksyonTV, but was later cancelled. ‘Aksyon Sports’ solely focuses on recaps of sports events and discussions regarding various sports issues.

Aksyon Breaking and Related Bulletins

‘Aksyon Breaking’ (AksyonTV), ‘Aksyon Alert’ (TV5) and ‘Aksyon News Update’ (Radyo5 92.3 News FM) serve as the main news bulletins of News5. While ‘Aksyon Alert’ and ‘Aksyon News Update’ continue to air, ‘Aksyon Breaking’ was cancelled on July 13, 2014, in anticipation of a reformat.

Regional Aksyon

TV5 affiliates in Cebu and Davao air a regional version of ‘Aksyon’. ‘Aksyon Bisaya’ was first launched on July 18, 2011, after TV5 launched its Cebu affiliate. ‘Aksyon Dabaw’ was then launched on May 5, 2014, serving viewers of TV5 Davao.

Reaksyon

Formerly a stand-alone news and commentary program, it will now serve as a segment for ‘Aksyon Prime’ beginning July 21. Luchi Cruz-Valdes will continue to host the segment in addition to her anchoring duties on ‘Aksyon Prime’.

InterAksyon.com

The official news website of TV5, InterAksyon.com was launched in 2010, following the sale of the network to Manny V. Pangilinan. In addition to various news articles, clips of News5 programs and newscasts on TV and radio are also featured via its sister site News5 Everywhere.

This Monday, TV5 takes the ‘Aksyon’ name to new heights, in the form of ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ (mornings), ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ (noontime), ‘Aksyon Prime’ (primetime) and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ (late nights). For News5, it is about strengthening and unifying the brand, believing that ‘more than the news, it is about action’ (‘higit sa balita, aksyon’). And that is exactly what they are attempting to accomplish.

However, it remains to be seen whether or not their new initiative will pay off. But for now, News5 will welcome a change of scenery, and will start over with a clean slate.

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