hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

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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Retro 105.9’s Impact on Other Stations’ Programming

The success of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM forced radio stations like Magic 89.9 and Monster Radio RX 93.1 to tweak their throwback programs. (Logo courtesy of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM)

The rise of Retro 105.9 DCG-FM has other stations take notice.

Within six months of operation, older listeners were constantly hooked to Retro 105.9’s daily serving of classic songs and hidden gems, something that was never done before on Philippine FM radio. The addiction was so great that it forced other stations to tweak their classic programming.

Spearheading the change were the two top stations in the CHR/Top 40 format: Magic 89.9 and Monster Radio RX 93.1.

For years, Magic 89.9’s ‘Friday Madness’ and ‘Saturday Slam’ had essentially the same format, with the 80s mostly reserved for the former, and the 90s for the latter. They even had a non-stop dance remix show for the final three hours.

But last June, everything changed for the station. ‘Friday Madness’ was reduced to only 21 hours, with ‘Jon Tupaz’s 12-inch Mix’ moving from its familiar 9 p.m. slot to noontime. Then Tupaz’s vacated slot was taken over by ‘Slamma Jamma’, which is now the kickoff show for ‘Saturday Slam’.

‘Slamma Jamma”s slot on Saturday night was then used to create yet another remix show, this time centering on the 2000s and beyond and featuring the country’s top club DJs rather than Magic’s own talent. That show, dubbed ‘Saturday Night Take Over’, made its debut that same month.

Over at Monster Radio RX 93.1, their ‘Monster’s Riot’ format remained the same, save for two programs. ‘Back to the 80s’, the flagship program of the said block, finally said goodbye in June after over a decade.

‘Throwback: The Year That Was’ took over ‘Back to the 80s” slot. Hosted by Chico Garcia, ‘Throwback’ now encompasses every era, from the 80s all the way to the 2000s, with a particular year’s hits to focus on.

And just months earlier, ‘Riot Remix’ bade goodbye on air, leaving ‘Remix Fridays’ as the sole remix program on the station. These two changes were the direct result of ‘Monster’s Riot”s changing playlist, emphasizing more towards the 90s and 2000s hits for an increasingly younger audience.

Elsewhere, stations such as Mellow 947 and 99.5 Play FM are now taking a similar path as RX’ s in their throwback programs.

The Philippine radio industry is a constantly changing world. Audiences are getting younger, technologies are advancing, and the music is evolving. The efforts of the Top 40 radio stations are a part of the turnover.

This turnover was definitely the reason why Retro 105.9 DCG-FM was established. As the other stations aim for the youth, Retro 105.9 focused on the older folks who still believe in ‘oldies but goodies’. And indeed it is; no matter how old the playlist is, they are still wonderful to listen to.

Indeed, times are changing in the Philippine radio industry. And for these radio stations, constant transformation is essential to maintaining success.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs, talk show

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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The Return of Mo Twister

The five-month suspension of ‘Good Times‘ on Magic 89.9 ended this morning with Mo Twister‘s on-air return. But instead of Mo running the show, he was joined by ‘First Thing in the Morning’ hosts Sam Oh and Gibb, essentially renaming the program as ‘Good Times First Thing in the Morning’.

For many, Mo’s return to radio signaled a return to normalcy. But others (myself included) remain skeptical. How will Mo fit in with his new partners? And how will he be able to maintain a more toned-down style in a minors-friendly morning spot?

In a morning show landscape, stability is a must. However that is not the case for Mo’s program. Having suffered through numerous co-hosts (e.g. Mojo Jojo, Andi Manzano, Grace Lee), I wonder why Mo continues to survive amidst these changes? Simple, because Mo has many loyal listeners to keep his show afloat. The listeners don’t care about his revolving door of co-hosts, they just wanted to hear Mo. And that was the reason why ‘Good Times’ has been on the air longer than any current morning radio show except ‘The Morning Rush‘ on RX 93.1.

And with regards to a more subdued style of addressing his listeners, I doubt that. Some of Mo’s recent suspensions were attributed to inappropriately adult topics that are not applicable to hear in the mornings. If Mo wants to keep his job he should talk about more ‘teenage-friendly’ topics that are worth listening in the morning. In addition, Mo should take a cue from the ‘Boys Night Out’ hosts, whose five-month suspension in 2010 helped them change their style without sacrificing their entertainment value.

Over the next few days Mo Twister will be adjusting to new co-hosts and an existing radio show. Not to mention some added employment baggage. It is up to Mo to deliver to these expectations.

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Mo Twister Returns to Radio This Monday

Mo Twister is coming back on air this Monday, but his air time will be uncertain.

Mo Twister, the controversial DJ now based in the United States, announced on his Twitter that his program ‘Good Times with Mo‘ will make its return on the FM band this Monday. And most of his loyal listeners were excited about his latest comeback. However, a lot of questions await on his return.

Just five months ago, Mo was suspended by Magic 89.9 management after an on-air conversation with Tin ‘Suzy’ Gamboa regarding a sex-related topic. In the days that followed, Magic acquired Sam Oh and Gibb from sister station 99.5 Play FM to host ‘First Thing in the Morning’ as a replacement program. And then co-host Noelle Bonus moved to Play FM as a co-host of ‘The Playground’ with Nikko Ramos, while Suzy reunited with CJ Rivera on ‘The Big Meal’.

In the meantime, Mo continued to record podcasts of ‘Good Times’ online. That said, ‘Good Times’ remained on the air, albeit as an independent product of the new media. Despite the fact that some listeners found a new outlet to ‘Good Times’, many still clamored for the program to return on the radio.

Which leads to his comeback plans. On that same tweet Mo said that ‘Good Times’ is still searching for a more favorable timeslot. Considering that Magic 89.9’s ‘First Thing in the Morning’ has enjoyed a favorable following, and with the program’s mature and increasingly ‘sexual’ content already inappropriate to the kid-friendly morning slot, it is unlikely that ‘Good Times’ will be slotted back to its original timeslot.

Perhaps facing ‘Boys Night Out’ head-on may be the perfect solution for Mo to announce his return. And why not? Both programs are adult-oriented radio talk shows that specifically cater to the hardcore and no-frills listener, featuring topics that tackle human interest issues. And they also feature a slew of outspoken personalities in the radio industry. However, that matchup will only be possible if Mo moves to a different station.

In addition, Mo will have to find new co-hosts. ‘Good Times’ has had a revolving door of co-hosts through the years, and some departed with a bad taste in their mouths. If Mo somehow hires a co-host which he finds friendly and cooperative, then ‘Good Times’ should be interesting to listen.

For now, Mo Twister is definitely scheduled to come back on the air this Monday. The question is, at what time and what station will he take over? We’ll find out.

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What’s Up with Mo Twister Lately?

Mo Twister is back on the air, but only on podcast, as listeners of ‘Good Times’ found a way to connect with the controversial host on the new medium.

Two months ago, Mo Twister and his ‘Good Times‘ morning program on Magic 89.9 was slapped a five-month suspension in part to an alleged sex-related topic that is deemed inappropriate for a morning program. To fill in the void, Magic brought in 99.5 Play FM DJs Sam Oh and Gibb to host a new morning show ‘First Thing in the Morning’. And it looks like Sam and Gibb’s show is here to stay, at least for the time being.

So what’s up with Mo Twister lately? Well, he is currently hosting ‘Good Times’ via podcast, and recently he also hosted the popular and heavily criticized ‘Forbidden Questions‘ segment from his Los Angeles ‘headquarters’. It appears that his suspension from Magic 89.9 is not hindering his on-air career. Meanwhile his partners Noelle Bonus and Tin ‘Suzy’ Gamboa have moved on to other programs. Bonus moved to sister station 99.5 Play FM, while Suzy reunited with CJ ‘The DJ’ Rivera to host ‘The Big Meal’ at noon. Suzy took over hosting ‘The Big Meal’ on a permanent basis after Riki Flores moved to the ‘Pop Stop’ with Andi Manzano following the departure of erstwhile on-air partner Jessica Mendoza.

With Mo relegated to the sidelines, at least for the time being, the morning show of Sam Oh and Gibb is developing as a better alternative to the otherwise offensive and controversial ‘Good Times’. And that’s a good thing for morning radio programming, as programs such as Monster Radio RX 93.1’s ‘The Morning Rush‘, Mellow 94.7‘s ‘The Wake Up Show’, and 99.5 Play FM’s ‘The Playground’ aimed to be healthier and ‘kid-friendly’ radio programs, something that ‘Good Times’ obviously lacked. And why? Because mornings is where the kids wake up to go to school, and the radio is usually the first piece of entertainment for children on the road.

While Mo will be back on the air, Magic 89.9 may have found the perfect radio duo in the morning. And sorry Mo, Sam Oh and Gibb are a better radio combination than you alone.

Speaking of podcasts, the hosts of Magic 89.9’s nightly radio program ‘Boys Night Out’ recently launched their podcasts, which are recorded every Monday before midnight. In doing so, hosts Eric ‘Slick Rick’ Virata, Anthony ‘Tony Toni’ Bueno and Sam ‘Sam YG’ Gogna have also made the decision to move their popular ‘Confession Sessions’ segment exclusively to the podcasts, in order to add more sexually-oriented language that may be inappropriate to live radio. The move of ‘Confession Sessions’ to the podcast is also good for radio, as the more offensive style of conversation heard on the segment may be inappropriate for the younger listener.

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