hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

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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In 100 Words: Home Radio is Back, Sort Of

97.9 Natural brought back the ‘Home Radio’ name in November. (Logo courtesy of Aliw Broadcasting Corporation)

There seems no end in sight for the embattled Natural 97.9.

Just recently, the Home Radio brand, which was supposedly retired in July, was brought back. This is already the fourth brand change for the Aliw-owned 97.9 FM frequency since the original Home Radio ended its broadcasts in March.

While the ‘re-re-re-rebranded’ Home Radio Natural kept the current Top 40/OPM format, the latest name change clearly showed the station’s lack of direction and identity. The owners seem to have not moved on from the proud and loud past that is ’97dot9 Home Radio’.

Much like 103.5 K-Lite, 97.9 Home Radio Natural is a headache waiting to happen. And it only gets even worse.

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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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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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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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