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PRR 2015: Philippine Radio in Review

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio.

Our friend MC’s Corner will look back at the events that shaped Philippine radio in 2015. Enjoy.

MC's Corner

2015 is about to end in a few days. But before we bid goodbye to this year, here is a look back at what happened in the world of Philippine Radio. This article will analyze on the Top 10 newcomers, comebacks, reformats & restructures in Metro Manila (and a few in other key cities).

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This list ranges from newcomers to restructures to ventures.

1. 8TriMedia’s Big Move

8tm 8TriMedia Broadcasting

Late last year, 8TriMedia, a media company of Jojo Soliman, began as a blocktimer on DZJV 1458, airing its programs during nighttime (6pm onwards).

Last April, 8TM bought time from DWBL 1242 to air its programs. From 4 programs, they expanded to 7 on this 20-Kw station. The roster is consisted of veteran newscaster Miguel Gil, singers Lloyd Umali & Ima Castro, showbiz columnists Shalala & Rodel Fernando, and former Manila mayor Fred Lim, among others.

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New Station Manager for Retro 105.9, Plus Other Philippine Radio News

Hill Billy Willy assumes the post of station manager on Retro 105.9 DCG-FM, and will also board every weekday morning. (Photo credit: DJ Hillbilly Willy Official Facebook)

Retro 105.9 DCG-FM will have a new station manager.

Willy Inong (a.k.a. Hill Billy Willy), formerly of Wish 1075, has taken over the said role, with predecessor Cris Hermosisima taking over as consultant. The veteran jock will also be on board every weekday from 6:00-10:00 a.m., starting today.

The new weekday schedule of Retro 105.9 will be as follows:

6:00-10:00 a.m. – Hill Billy Willy

10:00-2:00 p.m. – Karen

2:00-6:00 p.m. – Joshua

6:00-10:00 p.m. Jimmy Jam

10:00-2:00 a.m. – Andy Tuna

2:00-6:00 a.m. – Automated music

This should be a breath of fresh air for a station that needs another on-air voice and some tweaks in their playlist. It’s up to Hill Billy Willy to expand and reinvent Retro 105.9, which has been recently criticized for having a shallow and repetitive playlist.

As for Wish 1075, they have not announced a successor to Hill Billy Willy as station manager. More updates will come in the near future.

In other news, Wave 891 is looking for a new DJ. This comes after Peter Clay left the station for undisclosed reasons.

The requirements include:

1. 15 minute voice tape
(a). News Casting
(b). Adlib / Song Intro
2. Resume with full body picture
3. Must be at least 19 years old and willing to take any time slot
4. Willing to be trained

Those interested in joining the Wave DJ search may email the station at info.wave891@gmail.com for more information.

And finally, DZRJ 810 and 8TriMedia Broadcasting signed a blocktime deal that would allow the latter to air their programs on the former. Previously 8TriMedia was in a blocktime deal with DWBL 1242.

The new blocktime deal will not affect the on-air identity of DZRJ, which will remain mostly in English and under the tagline ‘The Voice of the Philippines’. The 8TriMedia block airs weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Programs produced by 8TriMedia may also be seen on its official website.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: FM Radio

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 FM radio stations of Metro Manila, with a recap of the news that occurred within the industry.

105.9 Goes Retro

March saw the launch of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM. The station played nothing but classic hits from as far as the 60s to as close as the early 2000s, and featured radio industry veterans as the station’s voices.

Retro 105.9 became an immediate hit with listeners, so much so that other stations took notice of its emergence. As a result of Retro 105.9’s success, these stations either shortened their throwback programs (e.g. Magic 89.9’s ‘Friday Madness’ and Saturday Slam’), or restricted their playlists to cater towards younger listeners, (e.g. RX 93.1’s ‘Riot Wednesday’).

From Big to Win to Wish

June 26 saw the final broadcast of 107.5 Win Radio, as Daniel Razon purchased the station from Manny Luzon. As a result, Luzon was forced to move Win Radio to 91.5, replacing erstwhile sister station Big Radio.

Then on August 10, Razon’s new station was christened as Wish 1075, an adult contemporary station. Wish immediately filled the void vacated by another recently reformatted station.

Home Radio Becomes ‘Natural’ and Back

The original 97.9 Home Radio signed off for the last time on February 28. Then on March 17, Home Radio Natural!, now with a more ‘masa’ playlist and DJs named after fruits, was launched.

What happened next was a saga of rebrands and format changes within 97.9 that baffled the entire FM radio community. First, ‘Home Radio’ was dropped from its name in July, only to bring it back in November, and then in August, the format changed from Hot AC (‘masa’) to Top 40 Contemporary Hit Radio.

K-Lite’s Endless Rebrands, Plus Wave and Play FM’s Continued Problems

Speaking of a saga of rebrands and format changes, 103.5 K-Lite also endured the same routine as Home Radio Natural!, albeit at a more extreme pace. The station went from CHR to classic hits and back to AC, all within a span of eight months, while constantly shuffling its on-air staff.

The issues surrounding K-Lite were not the only problems that Tiger22 faced this year though. 99.5 Play FM again endured some more changes in its on-air staff, while Wave 891 returned to an R&B/rhythmic format after experimenting with a more hip-hop playlist the previous year.

In Other News…

95.5 Pinas FM officially became an all-OPM station in October, becoming the first and only FM radio station in the country to do so.

As mentioned earlier, Magic 89.9 cut short its broadcasts of ‘Friday Madness’ and ‘Saturday Slam’ in June. This paved the way for the three-hour remix programs that followed both blocks: ‘Slamma Jamma’ (Fridays) and ‘Saturday Night Take Over’ (Saturdays).

RX 93.1 also made a change to its throwback block ‘Riot Wednesday’. Gone is the remix program ‘Riot Remix’, while ‘Back to the 80s’ was replaced by ‘Throwback: The Year That Was’.

And finally, Barangay LS 97.1 was reformatted anew, both in programming and in overall presentation. At the same time, GMA decided to rename its regional radio stations to the Barangay brand, in a reverse response to ABS-CBN’s rebranding of 101.9 to the regional stations’ MOR name.

Outlook

An eventful 2014 should be followed by an even more intense 2015, as the Metro’s FM radio stations try to improve from their previous year’s performances. That said, expect more of these shakeups, rebrands and changes once the new year rolls on.

 

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Retro 105.9 DCG-FM Reloaded

Retro 105.9 DCG-FM has a new look, in the on-air department that is.

On the morning of October 20, a new but familiar voice took over Retro 105.9’s morning slot. King DJ Logan, last heard on Wave 891, was brought in to host ‘The Morning Show of Mass Destruction’, alongside a retainee from the now-defunct ‘The Breakfast Club’, Karen.

This is a risky hire for Retro 105.9 because of King DJ Logan’s past reputation as a loudmouth and a magnet of controversy. But then again, he remains an iconic and legendary name on radio that his addition to the Retro 105.9 staff was just too good to pass up.

Plus, he is a definite improvement over JJ Sparx, who never clicked with listeners during his stint in the mornings.

Another new hire on Retro 105.9 was Sgt. Pepper, formerly of Magic 89.9 and 103 1/2 Max FM. Pepper took over the evening slot on October 20, replacing Joey Pizza.

The brains behind the now-famous ‘Friday Madness’ on Magic 89.9, Pepper is no stranger to Retro 105.9 listeners, having previously guested on Triggerman’s ‘Saturday Retro Onstage’.

Like King DJ Logan, a name as memorable as Sgt. Pepper is just too irresistable for the bosses at Retro 105.9.

A new station manager also surfaced on the station. Cris Cruise (real name Cris Hermosisima) replaced JJ Sparx (real name Jonathan Jabson) in the task of creating Retro 105.9’s signature playlist, among other roles.

The new hires were teased during the weekend in various online forums. Meanwhile Retro 105.9 went on music automation as part of its latest realignment.

Effective October 20, this is now the current schedule of DJs on Retro 105.9 during weekdays:

6:00 a.m. – King DJ Logan & Karen (‘The Morning Show of Mass Destruction’)

10:00 a.m. – Joshua

2:00 p.m. – Jimmy Jam

6:00 p.m. – Sgt. Pepper

10:00 p.m. – Andy Tuna

2:00 a.m. – Music automation

As for Triggerman, Rudolph Rivera and Joey Pizza, they are slated to come on board during weekends. Their on-air times will be determined this Saturday.

It’s been over seven months since Retro 105.9 DCG-FM was launched, and so far, their flexible and deep playlist has been well-received by listeners. What they needed now are on-air talent to back up these positive vibes, and with the hirings of King DJ Logan, Sgt. Pepper and Cris Cruise, it looks like they made a wise and honest decision to improve their staff.

It remains to be seen if these new hires will help the station attract more listeners, but for now, it’s best to give them some time before they are finally get used to being ‘retro-fied’.

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The Sad Saga of Wave 891 and Natural 97.9

Wave 891 went back to basics in September, beginning with a return to their old logo from 2008 and a revised programming format. (Logo courtesy of Tiger22 Media Corporation)

103.5 K-Lite is not the only radio station that is suffering from an identity crisis.

K-Lite’s sister station Wave 891 and Natural 97.9 are also enduring the same fate. Like K-Lite, both stations have shifted from one format to another while maintaining their on-air identity.

Just last month, Wave 891 decided to reformat anew. While they retained their brand of hip-hop, RnB and urban music, they cleaned house by reverting back to their 2008-13 logo, replacing the likes of King DJ Logan with younger, less experienced voices, and restructuring their program lineup.

The revamp on the Wave camp came as a result of rising costs in both talent and programming. As a result, ‘Tsunamix’, ‘Soul Review Countdown’ and ‘The Rowdy Empire’ were axed in favor of new programs, the schedules of which can be viewed on the official Wave 891 Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Natural 97.9 was off to an inauspicious start. After 14 years as the adult contemporary station Home Radio, they reformatted to a hybrid ‘masa’ and Top 40 sound last March, keeping the Home Radio name in the process.

But amid backlash from once-loyal Home Radio listeners, the management finally gave in to pressure, and dropped the Home Radio name in favor of its slogan Natural. The makeover didn’t stop there however, as they reformatted into a traditional Top 40 sound akin to Magic 89.9, Monster Radio RX 93.1 and 99.5 Play FM, just in time for the arrival of musicians Duncan Ramos and Jimmy Bondoc to the station.

Both Wave 891 and Natural 97.9 now realize how difficult it is to compete in an industry that is gradually declining in quality. With ‘masa’ stations obliterating the landscape one-by-one, it is clear that the more specific genre-based radio stations are at a disadvantage, especially with the popularity of digital downloading and MP3 players.

That said, it will be a more daunting task now for both stations to stay alive in the light of continuous changes within the music industry.

Whether or not their new formats will last in the long term remain to be seen. But for now, listeners should look forward to a different brew on Wave 891 and Natural 97.9.

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103.5 KLite’s Identity Struggles

103.5 KLite underwent a third reformat in over a year, this time with the more recent hits (90s-2000s) dominating its playlist. (Logo courtesy of Tiger 22 Media Corporation)

103.5 KLite’s endless turnover continues.

In what has become a continuing theme, the embattled station decided to change its format again. Under the tagline of ‘Metro Manila’s Official Take Me Back Station’, the playlist now leans more on the 90s and 2000s tunes rather than the current ones.

The format change also featured a revamped cast of DJs. Among the new hires of the station was Fran (Monica Tobias in real life), a long-time DJ on Monster Radio RX 93.1.

As a result, KLite’s new format now resembles that of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM, albeit in a younger tone and in an adult contemporary spin.

It is clear that 103.5 KLite is becoming a shell of its former self. In a competitive industry such as Philippine radio, finding an identity and a niche are crucial ingredients in the viability of a particular station, and so far, KLite has not done that.

In fact, I went as far as dubbing 103.5 under the name ‘Wow, It’s Heart to the Max na KLite’, due to the station’s recent history of format changes. Since Tiger 22 took over management of DWKX 103.5 in the mid-90s, the station endured nine format changes and four different brand names, with the original KLite lasting the longest at 11 years.

On the other hand, sister stations Jam 88.3 and Wave 89.1 basically kept their respective alternative and urban formats with a few tweaks in between, while DWRT-FM 99.5 (as 99.5 RT, 99.5 Hit FM, Campus 99.5 and 99.5 Play FM) maintained their brand of contemporary hit radio despite several changes in identity.

If KLite were to reformat again (assuming that they decided to do the unthinkable after six or seven months), it would be best for them to combine the formats of their previous incarnations (Heart, Max, Wow, original KLite) and integrate into the current KLite.

Under the proposed format, KLite should add a select number of dance tunes (from Max), R&B singles (from Heart), rock songs (from original KLite) and ‘masa’ hits (from Wow) to their trademark adult contemporary playlist. It may be a combustible mix, but this is the best that KLite can do.

But right now, 103.5 KLite is a station that is suffering from an identity crisis. And unless they finally settle with a format that is distinctly theirs, things will only get worse.

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