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Going National: Thoughts on the Potential of the Unified MOR Brand

ABS-CBN’s MOR (My Only Radio) FM stations are set to become one national entity.

In a recent press conference led by the DJs of the flagship MOR 101.9 (DWRR-FM) Manila station, they announced that MOR 101.9 and its 16 regional affiliates will join forces together to form MOR Philippines. Via ABS-CBN PR:

“Under MOR Philippines, 17 MOR stations will unite to bring listeners from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao one vibe and one sound.”

The press release cited the MOR stations’ strong performance in the ratings as the main reason for the launch of MOR Philippines. For instance, the Manila flagship MOR 101.9 got 33% of the average audience share among all Mega Manila stations in the recent Kantar Media survey.

So what are the possibilities that lie ahead for MOR Philippines? Here are three potential plans for the network.

Simulcast of MOR 101.9 Shows in Other Stations

Simulcasting a Manila radio program in the provinces is nothing new in the Philippines. In fact, on a few occasions, MOR 101.9 sister station DZMM 630 simulcasts some of its newscasts to other ABS-CBN-owned AM stations in the country.

The unified MOR Philippines could also do the same thing on some of its programs. For instance, ‘Dear MOR’ and ‘Heartbeats with Chacha’ are very popular shows in 101.9, and putting them on a nationwide scale via simulcast will only grow their audience further.

Improving the Standard of MOR Provincial Stations

While MOR stations in the provinces performed well in their own right, there is still a need for improvement, especially since MOR Manila is the only one with social media handles throughout. ABS-CBN, being the darlings of social media and the master of constant innovation, could do just that.

Providing each MOR provincial station with its own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts could help broaden their fanbase further. Not only that, upgrading its facilities and strengthening its reach may also enable MOR to penetrate beyond other far-flung areas.

Same Plugs, Same Playlist

In order to live up to the ‘one vibe and one sound’ motto of MOR Philippines, each of the 17 stations will need to have something in common. This means a more ‘national’ station ID for all stations and a more consistent playlist to boot.

Such a reboot will take some time to develop. But when done correctly, MOR 101.9 and its affiliates should flourish with a much-improved beat.

MOR Philippines will be one hell of a rebuilding project that ABS-CBN’s radio division will have to take. It will be interesting to see how this unification of all MOR stations will pay off, so good luck.

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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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Wow Trending: DZMM’s Hidden Gem

It has been a month since DZMM (and DZMM TeleRadyo) underwent a drastic overhaul.

On June 19, DZMM made some significant changes, both in programming and in TeleRadyo’s presentation. Two new programs (‘Good Vibes’ and ‘On the Spot’) premiered in both channels, a new studio set (used in ‘Sakto’, ‘Good Vibes’, Todo-Todo Walang Preno’ and ‘On the Spot’) was introduced, and updated graphics were implemented to make the host more visible.

The only update DZMM made since was the rebrand of ‘Mismo’ to ‘Showbuzz’, which took place two weeks ago. Ahwel Paz and Jobert Sucaldito remain the hosts of the refreshed program.

Amid these changes, one new program went unnoticed to viewers of TeleRadyo. While DZMM’s TV equivalent air programs produced by ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs at 2:00 p.m. every weekday, Radyo Patrol 630 has a pair of programs that air at the same time: ‘MMK sa DZMM’, and the new program that will be the focus of the article.

June 19’s reboot of DZMM marked the premiere of ‘Wow Trending’, a 30-minute program that looks back at the top 10 news that trended on social media. The program, now a month into its run, is hosted by Rica Lazo.

For those who may not recognize Rica, she is best known for her work in both the ABS-CBN News Channel and MOR 101.9. As Rica Lazo, she anchors ANC’s graveyard shift newscasts six times a week, and as Yumi, she hosts ‘Ready, Get, MORe!’ with Papi Charlz at 9:00 a.m. on weekdays.

The entry of ‘Wow Trending’ meant that Rica will now be seen or heard on three different stations within the ABS-CBN family of networks. Unfortunately, ‘Wow Trending’ is only exclusive to Radyo Patrol 630, so to benefit TeleRadyo viewers, DZMM decided to stream the program on Facebook, thus giving viewers a peek of Rica at the booth.

Indeed, Rica has a resume unheard of within the confines of ABS-CBN. There are some ABS-CBN News personalities that work effectively in both ANC, DZMM and/or Channel 2 (e.g. Karen Davila), but going from MOR to ANC and then to DZMM is an unusual feat that Rica should be proud of.

‘Wow Trending’ airs weekdays at 2:30 p.m. on DZMM Radyo Patrol 630. It is also streamed live on the official DZMM TeleRadyo Facebook page.

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Mr. Fu Leaves Energy FM, Plus A New Jock for Barangay LS’ Wanted Sweetheart

An unlucky break strikes 106.7 Energy FM.

Just as the station added Papa J (formerly 90.7 Love Radio’s Papa Jack) and Chico Loco to its roster of DJs, one of their more popular jocks decided to leave for good. After weeks of speculation, Mr. Fu announced on social media that he will officially depart from 106.7 Energy FM in order to pursue other interests.

Mr. Fu (or Jeffrey Espiritu in real life) had been part of the Energy FM team for parts of seven years (three with 91.5 Energy FM, four with 106.7 Energy FM). At the time of his departure, he was the host of Energy FM’s morning program ‘Ang Tagabulabog ng Buong Universe’.

The departure of Mr. Fu was a huge blow to 106.7 Energy FM, who had been poised to rise in the ratings game thanks to the additions of Papa J and Chico Loco. Now that a possible ‘Big Three’ of Mr. Fu, Papa J and Chico Loco was formally aborted, what chances does Energy FM have in contending against more established competition?

Speaking of competition, Barangay LS 97.1 FM recently announced that a new DJ for its ‘Wanted Sweetheart’ program is on his way. Replacing the now-retired Papa Dan in the program is a long-time jock for sister station Barangay 102.3 General Santos, Papa Bol.

The Iloilo-based Papa Bol (Benjur Evangelista in real life) is no stranger to love advice talk radio shows, having hosted one for several years on Barangay 102.3 General Santos. However, as he steps into the shoes of the legendary Papa Dan, hosting a radio show with a national following will not be an easy task.

After all, the primetime scene on ‘masa’ radio is a competitive one. With 90.7 Love Radio’s Lloyd Cafe Cadena, 101.1 Yes the Best’s Rico Panyero and Lala Banderas, MOR 101.9’s Cha Cha and now 106.7 Energy FM’s Papa J all vying for the top spot, ‘Wanted Sweetheart”s newest jock will have his hands full in capturing the hearts of listeners.

It will be interesting to see how both 106.7 Energy FM and 97.1 Barangay LS will be able to cope with the changes in their roster. That said, expect a more heated summer in both booths as their quest for No. 1 continues.

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Changing of the Guard on Philippine FM Radio

Times are changing in the field of FM radio in the Philippines.

The biggest news coming off the industry was the departure of Delamar Arias from Monster RX 93.1 last July 29. Her departure marked the end of an era for ‘The Morning Rush’, which has long been considered an institution in Philippine FM radio.

When the show took the airwaves on August 1, ‘Rushers’ are still trying to figure out a way to make the show interesting without Delamar. But it was not easy, considering that the chemistry between her and Chico Garcia (plus Gino Quillamor) was undeniable.

RX even tried to add Bea Fabregas to the show in hopes of replacing Delamar in the near future. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, and to this day, they are still scrambling to fill Delamar’s chair.

But Delamar is not the only FM radio icon to bid farewell. Two other long-time DJs also called it a day for good.

There was Carlo Jose, who announced his retirement via Instagram almost at the same time as Delamar’s. Carlo’s involvement in the FM radio industry spanned 24 years, dating from his time as a DJ on Magic 89.9 to most recently a station manager for sister station 99.5 Play FM.

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Then there was Martin D, who announced his retirement from ABS-CBN’s MOR 101.9 last Friday. Best known as the host of ‘Request Express’ and ‘Top Hits Express’ on the old WRR 101.9, Martin D lasted 20 years with the said station.

Finally, one veteran DJ chose to jump stations instead of calling it a career. On July 29, Tina Mendiola (known on air as Tina Ryan) announced her departure from Magic 89.9, her home station for close to 20 years, in order to join sister station 103.5 K-Lite.

It was painful to say goodbye to some of radio’s most cherished voices. But in an age where the listening demographics are changing, there is no other choice but to move on and give way to younger individuals.

Still, their voices will forever be remembered by many who have heard them all these years. Their contributions to the Philippine FM radio industry will never be forgotten.

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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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