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Finally: ABS-CBN Newscasts Move to High Definition

Here is some good news for Kapamilya viewers.

On Easter Sunday, April 1, newscasts on ABS-CBN Channel 2 began to air on 16:9 high definition. The conversion began with the 10:00 a.m. ‘News Patrol’, followed by the network’s flagship newscasts ‘TV Patrol’ (both weekend and weeknight editions) and ‘Bandila’ (both DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN editions).

Here is a comparison of ‘News Patrol’ in standard definition (pre-April 1) and in high definition (since April 1) in the following videos.

News Patrol in 4:3 standard definition (courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

News Patrol in 16:9 high definition (courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

The full implementation of ABS-CBN newscasts in HD marked the latest step in the network’s ongoing conversion to this new television technology. However, the changeover was not an easy one.

When ABS-CBN launched its 16:9 high definition feed in October 2015, only its entertainment programs were able to adopt this new technology. As such, ABS-CBN News programs remained in 4:3 standard definition, and whenever it was shown on ABS-CBN HD, black pillarboxes can be seen.

However, the news division was given a glimmer of hope in March 2016 when the ABS-CBN News Channel premiered its own HD feed. This enabled ABS-CBN News to utilize some of its newly-purchased HD cameras for live reports.

Despite that, Channel 2’s newscasts remained in 4:3 SD, mainly to compensate for the regional outlets’ slow adoption to HD technology. But as the impending switch to high definition became imminent, ABS-CBN realized the need for a change.

Thus came the launch of ABS-CBN’s high definition newscasts on Easter Sunday. It was an odd move to say the least, but it was perfect timing for the network since its news operations on television and radio resume around this time.

As mentioned earlier, ‘News Patrol’, ‘TV Patrol’ and ‘Bandila’ are now seen in 16:9 high definition, but they are not the only newscasts that made the move. Even DZMM TeleRadyo’s ‘Headline Pilipinas’ was also converted to 16:9 HD.

But not all newscasts changed over to the new standard. ‘TV Patrol”s regional versions continue to air in 4:3 SD, as are a majority of ABS-CBN Regional programs and even DZMM TeleRadyo.

Still, there is plenty of time for ABS-CBN to implement the new high definition standard to DZMM and the network’s regional affiliates. But for now, enjoy watching ‘TV Patrol’, ‘Bandila’ and all ABS-CBN newscasts in crystal clear 16:9 HD.

ABS-CBN HD is available exclusively on SkyCable channel 167 and to premium access subscribers on iWant TV. ANC HD is available exclusively on SkyCable channel 182 and to premium access subscribers on iWant TV.

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New Trend: GMA Responds to It’s Showtime Going Overtime

Looks like a new trend in primetime newscasts has begun.

In response to ‘TV Patrol’ now airing at around 6:40 p.m. due to ‘It’s Showtime’ exceeding beyond its allotted time, GMA countered by having rival newscast ’24 Oras’ air 10-20 minutes later than its previous timeslot. To do that, GMA intentionally allowed one of its programs to go past its duration.

That turned out to be the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, which usually airs for only 45-50 minutes at best. But Wednesday afternoon (see episode hashtag below) saw ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ go beyond its usual running time and air for 80 minutes, uncharacteristically long for a teleserye.

GMA’s version of Vice Ganda and company excessively talking for minutes came by way of long commercial breaks. But much like what ABS-CBN allowed (whether intentional or not) ‘It’s Showtime’ to do, isn’t this a little too much for viewers to take?

Consider this: ‘It’s Showtime”s archrival ‘Eat Bulaga’ is only given 2 1/2 hours of airtime by GMA from Monday to Friday due to its blocktimer status. GMA can’t obviously loosen this rule because even Antonio Tuviera is strict enough to enforce such a ruling.

They also cannot allow ‘Wowowin’ to go past its allotted time and go live because of Willie Revillame’s past controversies. The onus fell on one of GMA’s afternoon teleseryes, and that turned out to be its highest-rated program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

This is definitely a bad case of ‘fight fire with fire’. The recent shenanigans of ABS-CBN and GMA dragged its other programs down, and it also affected the airtimes of the respective networks’ late-night newscasts in ‘Bandila’ and ‘Saksi’.

If this game of one-upsmanship continues, both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ might end up airing at an uncharacteristically late timeslot of 7:00 p.m. Not a good way to kick off the primetime slate.

But at least there are earlier primetime newscasts that viewers can tune in to. The choices include PTV-4’s ‘PTV News’ (if viewers can tolerate Erwin Tulfo’s biased reporting), CNN Philippines’ ‘News Night’, Net 25’s ‘Mata ng Agila’, UNTV’s ‘Ito ang Balita’ and even ‘Top Story’ of the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Apologies to T5N’s ‘Aksyon Prime’, but its timeslot inconsistencies are too much to handle. But regardless of that, alternatives in primetime news are worth the time and money.

Still, ABS-CBN and GMA should know all too well that time is precious. They could at least adjust this new trend in primetime programming, but they need to stop allowing its programs to go overtime so as not to compromise the patience of viewers.

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FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part II)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part II of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: Ben and Erwin Tulfo

The two Tulfo brothers began the year as hosts of their respective programs (Ben for ‘Bitag Live’, Erwin for ‘Punto Asintado’) on Radyo5 92.3 News FM. But after a highly-publicized feud with journalist Ed Lingao last June, Ben and Erwin elected to quit their jobs with Radyo5 and move over to PTV-4 (where they host ‘Kilos Pronto’ with Alex Santos) and Radyo Pilipinas full-time.

While Ben moved ‘Bitag Live’ to join its sister programs over to PTV-4, Erwin returned to newscasting with ‘Radyo Pilipinas Nationwide’ and ‘PTV News’ where he is joined by Weng dela Peña and Diane Querrer respectively. Erwin also brought his ‘Erwin Tulfo Live’ over to Radyo Pilipinas and started a talk show with President Rodrigo Duterte called ‘Sa Totoo Lang’.

NOT: Raffy Tulfo

Meanwhile, the lone remaining Tulfo on TV5 continued to butcher the already damaged reputation of its news division by changing the format anew of ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’. As a result, the erstwhile newscast became a full-on television counterpart to Raffy’s radio program ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ by emphasizing more on citizen complaints than actual news reports.

Notwithstanding the recent addition of Marga Vargas as co-anchor, it was clear that having Raffy on ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ is doing more harm than good to News5’s morale. Perhaps the departure of his brothers plus News5’s decline in quality may have taken its toll on Raffy, and giving him the walking papers may be inevitable.

HOT: DZMM TeleRadyo and Dobol B sa News TV

In April, a new-look DZMM TeleRadyo was unveiled to a nationwide audience, featuring an improved visual presentation and a new set for ‘Sakto’, ‘Good Vibes’, ‘On the Spot’ and ‘Todo-Todo Walang Preno’. They also added a selection of ABS-CBN News programs and two newscasts to the lineup in ‘Headline Pilipinas’ and an ‘early edition’ of ‘Bandila’.

Not to be outdone, rival Super Radyo DZBB 594 returned to television via ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ after a four-year hiatus. The station also started to cross over to social media by airing select programs live on Facebook, much like DZMM does on occasion.

NOT: News5 in General

The self-destruction of News5 continued throughout the year. Not only did the network lose Ben and Erwin Tulfo among other talents, they also cancelled ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ and shortened ‘Aksyon Tonite’ in favor of sports programming from ESPN5.

It also didn’t help that its leader Luchi Cruz-Valdes disappeared from radio and television altogether due to health concerns. Overall, the future does not look bright for News5 and the inevitability of dissolution draws even closer as each day passes.

HOT: 97.9 Home Radio

Call it a rebirth as the ‘old’ 97.9 Home Radio returned to the airwaves last July. Gone is the Top 40 style of previous years, and to the delight of its loyal listeners, Home Radio resurrected its familiar ‘easy listening’ format.

The reformat of Home Radio back to its roots should give 96.3 Easy Rock a run for its money. After all, with Easy Rock offering a bland Love Radio-like approach, a more diverse playlist is more than enough for listeners to switch to Home Radio instead.

NOT: 90.7 Love Radio

They may continue to boast that they were the No. 1 radio station in Metro Manila for nearly (self-proclaimed) two decades now, but the grip is slipping for 90.7 Love Radio. The loss of Papa Jack (now 106.7 Energy FM’s Papa Jackson) became too large of a hole to fill, and despite having the talented duo of Chris Tsuper and Nicole Hyala, this year overall is not a good one for Love Radio.

Getting surpassed by MOR 101.9 in the ratings is insult to injury to Love Radio’s psyche. And if that is not enough, Lloyd Cafe Cadena is no Papa Jackson, which is hard to accept for any listener of the said station.

HOT: FM1 and FM2

The two FM stations under the PCOO umbrella officially signed on this year: 104.3 FM2 in February and 87.5 FM1 in November. Within months, FM2 became the top-rated FM radio station among the upscale listening public thanks in large part to their diverse format featuring classic songs from the 70s up to the 90s.

As for FM1, the station is currently in test broadcast and is expected to launch early next year. Unlike FM2, FM1 will focus on the younger demographic with a format consisting of music from the 2000s onwards, which should give established stations like Magic 89.9 and Monster RX 93.1 a run for their money.

NOT: Retro 105.9

The original ‘retro’ FM radio station in Metro Manila faced new competition in the form of FM2 this year. Initially, Retro 105.9 was the top FM radio station among Metro Manila’s upscale listeners, but a surge from FM2 ended their reign.

Making matters worse is Retro 105.9’s latest rebrand that took place in November, dismissing almost all of its on-air staff in favor of a mostly automated approach. With FM2 imposing its will on the upscale market, it seems like the days of Retro 105.9 as the source of anything ‘retro’ music is being numbered by the day.

Part III of this four-part series is coming up this Thursday. Stay tuned.

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Live Blog: 2017 ASEAN Summit on ANC (Part I)

The 2017 ASEAN Summit is up and running, as heads of ASEAN nations as well as other world dignitaries converge to discuss various political issues that affect both their countries and the world. At around the same time, the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit also takes place, focusing on business concerns surrounding the ASEAN region.

The ABS-CBN News Channel and CNN Philippines are the primary channels that will cover in detail the ASEAN Summit. For this live blog, I will focus on ANC, so keep refreshing this blog for the latest updates on their coverage.

5:30-7:25 a.m.

ANC began its ASEAN coverage last Saturday night and stepped up its game further yesterday with a more detailed analysis on the event. ‘Early Edition’ kicks off Day 3 of the ASEAN Summit.

While I was still in bed, Annalisa Burgos, TJ Manotoc and Paolo Abrera are inside ANC’s main studio to begin the coverage. Co-anchor Michelle Ong is also live at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque.

During this time, the ‘Early Edition’ team conducted interviews related to the ASEAN Summit.

Also inside Solaire Resort and Casino is ‘Market Edge’ anchor Cathy Yang. She will anchor ‘Market Edge’ on location and conduct interviews with various business personalities.

7:25 a.m. 

Christian Esguerra is inside the 8 Rockwell studio for Matters of Fact. His guest, former Foreign Affairs secretary Roberto Romulo, speaks about Donald Trump, his relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte, the South China Sea, and other ASEAN-related issues.

7:49 a.m.

What’s buzzing on social media? Maria Isabel Lopez’s controversial bypass to the ASEAN lane generated plenty of reactions on social media.

Take it away, TJ.

8:00 a.m.

‘Headstart’ with Karen Davila is about to start. As always, ‘Headstart’ takes place inside the 8 Rockwell studio.

Her guest: ASEAN expert and columnist Karim Raslan. But first, headlines on the ASEAN Summit.

8:13 a.m.

Hot Copy with Karim Raslan starts now, and he’s taking on both sides of the ASEAN story.

While the interview was going on, I was eating my breakfast. All in all, watching ‘Headstart’ is like drinking my coffee to begin weekdays.

8:28 a.m.

Although there are no classes and work (at least in the Pasay-Parañaque area), the Philippine Stock Exchange will remain open during the entire ASEAN Summit week. ANC business reporter Warren de Guzman is already live-tweeting some stock market stats during this time, indicating that he will be inside the PSE to report on the stocks and foreign exchange figures.

8:40 a.m.

As I continue to watch ‘Headstart”s interview with Karim Raslan, I always think to myself that Karen Davila is a terrific interviewer. And like TJ Manotoc who goes between delivering news on ‘Early Edition’ and sports on S+A’s ‘The Score’, Karen is a multi-faceted personality that can shift from one particular medium to another.

After ‘Headstart’, some lunch and occasional tapings for ‘My Puhunan’, Karen would go to the main ABS-CBN Broadcast Center for DZMM’s ‘Pasada Sais Trenta’ in the afternoon and ABS-CBN’s ‘Bandila’ at night. A woman of many talents indeed.

8:52 a.m.

A live shot of the ASEAN Summit opening ceremony at the CCP Complex. Today and tomorrow will be a very busy one for our top dignitaries.

8:58 a.m.

Our beloved president greeting some of his fellow subjects at the CCP, as seen on ANC.

9:03 a.m.

We are back inside ANC’s main studio with Annalisa Burgos. Sometime later on Cathy Yang will make an appearance at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, so keep an eye on her.

Meanwhile, our beloved president greets more guests.

9:15 a.m.

Oh look, Cathy Yang is now LOL (live on location) at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. George Barcelon of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry is her first guest.

Meanwhile, more guests are arriving at the CCP.

9:22 a.m.

Lost in the hoopla of the ASEAN Summit is the announcement that the ABS-CBN Christmas Station ID will air at around 7:40 p.m. on ABS-CBN and its family of networks. And yes, our ANC anchors and reporters will be there wearing the Just Love shirts.

Meanwhile, our president continues to welcome his guests.

9:35 a.m.

Traffic is a concern at the ASEAN Summit with all the closed sections. Thank goodness ANC has a traffic report to keep us informed.

Over at the CCP, the Donald is in the building, Americana and all. Plus the stock market opens higher.

9:45 a.m.

ASEAN Summit opening ceremonies is about to begin any minute now. Stay tuned.

9:48 a.m.

Now underway.

9:53 a.m.

Uh-oh. Those anti-ASEAN Summit protests are at it again. Good thing the police are prepared.

9:55 a.m.

Our president now speaks at the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit.

Stay tuned for Part II.

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In 100 Words: New Host for Red Alert

‘Red Alert’ has a new host.

Beginning tomorrow night, the ABS-CBN disaster-oriented program will be hosted by Jeff Canoy. Canoy replaced the now-departed Atom Araullo who recently returned to GMA Network after over a decade of service on the Kapamilya network.

Prior to his big break on ‘Red Alert’, Canoy served as a long-time field reporter for ABS-CBN News, and his recent work on the Marawi crisis earned raves from netizens both here and abroad. Canoy will continue to serve as field reporter while adding a new hat as host of ‘Red Alert.

Canoy will also join Prof. Mahar Lagmay and Ted Esguerra on ‘Red Alert sa DZMM’ airing every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. As for ‘Red Alert’ on television, it will still air Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on DZMM TeleRadyo and after ‘Bandila’ on ABS-CBN.

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Love in the Moonlight Rerun Adds to ABS-CBN’s Death Slot Problems

The mess that is ABS-CBN’s 5:00 p.m. weekday slot continues.

Beginning today, the Kapamilya network will re-air the Koreanovela ‘Love in the Moonlight’ in its so-called ‘death slot’. The series originally aired on Primetime Bida from March 6 to May 5, 2017, spanning 43 episodes.

Unlike its original run which was seen in every household in the country, ‘Love in the Moonlight”s rebroadcast will only be seen in Metro Manila, select regional areas and on digital, cable and satellite subscription services. The rest of the country will receive regional versions of ‘TV Patrol’ while the Koreanovela airs at 9:30 a.m. the next day.

The problems surrounding ABS-CBN’s 5:00 p.m. slot has been well-documented in this blog. While ‘TV Patrol”s regional versions are only a part of the issue, there are other concerns that jeopardize this timeslot.

As stated earlier, programs that are affected by the broadcast of regional ‘TV Patrol’ are aired the following morning at around 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. Unfortunately, not all shows were aired in full.

In the last two Junes, both ‘We Will Survive’ and ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ saw numerous episodes preempted due to the NBA Finals. To make matters worse, those preempted episodes were never aired at all in ABS-CBN’s regional stations, leaving non-iWanTV subscribers perplexed and unsatisfied

If ABS-CBN were smart enough to realize these issues, they would have done these three things:

  1. Air ‘O Shopping’ as permanent filler.
  2. Bring News and Current Affairs shows back to the 5:00 p.m. slot (with a replay after ‘Bandila’ to satisfy the rest of the country).
  3. Produce a Metro Manila version of ‘TV Patrol’.

But as it stands, ABS-CBN is simply too stubborn to resist change in its approach. They somehow rectified that with a rerun of the Koreanovela ‘Love in the Moonlight’ (as reruns are considered filler), but still, it would mean sacrificing success in favor of short-term fixes.

There is still time for ABS-CBN to correct whatever issues they face every weekday afternoon. That said, viewers can only hope for the best, no matter how slim it may be.

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