hits, music, news, Philippines, public affairs, radio, songs

The End of NU 107 and the Birth of Radyo5 92.3 News FM, Six Years Later

Two Philippine FM radio milestones took place six years ago this week.

The night of November 7, 2010 will forever be remembered by Pinoy rock fans throughout the country, as NU 107 officially signed off for the last time. Many will reminisce its final moments on the air, during which the Eraserheads’ ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo’ was played while listeners raised their lighters outside the NU 107 studios in Pasig.

The following morning, a different radio station took the place of NU 107. 107.5 Win Radio, a brainchild of Manny Luzon, officially made its debut, and its ‘masa’-oriented format was reminiscent of Luzon’s other creation, 90.7 Love Radio.

While Win Radio proved to be popular in its own right, the vacuum left by the demise of NU 107 seemed irreparable. Attempts to revive NU’s tried and tested format online proved futile, and although Jam 88.3 moved to an NU 107-like rock format a few months later, the loss of a beloved and iconic station was hard to overcome.

Today, 107.5 is currently occupied by the adult contemporary-oriented Wish 1075, while Win Radio moved over to 91.5 to merge with former sister station Big Radio. As for the legacy of NU 107, it remains to be seen if Jam 88.3 can equal or surpass the heights that NU reached.

Also on November 8, 2010, another up-and-coming radio station made its debut. TV5-owned Radyo5 92.3 News FM, the first all-news FM radio station in the country, aired its initial broadcast, replacing the youth-oriented CHR station U92.

From day one, Radyo5 92.3 News FM constantly ranked among Metro Manila’s top FM radio stations. It even provided a serious challenge to AM radio giants Super Radyo DZBB 594, DZMM Radyo Patrol 630, and DZRH 666 as far as listenership is concerned.

Unfortunately, the station endured some rough sailing in the years since. The addition of live PBA coverage, the loss of several top-notch talent, the inability to replace and fill vacated timeslots, and the unwillingness to cover important live events severely tested Radyo5’s viability.

With TV5 encountering its fair share of problems, the future of Radyo5 92.3 News FM is now in doubt. It will be up to embattled bosses Gladys Lana-Lucas and Luchi Cruz-Valdes to save the station from further collapse.

Six years after these two significant events on Philippine radio, both NU 107 and Radyo5 92.3 News FM are still remembered by radio listeners all over the country, for contrasting reasons. For one station, it was about making a mark in the industry, while the other was about making a statement in the music-dominated field of FM radio.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs, United States

There is Life After RJ Underground Radio 105.9

Captain Eddie (pictured) and Mr. A’s ‘Rock of Manila’ on RJ 100.3 FM is just one of a few RJ originals that recently returned on the airwaves. (Photo credit: RJPlanet.com)

Before DCG-FM brought the retro hits format on DWLA 105.9, there was the all-rock RJ Underground Radio.

Ramon Jacinto’s second FM station ran from 2007 to 2011, and was considered to be the main rival of NU 107, due to their similarities in terms of playlist. The only difference is that UR had an even deeper library of rock songs compared to the more alternative-based approach of NU.

When RJ decided to terminate the lease of the 105.9 frequency, they ventured into the internet as UR Faceradio. Unfortunately, it only lasted for two or three years, before they decided to shut it down.

But just recently, some of RJ UR’s old programs were able to return on the air, albeit on different radio stations.

The iconic program ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’ was revived on DZRJ 810 AM late last year. The program’s return came full circle, as it used to air on DZRJ-AM in the midst of Martial Law and the growing popularity of classic Filipino rock music.

While its most famous host Howlin’ Dave (Dante David) did not live to see his program revive on its old home, at least it gave Filipino rock fans a reason to be joyful, as the long-forgotten Pinoy rock hits of the era were once again played on ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’.

Another program that was recently brought back from the dead was ‘Rock n’ Roll Machine’, hosted by Cousin Hoagy (Hoagy Pardo). The program was given a new lease on life via Jam 88.3.

Hoagy is no stranger to hosting his programs on an alternative rock-dominated station, having hosted ‘ The Crossroads’ on NU 107. On his return, he brought along a DZRJ original to Jam, and with it, a more classic side to rock and blues music on a primarily alternative station.

And finally, there was the ‘Rock of Manila’ on RJ 100.3 FM. Hosted by legendary DJs Captain Eddie and Mr. A, the program essentially picked up from where DZRJ-AM’s original format left off.

In essence, the return of the ‘Rock of Manila’, like ‘Pinoy Rock n’ Rhythm’, was seen as a way to reconnect fans of the old DZRJ to the current station. As it stands, RJ 100 now plays a more varied pop-oriented playlist, while DZRJ-AM airs mostly English language news programs.

These three programs are proof that there is still life after RJ Underground Radio 105.9. While the station no longer exists, its determination and hard work in promoting rock music in the country will always be remembered.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

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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FTT Year 2013 in Review: FM Radio

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2014, 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 the emphasis on the reformatted stations and DJ lineups.

Reformatted Stations

In July, two FM stations started airing under new on-air identities. ABS-CBN’s DWRR 101.9 rebranded from ‘Tambayan’ to ‘MOR: My Only Radio for Life’, in the process adopting the brand of its regional FM networks. While they still air masa-based music, they started to adopt more love advice shows in the vein of DZMM‘s ‘Dr. Love with Jun Banaag’, which other stations soon adopt.

Advanced Media Broadcasting‘s DWKX 103.5 reformatted from ‘Wow FM’ back to ‘K-Lite’. The rebrand came as a result of the departure of its lead DJ Mr. Fu.  Upon returning to the ‘K-Lite’ brand, they decided to adopt the station’s late-1990s adult contemporary format as opposed to the rock-laden format of later years. Veteran DJs Mondo Castro (from NU 107), Carl ‘McFly’ Guzman (original K-Lite) and Alex ‘Max Speed’ Gotinga (Magic 89.9) would form the core of the new ‘K-Lite’, alongside rookies and other established voices.

DJ Lineup Changes

Magic 89.9 created a huge roar from the radio community when they suspended ‘Good Times” Mo Twister, Tin ‘Suzy’ Gamboa and Noelle Bonus in June for an alleged sex-related joke. As a result, Sam Oh and Gibb from 99.5 Play FM filled in to host ‘First Thing in the Morning’. Mo would later return from suspension last December to co-host the program.

Meanwhile Noelle was moved to Play FM to co-host ‘The Playground’ with Nikko Ramos, while Suzy was reinstated by Magic to host ‘The Big Meal’ with CJ ‘the DJ’ Rivera. Suzy was moved because of Riki Flores’ transfer to ‘PopStop’. Riki was moved to pair with Andi Manzano after Jessica Mendoza left Magic for her post-graduate studies in Boston.

Other notable DJ departures include RX 93.1’s Jinri Park (studies), Play FM’s Tim Yap (other commitments), and Jam 88.3’s Julz Savard (vocalist for Save Me Hollywood). And as mentioned, defunct Wow FM’s Mr. Fu resigned before the reformat, eventually finding a new home on 106.7 Energy FM.

Outlook

The FM radio landscape for 2014 will be more or less predictable. Some stations will reformat, while notable faces will either move to other stations or depart entirely. And the worst part of it all is that 90.7 Love Radio and 101.1 Yes FM will continue to boast their claim as the top two stations. Nevertheless, the incoming year should bring hope and prosperity for radio stations trying to reach out to a specific audience, and to maintain the kind of music they play.

 

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