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#LessThan200Words: On 105.9 Like FM

Retro 105.9 quietly signed off without any publicity. So what are the reasons why this station fell from grace, and how will its replacement Like FM be able to fare in a tough radio environment?

Timow's Turf

(Requested by Rexdel Yabut Mallari. Apologies for the rush writing but the Turf is not done yet.)

THE RUMORS and observations this closing month from PinoyExchange over DWLA 105.9 FM in Metro Manila came true.

Retro 105.9 shut down last Friday without formal notice — despite the warning signs — and is replaced with 105.9 Like FM, for the sixth try (fifth under blocktimer since 2003), the following day. The genre of the newly branded radio station is leaning to adult Top 40 or a mix of current and classic hits.

For the shocked and non-oriented loyal listeners, many reasons why the format change: both neighbors’ (FM2 104.3 and Wish 107.5) rise, dwindling listenership (translating into low revenue), migration of DJs and outstanding and unsettled obligations from the last blocktimer.

Because of that, the aforementioned requester knew the situation will go worse but he made suggestions on who would be…

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

Another Revamp for Retro 105.9 DCG-FM?

So much for being No. 1 in the upscale market.

Once again, Retro 105.9 DCG-FM is making some changes to its menu. For now, the station does not utilize any on-air talent (save for news reporter Karen Wu) and plays automated music instead.

Rumor has it that the station asked its DJs to file their dismissal papers for no reason at all. It is possible that a bad case of declining revenue has something to do with the issue.

However, a later report from a PinoyExchange insider clarified that the dismissal papers are only temporary and that some of the Retro DJs are being brought back as part of a possible revamp of the station. If that is true, then find out what will happen next.

While Retro 105.9 DCG-FM emerged as the top upscale FM radio station in Metro Manila, the emergence of 104.3 FM2 as its main competitor in the classic hits genre made it difficult for Retro to maintain its foothold in the market. As its impending revamp shows, nothing is cast in stone.

Listeners can only hope that Retro 105.9 DCG-FM will find a way to maintain some long-term viability amid increased competition. After all, it will be a shame to see this pioneering station go after all these years building up its reputation as the ‘home of the classics’.

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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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104.3 FM2 Poses New Challenge to Retro 105.9 DCG-FM

Retro 105.9 DCG-FM has a new rival.

Almost three years to the day Retro 105.9 made history as Metro Manila’s first classic hits-oriented radio station, a new network of the same genre began to emerge out of nowhere. On February 2, 104.3 FM2 made its maiden broadcast, with Bong ‘Sonny B’ Aportadera and Carlo ‘Carlo Jose’ Villo sharing the day-to-day operations of the new station.

For those who are not familiar with this station, DWBR 104.3 is owned by the Philippine government via the Philippine Broadcasting Service. Thus, the station is part of an umbrella that includes the People’s Television Network (PTV-4), DZRB Radyo ng Bayan 738, DZSR Sports Radio 918 and DZRM Radyo Magasin 1278.

The station was originally known as 104.3 Business Radio, playing mostly songs of the ‘big band’ era. They also covered business news that cater to affluent citizens, hence the name.

However, on January 15, Business Radio officially left the airwaves after over 30 years in operation. It was clear to Martin Andanar and the PCOO that the station is losing its luster, with its brand of ‘big band’ music getting out of touch with a modern generation of listeners.

As a result, the station underwent a drastic makeover in order to attract a younger audience. Thus 104.3 FM2 was born, with a playlist mainly dedicated to 80s and 90s music.

The establishment of FM2 became a turning point in the classic hits genre of FM radio in the country. While Retro 105.9 DCG-FM remains the premiere source for throwback songs, the emergence of FM2 could pose a threat to their dominance.

That said, listeners now have two options to find the music that they love and grew up with. Not to mention that both stations operate in the daytime and deep into midnight.

The entry of FM2 is only the beginning for Martin Andanar’s rebuilding of the PBS Group. Next up is an unnamed FM station on the 87.5 band, which is still in the testing stage.

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